The Acer Aspire 5560G-8358G75Mnkk uses an AMD quad-core processor, the AMD A8-3500M, with each core running at 1.5GHz but capable of boosts to 2.4GHz when the going gets tough. However, when compared to Intel's quad-core i7 processors, there's no contest - the AMD chips just can't match the performance of Intel.  

A WorldBench 6 score of 85 suggests that the A8-3500M can't even compete with many of Intel's dual-core i3 and i5 models in the performance stakes, although four cores is generally better than two should you want to run several programs at the same time. The generous 8GB of RAM will help here too.

The gaming performance, though, is much better than the application performance - a frame rate of 53fps in FEAR at Maximum settings is a very decent result.

The strong graphics performance is down to the dual AMD Radeon HD 6740G2 graphics setup. This actually consists of a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6650M processor with 1GB video memory, and an integrated Radeon HD 6620G chip, configured together in a CrossFire array. This means that alternate frames are rendered by each card, which has potential performance benefits, although does also make it less power efficient. 

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The display, though very reflective, offers good colours and a wide viewing angle, but the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution on a 15.6in panel isn't as sharp as we'd like to see. Sound quality provided by the Dolby-licensed speakers is impressive and the Aspire does a good job of playing films, even if it sadly doesn't support the Blu-ray Disc format.

When it comes to battery life, you should get approaching 5 hours out of the Acer Aspire 5560G-8358G75Mnkk on a full charge (MobileMark 2007 reported 285 mins), which is not bad for what is ostensibly a desktop replacement. 

For a 15.6in model, the Acer Aspire 5560G-8358G75Mnkk weighs a not untypical 2.6kg, so wouldn't be much trouble to carry around. It isn't the sturdiest model we've seen, with the bottom in particularly feeling quite fragile. The textured lid makes it easy to grip should you need to carry it without a case.

The Acer has a decent keyboard with lilypad-style keys that look as if they're floating above the chassis. The effect is good to look at, though slightly impractical as crumbs and other debris can find their way in rather easily. There's a numeric keypad to the right, which is handy for data entry. 

The touchpad does a decent job and has a smooth surface to differentiate it from the rest of the textured chassis, so your fingers can find it while your eyes remain fixed on the screen.

Connectivity options are a little basic - there’s a choice of VGA or HDMI for connecting to a TV or monitor, but of the three USB ports, none support the latest USB 3.0 standard. All of the usual Wi-Fi standards are covered, and Bluetooth connectivity is also included. Storage is taken care of by a large 750GB hard drive, which should be enough for most users.


Acer Aspire 5560G: Specs

  • 1.5GHz AMD A8-3500M quad-core processor
  • 15.6in (1366 x 768) glossy LED-backlit display
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3-1333MHz RAM
  • 750GB 2.5in SATA 5400rpm hard disk
  • AMD Radeon HD 6740G2 with 1GB VRAM dual graphics
  • DVD±RW drive
  • VGA, HDMI
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • SD/xD/MS Pro card reader
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • stereo speakers
  • headphone jack
  • mic input
  • webcam
  • 48Wh removable lithium-ion battery
  • 382 x 253 x 33mm
  • 2.6kg
  • 1.5GHz AMD A8-3500M quad-core processor
  • 15.6in (1366 x 768) glossy LED-backlit display
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3-1333MHz RAM
  • 750GB 2.5in SATA 5400rpm hard disk
  • AMD Radeon HD 6740G2 with 1GB VRAM dual graphics
  • DVD±RW drive
  • VGA, HDMI
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • SD/xD/MS Pro card reader
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • stereo speakers
  • headphone jack
  • mic input
  • webcam
  • 48Wh removable lithium-ion battery
  • 382 x 253 x 33mm
  • 2.6kg

OUR VERDICT

As a gaming laptop the Aspire 5560G is a decent bet, but we can't help but be disappointed by the application performance of the Acer in our benchmark tests. You probably wouldn't notice the lack of speed in most day-to-day applications but if you want to run more demanding software programs, a model using an Intel Core processor would be faster. The price is not especially competitive andt you can get more for your money elsewhere.

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