Three-dimensional graphics are being touted as the Next Big Thing to hit the world of consumer electronics – for TV, Blu-ray and computer games. But if, instead of investing in new screens, graphics cards and all the accessories, you fancy an easier self-contained solution to experience 3D – try the 3D-enabled Acer 5738DZG laptop.
It’s capable of showing 3D photographs, 3D video from DVD, and perhaps most immersively, Windows games in 3D. Unfortunately, it’s the latter where the Acer 5738DZG laptop can sometimes prove a little underpowered.
It’s not that the Acer 5738DZG is a slow laptop. There’s a brisk Intel Core 2 Duo running the show, our sample taking a 2.0GHz P7350. This is backed with 4GB RAM, used fully by the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium. For storage there’s a capacious 500GB hard drive.
In performance testing, the 3D Acer 5738DZG scored 90 points in WorldBench, and battery life was over four hours, at 252 mins in MobileMark 2007 Productivity.
The 15.6in widescreen LCD display is sadly glossy as many notebooks are now wont, but powered by a dedicated ATI graphics processor. It wasn’t as sharp as regular screen, although it could come to life when the Acer 5738DZG presenting 3D content.
Acer 5738DZG: a 3D-enabled laptop
The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 comes with 512MB of video RAM, and in our tests with regular games, was capable of good, smooth framerates – providing you didn’t push detail settings high.
In our standard FEAR test, the Acer 5738DZG mustered 23 frames per second at Maximum quality, rising to 40fps with settings dropped to High. But games really make sense when played in 3D.
To get 3D effects, the Acer 5738DZG uses TriDef technology, which take on the background processing to allow three-dimensional images. Instead of active shutter glasses, the Acer includes two pairs of Polaroid sunglasses, with the lens on one side set at 90 degrees out of phase relative to the other. Hence the images are tailored for each eye, creating a three-dimensional perspective.
In practice, it’s possible to see an entirely believable 3D image from relevant media. The TriDef program includes a slideshow of still pictures, some demo animated sequences to get your eyeballs excited - and can process DVD films and some Windows games into 3D. We tried Tomb Raider: Anniversary on the Acer 5738DZG, and saw deep perspectives in exotic locations such as mountain ranges, and in narrower corridors and building interiors.
Sadly, DVDs wouldn’t play due to cryptic Windows decoder issues. Not many video files from our sample collection would play, but one that would was an MPEG2 version of 'Doctor Who'. This certainly added some subtle depth, and while it wasn’t always realistic in its perspectives, it was more enjoyable than we’d feared.
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