- Review Date: 04/07/11
- Bottom line:
The Acer Aspire AS7552G-6436 desktop replacement is a good gaming laptop, but everything else is middle of the road.
Gaming worthy with powerful graphics chip. Big hard drive. Excellent keyboard and mouse button experience.
Quad-core processor is inferior to an Intel dual-core processor. Bottom of the pile performance scores. Paltry battery life. Uninspired design.
The Acer Aspire AS7552G-6436 ($799.99 street) is the kind of desktop replacement laptop that starts out strong and then tapers off at the finish line. For instance, storage is aplenty with a 640GB hard drive, while the 17-inch widescreen and powerful ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6650 chip are a boon for movie buffs and avid gamers. Although it runs on a quad core processor, though it's an AMD AMD Phenom II X4 N950 CPU, which means that it's about as powerful as a low-end Intel Core i3 system, which doesn't cost as much and yields better battery life. That said, you can find better deals elsewhere.
Design-wise, Acer took the phrase "simplicity sells" a bit too literally. A splash of color or even an LED-lit logo would have livened up the AS7552G-6436's looks. Alas, the lid is completely clad in black and extremely plain. It's textured, though, which prevents fingerprint or smudge build-up. The Dell Inspiron 17R-169550MRB and HP Pavilion dv7-4283cl ($999.99 list, 4 stars) have more design appeal, using colors and decorative patterns to their advantage. The AS7552G-6436 weighs 6.5 pounds, which means it won't stray far from your desk that often. It's lighter than the HP dv7-4283cl (7 lbs) and weighs about the same as the Dell 17R-1650MRB (6.5 lbs) and Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7046 ($649.98 list, 2.4 stars) (6.4 lbs).
A 17-inch widescreen offers a wealth of screen real estate, ideal for movie buffs and serious multi-taskers. Its size is second largest to what's available in a clam-shell form factor (an 18.4-inch screen is the largest). The 1,600-by-900 resolution is typical for a screen this size. A 15-inch widescreen, like the one found in the Samsung RF510-S01US ($939.99 list, 3.5 stars) and Lenovo G560-0679AKU ($599 list. 3.5 stars), default to a 1,366-by-768 resolution. The typing experience is pleasant because all the keys are oversized, though the keys feel slightly loose, giving me the uneasy feeling that the keys might peel off if a child should get a hold of it. It has an adjacent numeric keypad, which is also full size, unlike the halved ones found in the Lenovo G560 and Samsung RF510. The touchpad is wide and very responsive, and the mouse buttons aren't overly resistant.
The AS7552G-6436 could have used a cutting-edge feature to carry it out of obscurity, but the only one that's worth mentioning is the 640GB hard drive. Instead of a Blu-ray drive, it ships with the boilerplate DVD burner. The HP dv7-4283cl and Dell XPS 15 ($1,115 direct, 4.5 stars), on the other hand, are equipped with Blu-ray drives. There are four USB 2.0 ports. Meanwhile, the Samsung RF510 and Dell XPS 15 have at least one that's USB 3.0 ready, which can transfer data at 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. Other ports include HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, a media card reader, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Dell Inspiron 17R-1650MRB, meanwhile, adds Wireless Display (WiDi), a technology that wirelessly connects the laptop to an HDTV.
A quad-core processor usually translates to bleeding-edge speeds, but not when it's attached to an AMD moniker (in this case, it's the 2.1GHz AMD Phenom II X4 N950). The AS7552G-6436 can still be a competent video and photo editing laptop, but its performance is more in line with that of an Intel Core i3-based laptop. For instance, Handbrake (3:28) and PCMark Vantage (4,967) results trailed those of the Acer Aspire AS5742-6475 (3:02 for Handbrake; 5,639 for PCMark Vantage)—a $600 laptop with a dual-core processor. It's not even in the same league as the HP dv7-4283cl and Dell XPS 15 in these two tests and Adobe Photoshop CS5 scripts (7:44). If you're an avid gamer, the AS7552G has a sizable advantage over its peers. It clobbered the Dell 17R-1650MRB, which uses integrated graphics, in 3DMark06 (8,146) and Crysis (48.3 fps) tests. Against the HP dv7-4283cl and Dell XPS 15—desktop replacement laptops with discrete graphics—the AS7552G-6436 surpassed them as well.
Even though the AS7552G-6436 will likely be a permanent fixture in your home, mobility (and consequently, battery life) is why you bought a laptop in the first place. Unfortunately, it scored miserably in MobileMark 2007, draining its 48WH battery in 2 hours 36 minutes. The Dell XPS 15 and HP dv7-4283cl ship with bigger batteries (56WH and 87WH, respectively), and consequently, had battery scores in the 4- to 6-hour range. Even the Dell 17R-1695MRB (3:13) broke the 3-hour mark.
The only reason why you might consider the Acer Aspire AS7552G-6436 is for its gaming prowess. A good graphics chip and a big hard drive are its saving graces, and even then, the laptop is priced a little too high for the uninspiring results of its quad-core processor. If you're going to spend this kind of money, I rather you spend a little more for a better design and overall performance that you get from the Dell XPS 15 and the HP Pavilion dv7-4283cl.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Acer Aspire AS7552G-6436