The Bottom Line
Oct 19 2011 - With street pricing of under $550 on a suggest price of $700, it might be hard to find a better value than the Acer Aspire AS5560G-SB485. At this price point, it offers some surprising features includes the quad core AMD A8 processor that helps with multitasking or demanding video work. It even comes with a dedicated graphics processor in addition to the one built into the new AMD APU that is highly uncommon for a budget class laptop. There are a few drawbacks though including performance impacted from all the junk software installed on it and a less then stellar feel to its plastic exterior.
- Quad Core Processor
- Dedicated Graphics Processor
- Well Priced
- Lots Of Trialware
- Plastic Exterior Gives It A Cheap Feel
- AMD A8-3500M Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 6470M Dedicated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15" x 10" x 1.3" @ 5.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Acer Aspire AS5560G-SB485
Oct 19 2011 - The majority of laptops are based upon the Intel processors because of their dominance. AMD has fought back with its new Fusion lineup of processors which Acer has placed into the Aspire AS5560G-SB485. What is unique about this is the fact that they are using the A8-3500M quad core processor. This makes it one of the few laptops priced under $600 to not have a dual core processor. This is advantageous for those looking to use their laptops with heavy multitasking or demanding tasks such as desktop video where the extra processor cores will help out. The downside is that the memory is just 4GB of DDR3 which does limit the performance unless consumers are willing to upgrade the memory to 8GB it to take full advantage of the processor.
Storage features of the Acer Aspire AS5560G-SB485 are pretty much typical of a budget class laptop. The hard drive features a 500GB capacity that should provide a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. Performance is adequate from the drive but nothing spectacular probably because just about every laptop in this price range uses the same style of 5400rpm drive. For playback and recording of CD or DVD media, their is a dual-layer DVD burner. One disappointing aspect of the system is the lack of the newer USB 3.0 port for high speed external storage but this is not a common feature to many budget systems yet.
One of the big advantages of the new AMD APU processors is the built in Radeon HD graphics core. Surprisingly, the Acer Aspire AS5560G-SB485 actually has a dedicated Radeon HD 6470M graphics processor with 1GB of DDR3 memory in addition to the HD 6620G graphics core on the CPU. The two are switchable depending upon the users needs and for the most part, the integrated graphics will work just fine but there are a few instances where you would want to use the dedicated graphics. In particular, if you want to use the laptop for casual PC gaming, then the dedicated graphics will allow this at limited resolutions and detail levels that the integrated processor won't really be able to handle. If you are also doing Photoshop or other tasks that can benefit from the added acceleration features, then the dedicated processor will be better. Just remember that it does draw more power and reduce the overall running time.
The design and feel of the Aspire AS5560G is pretty much unchanged from other recent models. The 15.6-inch display is adequate but has the ubiquitous glossy coating the impacts outdoor use and some narrow vertical viewing angles. The keyboard uses the isolated design that is popular but it isn't as nice as some others on the market. The big problem is that the overall feel of the system has too much plastic that just makes it feel cheap. Sure, it works just fine but doesn't feel as nice as some other brands.
Acer ships the Aspire AS5560G-SB485 with their standard six cell battery pack that features a 4400mAh capacity rating. This is pretty typical of most laptops. The AMD Fusion processor seems to hve improved AMD's overall power usage that helps improve its overall battery life. In DVD playback tests that do not use the dedicated graphics, the laptop was able to run for just under two and a half hours. This puts it pretty much inline with most budget laptops based on the Intel Core i3 processors. Use of the dedicated graphics processor will likely reduce this running time while more typical usage should yield around three and a half hours.
All of Acer's desktops and laptops have been plagued by a large amount of preinstalled software. Much of these programs are of the trialware variety. The problems is that the sheer number of these programs actually ends up impacting the overall performance of the system. In particular, the laptop takes much longer than average to boot up into Windows. It is highly advised that buyer's take the time to remove unwanted applications to help speed up the boot times.