Acer Aspire 5738DZG 3D review

Price when reviewed

3D is the talk of the display world at the moment. The big TV makers are showing off luxurious new displays, 3D projectors are beginning to appear and Nvidia has already released its GeForce 3D Vision gaming kit. We naturally assumed the first laptop to include a 3D screen would be an expensive desktop replacement but, it’s actually a £522 Acer Aspire.

The Aspire 5738DZG’s 15.6in screen sports a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 and is coated with a polarising filter which, when combined with the included pair of polarised glasses, causes different images to be seen in each eye. Much like Nvidia’s superior but dearer active shutter system, the two different images are combined by the brain to create the illusion of a three-dimensional image. It’s all managed by the TriDef 3D software suite running in the background.

Viewing preview clips in 3D, though, provided mixed results. Computer-generated cartoons looked fantastic, but traditional animations fell flat, literally, with ghosting proving a real problem. Real-life clips varied in quality, too, with some showing excellent perspective and others demonstrating a more subtle difference. Viewing angles were exceptionally narrow, with a single optimal position for it to work.

The real appeal is that the TriDef 3D software also promises to convert existing DVDs and games to 3D. Alas, the effect was far less pronounced and more inconsistent than in the specially prepared preview clips. Plenty of scenes hardly looked as if they’d been converted at all, and the constant motion blur and lower resolution caused by the polarising effect made us think twice about watching entire films.

Acer Aspire 5738DZG

It may deliver mixed results, but the software does work with a commendable range of popular file formats: AVI, MPG, JPG are all supported, and popular codecs like XviD, DivX, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and H.264 are all covered. And big names such as Crysis, Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 are among the dozens of supported games but, as with DVDs, there are problems. While the effect was more pronounced than with video footage, especially with objects closer to the camera, the persistent motion blur proved distracting, and the occasional bug – such as textures not being recreated across both of the screen’s polarised images – immediately killed the immersion.

Sweep the 3D gimmick aside, though, and you’ll find a reassuringly sturdy laptop. The wrist rest and base feel solid and the screen – which is no thicker than a standard panel – is pretty rigid, too, even if applying pressure to certain areas on the rear does cause the desktop to distort slightly.

It’s a good-looking laptop, too, reigning in some of the entertainment excess we’ve seen on Aspire desktop replacements, but it’s still unmistakably an Acer thanks to its textured, gunmetal grey wrist-wrest, blue accenting and dark blue lid.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions384 x 250 x 40mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.3kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core T4300
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 4570
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity452GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 45min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 34min
Overall application benchmark score1.00
Office application benchmark score0.96
2D graphics application benchmark score1.22
Encoding application benchmark score0.95
Multitasking application benchmark score0.86
3D performance (crysis) low settings42fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedMcAfee Security Centre, Acer Arcade Deluxe, Norton Online Backup

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