Review: Acer Aspire 5738DG 3-D Notebook

You know what? Go ahead and forget the whole “3-D” part of this notebook. Yes, it comes with polarizing lenses (and a clip-on attachment for you bespectacled Poindexters out there), and yes, it can display 3-D content.

But even if you find this 3-D material, we can assure you that you won’t want to deal with it. In fact, it’s about as compelling as a Magic Eye poster being dragged behind the back of a school bus. In other words, nothing like the experience of, say, seeing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in an IMAX theater.

No, put away the 3-D gear, change the annoying desktop wallpaper and accept the Acer Aspire 5738DG for what it is: A pretty good, very cheap laptop.

For a mere $780, the Aspire 5738DG is awfully full-featured, packed with a 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB of RAM, an ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics card, 320-GB hard drive, and a 15.6-inch screen. The resolution is on the low side at just 1366 x 768 pixels, and the screen is decidedly dim, but otherwise the feature set is a win. It powers the machine to benchmarks we typically see in computers twice the price — and with exceptional gaming performance to boot.

Designwise, it’s a bit of a disaster, sadly. The screen is top-heavy, making the laptop prone to tipping over backwards, the numeric keypad forces the main keyboard much too far to the left for comfort, and even the machine’s latch — located inexplicably on the base of the machine instead of the lid — makes the computer difficult to open.

Then there’s the 3-D experience, which is simply baffling in its badness. The experience — including the “magical” ability to turn 2-D media into 3-D on the fly — is so downright awful it defies explanation, an exercise in janky double vision that will forever haunt my 2-D dreams.

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