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Acer Aspire 5553G review

Barry de la Rosa
30 Jun 2010
Acer Aspire 5553G
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

AMD's new mobile processor is a step up from its previous models, but still lags behind Intel in terms of performance. As it stands, you can get laptops that are faster than the 5553G for less.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.6kg, 2GHz AMD Phenom II X4 N930, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

It's fair to say that Intel's ruled the roost when it comes to high-performance mobile processors. AMD's starting to fight back, though, and the Acer Aspire 5553G is the first laptop we've seen to use AMD's latest processor, the 2GHz quad-core Phenom II X4 N930. As the name suggest, this processor is based on the desktop Phenom II processor range, but is more power efficient and cooler in order to suit a laptop.

We had high hopes for this CPU, especially as it's paired with 4GB of RAM (all of which can be used thanks to the 64-bit version of Windows 7 installed). In our multi-threaded video encoding test the laptop managed a decent score of 71, but it was slower in our single-threaded image editing test with an overall score of 66. As a result of this, its overall score of 68 was a touch disappointing. In fact, pretty much every laptop we've tested this month managed to outperform the Aspire 5553G as they use Intel's Core i3 or i5 chips.

However, these budget laptops have only basic graphics and can't play games, where as the 5553G has dual graphics chips. The ATI Radeon HD 4250 is built-into the motherboard and can't handle 3D games very well, but uses less power; the more powerful HD 5470 graphics chip is there for games. You can either switch to this manually or automatically when you're on mains power.

The HD 5470 managed 19.8fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark. Turning off anti-aliasing and reducing the resolution to 1,024x768 we managed to get a more playable 32.6fps. This shows that this laptop can manage less demanding titles with ease.

Despite the power saving of using the Radeon HD 4250 and the fact that the Phenom II X4 N930 is a power-efficient model using just 35W TDP, battery life of the Aspire 5553G was just over four hours. This is fair enough for use around the home or for most people's commutes, but we've seen a lot more from Intel-based laptops. That said, at 2.6kg, there's only so far you're going to want to carry this laptop.

A large 15.6in screen is comfortable to view. It has the standard 1,366x768 resolution that we're used to seeing on the bulk of laptops. It provides a decent amount of desktop space and is well suited to watching HD movies, as the screen has the same resolution as a 720p HD TV.

Image quality was decent, but we found that colours lacked a bit of punch. The cold tone to the screen made flesh tones look a little bit blue, but this isn't a major problem and you can correct for this using the ATI Control Panel. Viewing angles were fine, but the vertical angles mean you need to sit straight-on to the screen to get the best picture quality. As with most new laptops, the glossy coating helps boost contrast but makes it hard to view the screen under bright lighting.

We were taken by the look and feel of the computer, with its sleek brushed-metal finish on the case. Inside, the size of the screen means that there's space to the right of the keyboard for a numberpad. We found that all of the keys had a but crisp action that gives plenty of feedback for touch-typists. However, while there are large Enter and right Shift keys, the left side of the keyboard feels cramped, with a narrow left Shift key that we constantly missed.

Below is a large touchpad with a single see-saw button. This felt stiff and we had to make sure to press on either end to click, as there was no give towards the centre of the button. It's a minor niggle, but it can be frustrating at times when the laptop doesn't seem to be registering your mouse clicks.

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