After a couple of months of imposing Vista as an alternative to the good old XP, we’ve decided to test a reasonably priced notebook that runs on Vista. We’re quite confident that while buying a new laptop many will pay attention to the OS, and getting a newest Microsoft OS will seem like a great deal. As always, some things that look good on paper don’t quite look so in reality.
The matte black lid looks good, and the detail in "piano" black is, of course, a fingerprint magnet.
As soon as we opened the box, in which we’ll find a Vista Home Premium installation DVD, Acer's Aspire 5520 surprised us. The quality and the robustness of the case are much better than we’ve come to expect from Acer. The design is good too, matte black, curved angles and couple of sharp lines, all this breathes some elegance into this notebook. The case dimensions are 426x366x274 mm, and weight is 2.75kg.
Optical drive, two USB connectors and modem RJ-11 are placed on the right side.
Of course, there is always room for improvement. The screen opening mechanism is not that good and you’ll often have to use both hands to open or close the notebook. When closing the screen, the mechanism doesn’t always lock it. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt as the mechanism will surely loosen up with time.
Due to the curved design of the lid and retracted latches, it is not possible to bend the screen all the way.
It looks pretty, but the old hinges were more practical.
The lower ledge of the screen almost completely covers the rear, and due to this, rear side of this notebook doesn’t feature any connectors except for the power one. Therefore, all the connectors, even the rarely used ones as VGA, S-Video and Firewire ones, are spread around the sides.
It won’t go any further, and the connectors that used to be in the back are now on the sides. The audio dial is practical.
The quality of manufacturing, finishing touches and materials are, as we’ve said before, quite good. The machine didn’t heat up too much, hence the cooling itself wasn’t loud. The keyboard is also high quality and easy to use. Compared to the previous generation of Acer notebooks, the keyboard and material quality are somewhat better. The design of the previous model was a bit more conservative and more oriented to business users and practical side. It is interesting to note that the previous model is a couple of millimeters thinner.
On the picture next to the old Aspire 1650 series. Due to the curved lines, the new model looks much fatter, although the difference isn’t that big.