* This Review/Guide is about the Acer Aspire Laptop 6930G-643G25Bn Laptop Notebook.
* I bought this product for my Mum. However, since I know more about setting up computers, I did all the setting up with this one and thus, this Review/Guide is the result.
Out of the Box:
The laptop got a very shiny top, which immediately you'll find that it is a fingerprint magnet. I brushed it off and joked to myself, "Fingerprint reader, fingerprint magnet...ok...!".
I put the battery in the battery slot at the bottom of the unit and connected the AC/DC adaptor/power supply to the left hand side of the unit and the UK plug to the wall socket. I let the laptop sit for 5 minutes before powering up.
After going through setting up Windows Vista Home Premium and the user account, you finally arrive to the user desktop. First thing I did was to burn the Factory Recovery DVD (2x DVD) and Drivers and Applications DVD (1x DVD) using Acer's own Empowering software.
Next up is I uninstalled 3rd-party bundled applications that will be little or of no use to my Mum's intended use for the notebook/laptop. I did not uninstall anything with Acer on it, even the games.
Appreciating The Features:
After the laptop/notebook had been setup (it took me 1 to 2 hours as I fully customized 2x user accounts), only then you can truly appreciate the features of this machine. Yes, you might have noticed how fast it is compared to other laptops while you do the setting up, but let us talk about hardware.
The fingerprint reader works as you will see it pop up at the upper left hand of the monitor once you swipe your finger through the scanner. I have yet to setup this as I need Mum's fingerprint to do it.
The mouse touchpad as most reviewers say as inconvenient as it is off-center, located near left, is not inconvenient at all. The surface of the touchpad is not satin-smooth like regular laptops. This is a brilliant innovation as your fingers don't stick to the touchpad (if you have sweaty fingers). The little grooves also massages your fingers (they actually tickles), making the touchpad fun to use. You only need the lightest of touch to use the touchpad, and that's how sensitive it is (and I thought it wouldn't be because of the grooves). This hardware is fantastic and brilliant.
The 16" monitor/screen is very bright, clear and crisp, AC or battery powered (dims a little when battery operated, but still very bright and clear). You will have nothing to complain about, like glare and stuff. By today's standards you kind of expect something like this and so saying, you get your money's worth with this hardware.
There is a built-in webcam and microphone on top of the monitor/screen but I don't have any use for them yet and thus untested. However, I would not miss the opportunity to test the built-in speakers and subwoofer on this unit. I put the laptop side-by-side with my own Compaq 2552EA (yes, I know its old). I let the 2 laptops play the same music file using the same music software (same versions and all). The Compaq produced its usual loud screaming sound out of the speakers. The Acer however, produced a non-screaming sound, but rather a sound that is full of dimension, one that you come to get used to when watching on a TV with an S-Force Surround system. Very, very, very nice!!!
I wanted to play more music on it but I must resist and move on... I let the Acer play an AVI file using a 3rd-party software (because Acer's own does not have the codecs to play my particular AVI file) to test the graphics more. Waaa!!! Out of the speakers came thundering sounds!!! When they said this thing got a subwoofer they did not tell you it is a proper subwoofer! Again, a testament to how wonderful-sounding this unit is. The video played not so good, with rectangular artifacts - the same ones you see when watching VCD movies. I re-played the AVI using my Compaq and there were no rectangular artifacts. Please note that I did not tinker with Acer's video display or with the NVIDIA settings, playing the file using default settings. Also note that my Compaq is loaded with all multimedia codecs imaginable (well, almost all...) and the Acer is using the default codecs that came with the 3rd-party software I installed in it. I think this Acer will produce fantastic video results when playing Blu-Ray and HD movies, which however cannot be compared to my Compaq because it can't play any of those formats. Besides, Blu-Ray and HD-movies is what this laptop is designed for.
The hard drive and fans of this unit is quiet (extremely quiet compared to my Compaq). The BD-ROM drive is fast by laptop standards.
