Oh, Acer, you don't half churn them out. The prolific spawner of laptops has just given birth to another addition to the Aspire range, the 15.6-inch 5553G. The configuration we're looking at, the 5553G-N934G32Mn, can be yours for around £700 from PC World and other vendors. It packs a quad-core AMD chip, which, in a laptop of this price, gets us rather hot under the collar.
Where's the flair?
The 5553G's design lacks flair. The glossy pinstripe pattern on the lid and brushed-aluminium finish on the wrist rest look pretty snappy, but the machine looks like pretty standard fare otherwise. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but, if you like your laptop to make a statement, we'd advise you to look elsewhere.
The 5553G's 15.6-inch, LED screen makes more of an impression. Sporting a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, it's really bright, which helps to counteract the fact that its glossy coating is extremely reflective. As it stands, the 5553G's display is vivid and easy to gaze upon.
The keyboard is comfortable to use and sensibly laid out, although we worry that crumbs and fluff will fall between the large gaps between the individual keys. The trackpad is large, and responsive enough to avoid driving you crazy.
Around the sides of the 5553G are VGA and HDMI outputs, an Ethernet port, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a microphone, four USB ports, a multi-format card reader, and a DVD rewritable drive. Buried inside this beast, you'll also find a 320GB hard drive. The whole shebang chugs along on the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.
Something like a Phenom
This machine sports a quad-core, 2GHz AMD Phenom II N930 CPU. It's rare that we see a quad-core CPU in a laptop of this price. The processor is backed up by a healthy 4GB of DDR3 RAM. When we subjected the machine to the PCMark05 benchmarking test, it racked up an impressive score of 5,593. With a score like that, we wouldn't expect, and didn't find, this laptop to struggle much with ordinary multitasking.
With an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 GPU on-board, the 5553G notched up a score of 4,135 in 3DMark06, which is somewhere between impressive and average. We found 1080p video played very smoothly, giving the 5553G real multimedia potential, and we'd imagine the odd gaming session wouldn't be out of the question either, as long as you're not expecting to play cutting-edge games at high frame rates.
The machine's battery life is a letdown though. When we ran Battery Eater's intensive Classic test, which runs the CPU at full capacity until the battery's exhausted, the 5553G lasted a pitiful 1 hour and 5 minutes, which is even worse than the Samsung R780's 1 hour and 16 minutes.
The Acer Aspire 5553G bakes some pretty tasty components into a rather affordable pie. It's a shame that this laptop's design is so bland, but that may not matter to you if you're mainly concerned with performance. Before laying down your lucre, also check out the Samsung R780, a slightly pricier laptop that looks an absolute treat and offers solid performance to boot.
Edited by Charles Kloet