Acer's trend-setting Blu-ray notebooks

Acer has announced a new line of Gemstone Blue notebooks aimed at home entertainment. Almost all the new £799-£1,399 models feature Blu-ray disc drives in addition to 4GB of memory and Nvdia 9500M GS or 9650M GS graphics.

These are Full HD 16:9 notebooks and that means Acer has had to launch some new screen sizes: 18.4-inch and 16-inch. Another feature is that the notebooks are co-branded with Dolby. They feature True 5.1 output and second-generation Dolby Home Theater tech – a first for a notebook.

Dolby representatives were at this morning’s launch of the new Gemstone Blue models to demonstrate the CineSurround and Tuba CineBass booster components. Our conclusion? The sound is superb, though we were surprised at how bassy it actually was.

It's all about the blue LEDs...

Design is where Acer is also trying to differentiate itself. And although the new models are hardly the “innovative, industry-first, laptop design” we’d been promised in the lead-up to this morning’s event, the new notebooks do include some natty flourishes - mostly involving blue LEDs.

The best is also the most useful. The CineDash media console is well-finished and as well as being touch sensitive is also slightly tactile, meaning it’s rather nice to use.

Both the 18.4-inch 8920 and 16-inch 6920 models feature LED backlighting and various iterations of Intel Core 2 Duo processors right up to the T9500 clocked at 2.6GHz. One of the 8920 models also features an integrated TV tuner.

These laptops are pretty huge to look at – even the 16-inch has a rather large footprint – but they are surprisingly lightweight. Then again, they’re hardly designed for use on the move. These are most definitely laptops for the home. Mind you, with the amount of multimedia goodness on offer, we wouldn’t say no.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.