Review: Acer Aspire 4520

A few months ago, I was in the market for a laptop that I could use for the usual home stuff and also play some of the older games like Quake 3, Half LIfe 2, FarCry etc. I wasn’t looking to spend too much on this laptop and so I went to the local Acer Mall. These guys had a good selection of Acer laptops and also of other Brands like Lenovo, Hitachi, HCL, Toshiba etc. The wife and I finally settled on the Aspire 4520 as she liked the looks of the laptop (too white for my taste) and I liked the features it offered for the price asked. All in all, the laptop is serving well and is true to my expectations.

INTRODUCTION

Acer introduced the Aspire 4520 about a year ago in India. By the time all the distributors were selling it it was already January 08 or February 08. When I bought this laptop from the Acer Mall here in Mumbai, the guy there told me that this model has just come in. He was surprised to know that the model is about a year old.

LOOKS & QUALITY

Acer’s Gemstone series has been widely appreciated and as my wife would testify, that is what attracted her to this machine. It has grown on me and it does tend to seperate itself from the run of the mill model available out there. It feels and looks like a much more expebsive machine than it really is. Everything is very strudy and doesnot give a plasiticy feel at all. The screen hinges are strong, however the screen does shake a bit of you type overzealously. The ports, buttons etc have a solid feel to them and connectors slide in with authority and so not jiggle.

PORTS & CONNECTORS

This is something that this laptop does not shirk on. List of ports available on the outside:

Left Side

  1. USB 2.0 x 2
  2. Ethernet Jack- RJ-45
  3. Modem- RJ-11 Jack
  4. External display- VGA Port
  5. Svideo TV-out port
  6. 4 Pin IEEE 1394 Port
  7. Express Card 54 Slot
  8. 5 in 1 card reader

Right Side

  1. Power Jack
  2. Kensington Lock Slot
  3. Optical Drive (comes with 8x DVD-RW)
  4. USB 2.0 x 2

Front

  1. Line-in jack
  2. Headphone/speaker/line-out jack with S/PDIF support
  3. Microphone in jack
  4. Volume control wheel

Whew! Thats a lot. And I believe there are additional USB connectors on the motherboard. There are no ports on the rear of the laptop, which I think makes life a lot easier.

SPECIFICATIONS:

This particular model came with the AMD Athlon X2 1.8 Ghz Processor (2 x 256KB L2 Cache). The graphics is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce 7000M Chip with 256MB of dedicated system memory.

The system came with 1GBRAM and supports up to 2GB of DDR2 667Mhz, upgradable to 4GB using 2 soDIMM modules of 2GB each.

The display is 14.1 inch WXGA Acer CrystalBright TFT LCD . The brightness is superb and the maximum resolution is 1280 x 800 pixels.It also supports simultaneous multiple window viewing with Acer GridVista.

The system also came with a 160GB SATA HDD and a DVD Super Multi Double-layer drive.

The built in speakers are Dolby Certified. The sound sub-system also features, Dolby Home Theatre Audio Enhancement featuring Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Live, Dolby PRO Logic II, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker technologies. There is also S/PDIF support for digital speakers. There is also a buil in microphone on the top of the display.

There are various easy access buttons available on the top of the standard keyboard. These keys let you access the WLAN, Browser, Mail Program, Bluetooth, Acer Multimedia and Acer Empowerment Framework applications.

The laptop weighs about 2.56 Kgs and is good for keeping at home as a desktop replacement. Battery backup is not that great as I get about 2.5 hours with WIFI on.

The laptop comes with a Drivers CD and has drivers for both Windows XP and Vista. XP drivers no doubt have been included after multiple flames in the forums.

Some more images. This is the laptop stand that I use for keeping the laptop cool. It has 3 fans with LEDs and runs via USB.

The Acer CrystalEye Camera. Nothing to really write home about. Simply adequate for video chats and the like. The microphone is to the right of this camera and an LED lights up when the camera is in use.

The touch pad can be a pain as it is not cordoned off from the palm rests. You can expect inadvertant clicks many time. The buttons are solid (but not as cool as the Thinkpad) and there is also a 4 way scroll key between the 2 mouse buttons.

Nothing really different about the keyboard. The key feel good and make very little sound. Much better than my office DELL D630. The funny shaped space bar adds to the uniqueness of this laptop.

CONCLUSION

I have been very happy with this laptop. No “Post Purchase Cognitive Dissonance”. I would have appreciated it if the laptop came preinstalled with a good linux distro. I spent INR 4500 for a copy of Vista Home Basic. I dual boot with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.Setting up linux was not very difficult as this model is very popular and the forums had all the solutions available.

All in all this laptop cost me INR 29999 + INR 4500 for Vista. Thats about USD 770.

8 Responses to “Review: Acer Aspire 4520”

  1. June 29, 2010 at 10:28 AM #

    great post! It will help many people to search their product review to choose right product

  2. klonoma
    October 26, 2010 at 8:05 AM #

    here is my specs.
    [IMG <a href="http:// ]http://i55.tinypic.com/awdkk1.jpg[/IMG]" rel="nofollow"> <a href="http://]http://i55.tinypic.com/awdkk1.jpg%5B/IMG%5D” target=”_blank”>]http://i55.tinypic.com/awdkk1.jpg[/IMG]

    my question is . .can i also upgrade my amd athlon 64 x2 processor dual core but higher GHz? thanks in advance.

    • October 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM #

      @klonoma The only higher clock speed for the AMD Athlon 64 X2 is 1.8Ghz. You are already at the 1.7Ghz. This is an old model laptop. Mine died some time ago. The cost of the new processor will not really be worth the performance increase.

      In case you have the Nvidia Graphics chip too, you should sell this laptop as soon as possible since there is a fabrication problem with this model that loosens the chip from the board due to heat after some time.

  3. Mahee
    October 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM #

    Same as other ACER product 4520 model also with a product weak. Before ending 2 years motherboard faults. VGA chipset overheating issue and cooling system not properly design. I never buy ACER again.

    • November 1, 2010 at 3:34 AM #

      @mahee I don't thing that this is a problem anymore. I was really happy with the laptop on the whole and would have bought an Acer again if there was one available in the same price range with the same enviable specs. The problem was with the Nvidia chip and not with the Acer MB.

  4. klonoma
    October 31, 2010 at 11:39 PM #

    thanks abhilash,. what if i'll upgrade my nvidia Geforce 7000? btw,I don't have any problem about the loosening thing ( coz I bought an external fan for my laptop.)

    • November 1, 2010 at 2:28 AM #

      I don't think that you can upgrade the graphics chip. It is soldered to the board. The loosening should not be an issue in case you work in an A/C environment with this machine. But it will definitely kick in sometime for sure. Maybe 6 months later, but it will happen.

  5. January 4, 2011 at 3:37 PM #

    Awesome post mate.

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