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Before I start, my 7720G was ever so slightly different to the spec specified in the spec sheet. Mine was a:
2GHz Core 2 Duo T5450 CPU
3GB DDR2 RAM
256MB Nvidea Geforce 9300M GS (Dedicated graphics, upto 1.5GB shared)
250GB HDD (with a SECOND bay for another SATA hard drive)
17.1" screen (1440x900 resolution)
4 x USB 2.0 ports
Blue Ray reader/DVD-RW drive
and the usual things like Wifi, Eithernet etc
Shipped with Vista Home Premium.
Now, I bought mine in the summer of 2008 and since then, it hasn't put a foot wrong. As soon as I got home, I re-formated the computer (This is personal preference, I hate the bloatware new computers come with and is tedious to uninstall manually, a format is much quicker. :) ) and I also put a 320GB HDD in and made the 250GB it came with the slave drive. From then on in the laptop performed up to and beyond the call of duty.
I am a graphics and video man by profession, and use applications such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects and also run high end games. This laptop never ever had a problem running any of the above, even on the might slow Windows Vista. I have heard a lot of bad things about Acer Aspire laptops being marginally rubbish, but I never had a single problem, at least none I couldn't fix myself.
Graphics wise this laptop definitely outperforms laptops of it's time. I had no problems running games such as Crysis, Half Life 2, Portal, Guitar Hero and so on.. on this machine. 3D packages such as Maya also ran exceptionally well. The good thing about the graphics is their not going to waste, with a Blue Ray drive, it was able to pump out HD video either to the built in monitor OR an external HDTV or monitor over DVI or VGA. The limiting factor is it's 256MB of dedicated vRAM. With 512MB seeming to be the standard, it is slightly slacking, but never the less never really had a problem with anything.
Sound on the laptop is brilliant. Most Acer Aspire laptops have built in 2.1 sound whereby the laptop has a left, a right and a subwoofer speaker. It's not as powerful as a dedicated 2.1 system could ever be, but for a built in setup it was the best it could be. The volume went relativly loud and the sub woofer was able to keep up. However, if you ran an Operating System of which there are no drivers for, you will only be using the stereo speakers and not the woofer, only XP, Vista and 7 have the sound drivers available so other OS users will be out of luck.
The laptop IS rather heavy. I am a big lad and thought having a large laptop wouldn't phaze me too much, but, after several months of walking to and from University with it on my back, it started to give me some nice backaches. This is more of a 'stay home' laptop where it replaces a household PC, not a 'carry around with you' laptop like the 13" MacBook Pro is.
Built quality was... alright. After a while of being carried around in the bag if you lean on certain areas you could hear squeaking of plastic. Nothing drastic as if it's about to break on you, but again, being a stay at home laptop, it wouldn't usually go through this sort of torture.
The battery is as bad as most laptops of it's ago. When new I could get "2 hours" out of it as Vista told me but in reality only got an hour if I was lucky. After a year on battery I would get 30-45 minutes if I was lucky. You will be running this machine off of the power pack most of the time, so my advise is to remove the battery once it's fully charged and while running it from the mains.
Overall the laptop is great. If you want a large, powerful desktop PC replacement, this laptop if more than up to the job. Even video editors, graphic designers and the likes will easily be able to use this machine as if they had a dedicated desktop sitting with them at their desk.
What a flaw this machine is. Acer have tried to win over consumers by adding on all the extra specs and to begin with it won my husband over so we purchased one on 15/10/2008 but by 21/10/08 it was returned to the store faulty with a MAJOR boot problem where apparantly is a common fault with Acer machines. What happened to the we purchased was when leaving the notebook rest for a while and coming to run the machine again all that would load was a a black screen with a flashing cursor in the top left hand corner and then nothing more would happen. Also a man had a similar problem where only the acer screen would load and nothing more. It appears that acer need to adddress this problem and until they do people are going to be buying a piece of junk! We were lucky that the problem arised so soon with ours and we were able to return it for a completly different model all togther and I do believe that we had a lucky escape!