The multimedia laptop range is very important for any manufacturer. This range alone is responsible for over a half of the total sells within the numbers of a global manufacturer, such as Toshiba or Acer. Nowadays, the technology is more affordable (cheaper within every six months due to the exponential function of the technologic evolution). This enabled developing of better equipped with higher performances laptops. Toshiba is one of the few manufacturers that don't keep their older models for sale (too much). Acer on the other hand is continuously upgrading models, or releasing new ones without removing the older products. Even more, the official Acer web store is not that well organized because off all these models, launched by over a year ago and upgraded with newer models.
For instance the Aspire family has no more than 38 laptop models, within eight different lines (in the Europe) and 34 laptop models within seven different lines in North America. One of the common lines between these two markets is the Aspire 5xxx line, well structured with several powerful laptops models. The structure was developed rather different than the Aspire 6xxx. However, the Aspire 5xxx includes several common basic ideas from Aspire 6xxx, such as the branded technology within different products lines. For instance, Toshiba includes within the same laptop model different branded technologies (AMD and Intel), in different configurations. Acer has developed in the same range of the Aspire 5xxx a different line for the AMD powered laptops (very similar to the Aspire 6530 - AMD versus Aspire 6930 - Intel).
Therefore, the Aspire 5536 is the latest upgrade to the Aspire 5530 - AMD powered. Both these laptop models are still in the Acer's portfolio, either the Europe one or the North America portfolio. The Aspire 5536 is the latest solution from Acer for anyone who wants an excellent multimedia laptop within a specific price range, powered by AMD. The Aspire 5536 is truly a work of art in the average laptop range with powerful processors, high quality graphic chipset, excellent 15 inches TFT LCD display (including the latest Cine Crystal technology), and the latest Dolby surround sound system (third generation to be more exact).
The multimedia package is completed by adding to the equation he Blu-ray Disc drive, creating the best averaged priced multimedia laptop, indestructible by any other future competitors (at least until 2010). The Aspire 5536 is a new laptop model in the Aspire range. Therefore, it sports the Gemstone design, including the same excellent features and main disadvantages. The Gemstone design, as I said in other articles, looks great, it is build almost flawlessly, but in time it will lose its greatness. Since the lid is made out of a black vanishing into blue glossy plastic. The result in visual terms is extraordinary. However, the lid is a fingerprint magnet and easy to scratch, even with the minor accident like dropping a clutch pencil on it.
The rest of the Acer 5536 is made out of matte black plastic. Even the keyboard surface is not the same nice patterned surface found on Aspire 6xxx. Keep in mind that this is a cheaper version of Aspire 6xxx. Compromises had to be made, when Acer included the latest technology, within an affordable laptop. Even more, the overall design is not the most modern on the market. The cover LCD doesn't work like a hinge. Even so, Acer didn't include any ports or slots on the back side. The only element found on the back side is the cooling vent. The left side of the Aspire 5536 includes the DC in jack, the RJ 11 port, HDMI port with the HDCP support, VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports, headphone line out jack, microphone in jack, and the Line in jack.
On the right side you can find the RJ 45 LAN port, the Kensington lock, another two 2.0 USB ports, and the DVD drive. The American version of 5536 sports only the Super Multi DVD drive (compatible with several formats), while the European version of Aspire 5536 includes, depending on the configuration either a Blu-ray Disc / Super Multi DVD double layer drive, or the Super Multi DVD (with several compatible format, common within the majority of laptops on the market). The only element you will find on the front side is the memory card reader, compatible with xD Picture Card, Secure Digital card, Memory Stick PRO, Multimedia card, and the Memory Stick memory card.
The build quality is how I said before, almost flawless. Just "almost" because remember this design (all plastic body) is not durable in time. Even so, the Aspire 5536 feels solid and looks great. With a varying height from front to rear 26 mm (or 1.03 inches) to 37 mm (or 1.5 inches), wide of 383 mm (or 15.1 inches), deep of 250 mm (or 9.9 inches), the Aspire 5536 weights about 2.8 Kg (or 5.94 lbs) including the battery. These values mean one thing, this laptop is tub o used indoors and not outdoors. Buy it if you need a great desktop replacement with performances in the multimedia department. Regarding the battery, both European and American versions of Aspire 5536 (within all available configurations) can only be equipped with the six cell Lithium Ion battery with 48.8 Watts, which should charge itself completely within 2.5 hours if the laptop is turned off, or 3.5 hours if the laptop is in use.
Once you open the Aspire 5536 you will see a full keyboard, with all the 11 function keys, easy launch buttons (such as volume controls, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other customizable launch buttons), and the media keys (featuring the play, pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind). The keyboard has good sized keys, which offer sufficient feedback. No flex is involved when pressing them. Under the keyboard you can find the touch pad, which sports the latest multi touch technology (however, you should expect Apple MacBook Pro multi touch). The touch pad is easy to use, thanks to the sufficient patterned material. The feedback is average and the overall user experience (with the keyboard included) is great.
