Acer's Aspire 8920G-934G64Bn (£1400 inc. VAT) is the second machine we've seen from the company to feature its latest Gemstone Blue styling.

Along with a 3D-effect finish to the glossy lid, you'll also find an unusual 18.4-inch display and a host of unique design touches.

Hi-def screen

Where the screens on most laptops feature a 16:10 aspect ratio, the Acer offers a true widescreen 16:9 panel.

With a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels – a first for a laptop – it's custom-made for watching high-definition movies. Films looked larger than life, and images looked more vibrant than they did on the other laptops.

A Blu-ray drive is included as standard to let you take advantage of the impressive display. An external high-definition display can be connected using the HDMI port.

The Acer features a cutting-edge graphics solution, with nVidia's latest GeForce 9650M GS graphics card in place. It can't match the sheer power of some gaming laptops, but you'll still find more than enough performance to play the latest games or carry out graphic-intensive tasks.

Bulky laptop

A downside to the screen's size is the extra width, and the Acer is a considerably wide machine.

If you don't mind the bulk, one of the benefits this brings is plenty of space for the user interface. The keyboard is comfortable, with large keys that are easy to type quickly on.

The touchpad is part of the palm rests, but a slight indentation makes it easy to avoid it when you're typing. You'll find a distinctive backlit control panel to the left of the keyboard, with touch-sensitive buttons.

Although it will appeal to some people, it's overly fussy and takes up a good deal of space.

Powerful specification

With a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 4096MB of memory and two 320GB hard drives, the 8920G has an excellent specification for the money.

Performance was strong, with applications opening instantly, and the Acer offered a respectable three hours between charges, allowing use away from a power point.

An integrated TV tuner helps to make the Acer a laptop you can truly base all your home entertainment needs on.

Intense audio experience

Three Dolby Home Theatre speakers sit above the keyboard, two more on the front of the chassis and a sub-woofer neatly integrated between the hinges.

It looks good and is loud, but still can't match an external speaker set-up for audio quality.

The Acer Aspire 8920G-934G64Bn isn't the cheapest machine, but the cutting-edge components and excellent display make it our machine of choice.