The nicest thing about this Acer is that it has a feather-touch multimedia control and application buttons. That means you can control the playback of your music using these controls instead, or turn on the integrated Bluetooth by tapping on its button instead of going through Control Panel. The Empowering software also got it's own button so you do not need to look for it's shortcut on your desktop or list of programs. These features are not new to laptops but Acer made the buttons look like they are just light indicators, making them discreet. How fun is it to make a computer genius look dumb when you see him browsing through Control Panel for Bluetooth when all you got to do is tap a button he thought was just an indicator. Ha ha ha! What fun!!! Oh yeah, and for the lazy, this unit also comes with a remote... a laptop that is also a TV and a component system... and you keep saying this thing is expensive???
Features I like..
* Surround Sound Speaker System & Subwoofer
* Discreet Multimedia and Applications Control Buttons
* Very bright 16" screen/monitor
* Non-sticky, ultra-sensitive touchpad
* Quiet operation
* Integrated Wireless
* Integrated Bluetooth
* Integrated Webcam and Microphone
* Acer Biometric System
* Illuminated Acer logo
Features that I do not like (or things I wish this unit got) ...
* No free lint-free cloth from Acer to wipe fingerprints fom very shiny top cover (ha ha ha!)
* No Firewire port (but there is an ESATA port)
* No S-Video out (well, there is an external monitor port plus an HDMI port)
* Battery lasts only 2 hours (unless new technology will be invented, we must content ourselves with the amount of time we can power up our devices using batteries)
So there you go. If you are planning or looking to buy this laptop model, go ahead and get it without hesitation.
I wanted to give my Mum the best I could give. You know what? I think I have!!!
- Sherwin -
Update: Laptop Performance
Ok, this is how the laptop performed after I gave it to my Mum. For 3 weeks (supervised by me), my Mum used the laptop with no problems. All the hardware I installed in it works great (USB keyboard, external HDD, printer, wireless laser mouse). My Dad also tried CD & DVD burning. He was so annoyed because the files he prepared for a good 4 hours only took the laptop 7 minutes to burn (yeah, yeah, my own laptop can do the same job for 25 minutes - slow)!
When I left the country, my Mum and I tried video conferencing. This should test the Acer's webcam (finally) against my trusty old Sony TRV-22E (yes it's a handycam, but I can also use it as a webcam - maximizing its features). Well, well, what do you know?! The video quality was great! I was expecting something like those old webcams that produce pixelated or blurred videos, but I was truly amazed that Acer's integrated webcam performed better than a standalone webcam. The video speed is also good, producing acceptable framerate (10Mb cable broadband my end, 1Mb wireless broadband Mum's end). The picture quality is so good that I still can't believe it's from an integrated webcam!
2 weeks after my Mum had the laptop unsupervised, disaster struck! She might have accidentally turned off the computer during a Windows update or maybe she ignored the firewall popups to allow the updates to continue or properly finish installing. The laptop won't boot. The registry got corrupted that's why the laptop won't boot - my personal diagnosis. Luckily, I made 3 backups before I gave her the laptop: 1) Factory Defaults (DVD) 2) Windows Vista updated and third-party software installed (DVD) 3) Final Backup (HDD). I sent her the instructions on how to restore using the backup in the HDD via text message. As if nothing happened after that and all is well. Many people pay for premium phone lines just to troubleshoot their laptop. My Mum is an inexperienced computer user and she was able to fix her laptop with just one text message containing restore instructions (those instructions are in the manual, by the way). Well of course, the restore only worked because there was a backup available. So there you go, backup your system and save yourself from a lot of headaches. Great work Acer for that excellent backup utility that actually works!
So far, the only hardware that is left untested is the fingerprint reader because my Mum thinks it's complicated. The hardware that impressed my Mum & Dad was... the laptop sound system! The feature that impressed me the most was... Acer's backup and restore utility (Acer's Empowering Technology). I wish my laptop got that feature; then I won't have to spend countless hours reinstalling Windows and my favourite softwares whenever Windows is beyond repair.
- Sherwin -