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Acer Aspire 5536 review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
393
inc VAT

Yet another good-value laptop, although it lacks a webcam. Performance isn't wonderful, but it has a great screen and Draft-N WiFi.

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Acer's 5536 looks similar to the award-winning 6530G. The rounded front edge of the case and textured, dark grey material give it a high-tech look, and it doesn't have the appearance or feel of a budget laptop.

Acer has opted for a keyboard with flat, raised keys that are quite stiff but have decent feedback. There's a numberpad as well, but it feels less squeezed in on this model, and the keyboard layout doesn't suffer as a result. The touchpad is large, but the buttons are stiff.

The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1,366x768. It's bright, evenly lit and has accurate colours. As with Acer's more expensive 3810T, there's a button that lets you turn off the display if you're not using it, when playing music, for example. However, unlike most laptops these days, the 5536 doesn't have a webcam mounted above the screen.

Sound from the speakers was better quality and had more depth than on other laptops, but it's still not loud enough to fill the average living room. There's an S/PDIF audio output for connecting to a sound system, or you could use the HDMI port to output video and audio to an AV amplifie. There are four USB ports, and it's good to see Draft-N WiFi and Bluetooth. Note that there's no ExpressCard slot, though, which limits expansion potential.

The dual-core AMD processor isn't quite as fast as the Intel chips in the other similarly priced laptops here, but you'd be hard pushed to notice in real-world tasks, and the Aspire is still more than twice as fast as any netbook. The only times it may struggle is when performing demanding tasks such as editing high-definition video. A battery life of three hours and 25 minutes is respectable, and means you can work away from the mains without worry. Unfortunately, despite the Radeon graphics chipset, 3D performance wasn't good enough for playing games.

While the 5536 packs in a lot for the price, it's beaten this month by the cheaper PC Nextday 81-2200. If you want Draft-N WiFi and an HDMI output, however, the 5536 is still great value.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core QL-64
Processor clock speed2.1GHz
Memory3.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size40x384x249mm
Weight2.6kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle26W
Power consumption active54W

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory256MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelTSSTcorp TS-L633B
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemYes
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack audio input, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Basic
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£393
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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