Home theatre notebook: Acer Aspire Gemstone Blue

  • A shortage of HD-DVD drives during the Gemstone's design phase swayed Acer to stick purely with Blu-ray. Had the format war continued, the Gemstone Blue would also have been offered with HD-DVD.

  • As for specifications, the Gemstone Blue is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (using the Penryn core), 3GB of DDR2 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS graphics and it can have up to 320GB of hard drive space (there is an option for two hard drives).

  • Another stand-out feature of the Gemstone Blue is its 6-speaker system. These are small, magnetically shielded drivers that are hooked up to produce surround sound, so you'll get front, rear and sub-woofer frequency separation. In fact, the sub-woofer has a long, tube design. This set-up produces very good sound for movies -- you can actually hear dialogue clearly through these speakers -- and its low-frequency response is better than most notebooks, too

  • Acer's Aspire Gemstone Blue is the first notebook in the world to feature an actual 16:9 widescreen display for high-definition playback. It's aimed squarely at the home entertainment market and has all the features you'll need to play DVDs and Blu-ray movies from the comfort of your couch. It's very much about style, too, as you can see from the slide above, in which its lid has a blue glow and a lit-up Acer logo.

  • In this slide you can see Acer's CineDash panel. It's a touch-panel from which content can be selected and volume manipulated and it beats using the keyboard and touchpad. It interfaces with Acer's own media centre-style software. For ease of use, the Gemstone Blue also has an in-built receiver for its supplied Media Centre remote control.

  • The screen on the Gemstone Blue is 16:9, but the size will vary. The biggest in the range is 18.4in, while the smallest is 16in and they both have a native 1920x1080 resolution. Contrast and brightness values are high and the screens can be viewed comfortably from wide angles. They have an 8ms response time, which enables them to easily handle full-motion video.

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