In recent months, Acer has released a range of affordable media centres under its Gemstone brand. The Aspire 6920G-6A4G25Mn (£699 inc. VAT) is an entry-level offering that combines high-performance graphics and great usability.

The chassis is designed by BMW Designworks. It has a unique, high-quality style, but may not suit all tastes. Build quality is outstanding. The glossy casing is easily scratched, however, and quickly attracts fingerprints.

Bulky laptop

Mobility is impressive for a laptop so clearly designed for home use. The 3.3kg chassis can be carried in relative comfort, but it's bulky to hold. The 182-minute battery life lets you work around the home for a reasonable length of time.

Usability is excellent. The keyboard is well attached and has a high-quality feel. Long-term use is always comfortable. There is no dedicated pad of numerical keys. Instead Acer has added its CineDash multimedia control panel.

These touch-sensitive buttons are fitted to the left of the keyboard for easy control of music, photos and videos. The confusing layout takes some getting used to, but all of the buttons can be disabled when necessary.

Stunning display

The 16-inch screen is the most unique feature. It uses a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the 16:10 ratio of most widescreen laptops. DVDs can play in their native resolution, and it almost completely eliminates the black borders at the top and bottom of the screen.

Image quality is stunning. Brightness is quite low, however, and better suited to indoor use. 3D performance is excellent, and the dedicated nVidia graphics card provides ample power for gaming and photo/video editing.

General performance is bettered by many rivals. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory promise more power than they deliver. Basic multi-tasking is possible, we've seen better.

Plentiful storage

Storage is excellent, however. The 250GB hard drive will easily hold your music, video and photo collection.

The dual-layer DVD rewriter lets you create your own high-capacity discs, and the 5-in-1 media card reader supports the most popular formats.

A one-year warranty is provided as standard and includes parts and labour costs and delivery fees. Three-years of cover can be added for £49 (inc. VAT) and is a worthwhile upgrade.

The Acer Aspire 6920G is an excellent laptop for home use. As long as the styling suits your taste, its power and usability makes it a pleasure to use and the screen is the perfect fit for movie fans.