Acer Aspire 5920-6954 Value Laptop PC
At a Glance
Acer Aspire 5920-6954 Notebook
Moderately powerful laptop has dedicated nVidia graphics, HDMI output, and an HD DVD reader.
The Acer Aspire 5920-6954 just slips under the $1000 mark, at $999 (as of 2/7/08); it's worth every penny. Except for business applications, which it lacks, this Vista Home Premium laptop has just about everything home-office buyers could ask for in a solid budget notebook.
The notebook looks different without being too flashy. It has a black-and-cream-colored case set off by blue accents, including a big, easy-to-press triangle-shaped shortcut key set in the corner of the keyboard like a high-tech sapphire (hence Acer's so-called "gemstone" designation).
At 7.3 pounds, the Aspire 5920-6954 is the heaviest budget laptop we looked at, but it has a 250GB hard drive and a fairly nice 15.4-inch screen (it's a bit too reflective). Though it lacks a few things like Bluetooth, the 5920-6954 is the most high-definition-ready unit here, including both an HDMI port and an HD DVD reader. It has a subwoofer for better-than-average sound and a handy volume wheel. The terrific keyboard boasts loads of shortcut buttons that do everything but take out the trash. One set, on the left side of the keyboard, launches applications. A second, right-hand row controls multimedia, including an instant-on button that lets you play music and movies without launching Windows. A button placed between the mouse buttons scrolls documents in all four directions.
Finally, this is the only sub-$1000 laptop we reviewed that had a dedicated graphics chip--an nVidia GeForce 8600M GS with 256MB of memory. Thus it was the only one powerful enough to properly play the 3D games in our tests such as Doom 3 and Far Cry. Its frames-per-second rates weren't the highest we've recorded for a laptop, but are more than enough for smooth, glitch-free play.
Equipped with a 1.66-GHz Core 2 Duo T5450 and 2GB of memory, the Aspire 5920-6954 earned a solid WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 70, the second best on the budget laptops chart. The score is five points higher than the group average of 65, and it's one point better than the average of 70 earned by the 16 recently tested all-purpose notebooks in any price range. Battery life was average, lasting 3.8 hours.
The cost of applications will make the Acer Aspire 5920-6954 spill significantly over $1000, but if you can afford to splurge a bit, it brings a little extra panache to your home office.