You shouldn't have any problems not even when you use this laptop in a hurry. Acer included into the Aspire 5536 an excellent 15.6 inches TFT LCD with a WXGA high definition resolution (also known as 1366 x 768 pixels), sporting the latest Acer CrystalBrite technology. The brightness is the best found on an Acer laptop, 220 nit on the center of the display. However, this value is by far as high as the 300 nit found on the Apple MacBook, but comparable with what Toshiba has to offer. This display sports a 16 to 9 aspect ratio, capable of rendering up to 16.7 million colors. The TFT LCD's brightness is sufficient for indoors us, and acceptable under direct sunlight. To complete the multimedia experience Acer also added a 3rd generation Dolby surround sound system (within two built in stereo speakers).
You get 5 in 1 channel surround sound output, with excellent volume and bass, thanks to all the embedded technology including the Dolby Natural Bass, Dolby High Frequency Enhancer technologies, and many other more. The connectivity is ensured by the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, 56 Kb per second modem, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 plus the enhanced data rate, four 2.0 USB ports, HDMI and VGA port. American 5536 and European 5536 (with all their configurations), sport the same connectivity package, the same display, the same chipset (AMD M780G) and battery package. The American Aspire 5536 configurations are shipped only with Windows Vista Home Premium.
There are six available configurations within the North American Acer portfolio, the 5105, 5883, 5165, 5663, 5218, and the 5244; the Aspire 5536 5105 includes the AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core Processor QL 64 with 2.1 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache, 3 GB DDR 2 557 SDRAM, ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, and the 250 GB hard drive. The Aspire 5536 5883 differs from the 5105 configuration by the 320 GB hard drive. The Aspire 5536 5165 includes the AMD X2 Turion Dual Core Mobile Processor RM 72 with 2.1 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache, 320 GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, and the 3 GB DDR2 SDRAM.
The fourth generation of 5536, 5663 sports the AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core Processor QL 64 with 2.1 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache, the same graphic chipset, the 320 GB hard drive, and 3 GB DDR 2 667 SDRAM. The only difference between the 5663 and the 5218 is the newer processor, AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core Processor QL 65 with the same performances 2.1 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache. The 5224 is basically 5663, but with one year warranty, opposed to the two year warranty offered for the 5663. The European configurations of the 5536 are better equipped (Acer included an Express Card slot with 54 mm Express Card compatibility). You get about six different configurations of the Aspire 5536, 643G25MN, 643G50MN, 744G32MN, 744G32MN, 623G50MN, 744G32MN VHP32ATGB1 MC.
These eight configurations are shipped with either Windows Vista Home Basic, or the Windows Vista Home Premium. The only Vista Home Basic laptop is the 5536 643G25MN, which includes the AMD Athlon Q64 with 1 MB L2 cache 3.5 MHz FSB and 2.1 GHz, ATI Radeon Graphics with 256 MB, 250 GB hard drive with 5400 rotations per minute, and the 3 GB RAM memory unit. The rest of the available configurations include the Vista Home Premium. The Aspire 5536 643G50MN sports the same processor as the 643G25MN, the 500 GB hard drive with 5400 rotations per minute, 3 GB RAM memory, and ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics with 256 MB. The next configuration, 744G32MN sports the AMD Turion RM 74 with 2.2 GHz 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2 cache, 320 GB hard drive with 5400 rotations per minute, the same graphic chipset and 4 GB DDR2 667 SDRAM. The fourth configuration is Aspire 5536G 744G32 MN and is basically 5536 744 G32MN with a better graphic chipset, the ATI HD 4570 graphics with 512 MB.
Acer included into the Aspire 5536 623G50MN the AMD Athlon QL 62 2.0 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache, with 3.6 MHz FSB, the 500 GB 5400 rotation per minute, only a shared graphics, and 3 GB DDR2 667 SDRAM. Last but not least, the 744G32MN VHP32ATGB1 MC sports an AMD Turion RM 74 with 2.2 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache with 800 MHz FSB, 320 GB hard drive with 5400 rotations per minute, the ATI Radeon HD 3200 with improved memory to 512 MB, and 4 GB DDR2 SDRAM. Overall, both American and European versions of Aspire 5536 provide sufficient hardware specs for the average price level.
You get good performances (even do the technology is not the fastest), excellent multimedia features (including the display, Dolby Sound, and graphic chipsets), for less than $900 (depending on the configuration). If you are looking for a desktop replacement with high multimedia performances for less money (then the laptops found in Toshiba's portfolio, and even Apple's portfolio), then the Aspire 5536 might just be what you are looking for, or maybe even more.