The latest addition in Acer's Aspire series of laptops is the Aspire 5738DG. Despite being a good multi-purpose laptop, in terms of hardware specs, it's claim to fame is no doubt its 3D screen (and accompanying polaroid glasses) which makes it one of the first mainstream laptop to support 3D vision.
The focus of this review is obviously the Aspire 5738DG's 3D panel. Unlike Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision we tested earlier, which works with a high-refresh rate monitor paired with liquid crystal glasses, the Aspire 5738DG deploys 3D a little differently. Digital content is displayed in three dimension together with a pair of polaroid glasses, polaroid 3D panel, and a third-party software from Tri-Def—the main driver behind the laptop's 3D experience. The laptop's screen behaves normally like any other 2D laptop until you fire up TriDef's software. Once enabled, everything you see through the software—be it videos, photos, or games—is in 3D. Put on the glasses and adjust your screen's viewing angle to around 120-degree, and sit back. The software comes with some photos and videos which are tuned to enhance the 3D experience, and they truly work like a charm. Videos leap off the screen, images show believable depth, and it all comes together pretty well.
However, when it came to watching regular, non-3D tuned content, the Aspire 5738DG's 3D experience wasn't quite the same, and left a lot to be desired. We watched a couple of movies, went through several photos, and 3D experience here was a hit-and-miss. It had trouble displaying moving images—at times part of a footage really popped out of the screen, delivering close to perfect 3D quality, while at other times it was a mish-mash of blurry images—not quite 3D-esque. Better news on the still images front, though; depth was much more perceptible on our test images and as well as on the ones that Acer bundled in. Gaming in 3D on the Aspire 5738DG wasn't all that good, and both Acer and game developers have to ensure 3D-enabled driver support to take 3D gaming to the next level. Here we would like something like the Nvidia 3D Vision make its way into the laptop market, just for 3D gaming enthusiasts.
Besides 3D, the Aspire 5738DG looks like any other Aspire notebook we've reviewed in the past—Aspire 5738G, Aspire 5542G, just to name a few. It has a 15.6-inch glossy screen and is solidly built. It's heavy at 2.8-kg compared to some of its mainstream competitors—the Samsung NP-R470, Dell Inspiron 14z, or Lenovo Ideapad Y450. However, it comes with a full keyboard, with nice isolated keys and a dedicated number pad on the right. The Aspire 5738DG also has a big touchpad which supports popular multiple gestures to scroll through images or web pages. Screen is nice and bright and onboard audio is also quite good, no complaints here.
Features are well looked after on the Aspire 5738DG. It has Gigabit Ethernet, Draft-N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI connectivity, apart from four USB ports, DVD writer, multicard reader, and audio jacks. It also has a screen-lock, a nifty feature which helps secure the screen to the rest of the chassis while the laptop is shut closed. It comes with 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.
The Aspire 5738DG runs on decent hardware under the hood. An Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 2.2-GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive is a healthy configuration on any respectable mainstream laptop. It also comes with an ATI Radeon HD 4570 discrete graphics card, which (with low expectation and at low settings) can handle casual gaming well enough. The notebook scored 88 in WorldBench 6, which is pretty good, and it had no trouble playing both 720p and 1080p HD videos. Battery life, on BatteryEater's benchmark, lasted just over 1 hour 30 minutes—expect close to 3 hours on a single charge while browsing the Web.
Throughout my time spent on the Acer Aspire 5738DG, I think Acer's attempt to bring the 3D movie theater experience down to the confines of a laptop is encouraging. But there's sufficient room for improvement, no doubt. Having said that, this is still a good all-purpose laptop—with a cool 3D feature.