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Notebook with Huge 20 Inch Screen Reviewed 307

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the desktop-replacement-not-laptop dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Trusted reviews has a look at the Acer Aspire 9800. This massive machine has a 20.1" screen, two 120GB hard drives in a RAID 0 array, super-multi DVD burner, analogue and digital TV tuners and an Intel Core Duo dual core CPU. And at over 17lb you can even use it for weight training!"
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Notebook with Huge 20 Inch Screen Reviewed

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  • by fredistheking (464407) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489784)
    It almost gets to the windows loading screen before the battery dies.
    • It almost gets to the windows loading screen before the battery dies.
      hehehhe - so true, but everyone I know who has one of the Acer (or Asus) monster laptops falls into that (quite large) 'other' category of laptop users - those who occasionally lug a laptop between work & home & rarely (if ever) have a need to use a laptop away from AC (that outweighs the need for a cheap laptop with big hdd & screen).

      For those users, I guess this laptop will be good, but I bet it will still suffer from the 'go
    • I'd say a large, large chunk of the weight is batteries alone, balancing things out a bit

      That said, at 17lbs, it's much less the Acer Aspire as the Acer Perspire.

      Maybe they can get Sure to sponsor them.
    • by hey! (33014)
      Hardly ever a problem. Turns out you can swap the battery in from your Prius.
  • by peterdaly (123554) * <petedaly@ix.netc ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489785)
    It may have a 20.1" screen, but it's a little light on the pixel density side of things.

    "So let's start with that huge screen. With a widescreen aspect ratio, you're getting a native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050, which to be honest is pretty low considering the physical size. Considering that many 17in notebook screens have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, I can't help but find the resolution on this 20.1in display somewhat disappointing. Closer inspection gives some clue as to why the resolution is limited - quite simply, Acer has bolted one of its desktop monitors onto a notebook. Whereas most notebook screens and consequently lids are getting slimmer and slimmer, the lid on the Aspire 9800 is 30mm thick - it's therefore a safe bet that it's exactly the same panel that Acer sells in it's 20.1in desktop monitors."

    Personally I have an older Dell C800 (I or something like that) with a 15" 1600x1200 screen. I value pixels more than size, so for me it's great.

    1680x1050 is horrible resolution for 20" of screen space, but I guess if you value size more than pixels, then this is the laptop for you. I would guess that for some users, particularly gamers, raw pixel resolution may not be your highest priority. There's also the "mine's bigger than yours" aspect.

    Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long for a company to bolt a 20" desktop screen onto a laptop base.

    Oh yeah...don't forget the Holy 17 Pounds Batman! I'd be willing to bet that doesn't count the power brick. Does it come with wheels and a pull handle?

    Anyway, if I had the cash burning a hole in my pocket, I'd pass this one by.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:18PM (#15489882)
      > Anyway, if I had the cash burning a hole in my pocket, I'd pass this one by.

      And soon after the cash did, the laptop would as well.
    • by VorpalRodent (964940) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:21PM (#15489907)
      Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long for a company to bolt a 20" desktop screen onto a laptop base.

      I did that long ago. The problem was that the CRT made the laptop a bit top heavy.

    • 1680x1050 is horrible resolution for 20" of screen space, but I guess if you value size more than pixels, then this is the laptop for you. I would guess that for some users, particularly gamers, raw pixel resolution may not be your highest priority.

      Indeed. It isn't size that matters - its what you do with it that counts.
    • by milgr (726027)
      My first computer was one of the original Compaq "portable computers". If I remember correctly, it weighed about 34 lbs. That was before the day of laptops. I probably moved it more than my current laptops. I lugged it between college and home - a trip that included commuter rail, subway, shuttle bus, airplane, express bus, another commuter train, and several long walks -- along with a clothing bag and numerous books.

      Hmm.... Maybe I was nuts.
    • 15.4" laptop screens that support 1920x1200 have been around for awhile too. I'm satisfied [gondwanaland.com] with mine.
    • My Apple 20" iMac is 1680 x 1050 and it is gorgeous. Same with the 1400 x 900 17" PB... while it is outdated now... is still gorgeous.

      More pixels on most of our modern operating systems will make you go blind reading small fonts and probably most end users use a lower resolution on-top of those amazing native resolutions to be able to read stuff(I know my mom did). Hopefully, the next round of OSs will fix this... but until then... I just think you are compensating.

      Yes, 1680 x 1050 could certainly be bett
    • 1680x1050 is horrible resolution for 20" of screen space

      ???

      That's about the same resolution as the highest-quality HDTV format, and people don't seem to mind looking at that even on a 61" TV screen.

      1680x1050 on a 20" LCD screen is a fine resolution.
    • It may have a 20.1" screen, but it's a little light on the pixel density side of things.

      People say that, but they rarely have a problem with the desktop displays. I've got a 20" Dell widescreen that runs at the same 1680x1050, and never once have I thought to myself "gee, this could be much higher resolution." It depends what you're doing, of course - you're not going to want insane-o resolution for gaming since you won't have a card fast enough to run it native. Actually, for most uses, the size is bet

    • Oh yeah...don't forget the Holy 17 Pounds Batman! I'd be willing to bet that doesn't count the power brick. Does it come with wheels and a pull handle?


      How about (if my conversions are correct) holy 19"x15" (x2"). That's ridiculous- not only will this thing not fit in most any laptop bag or backpack, it will barely fit in airline standard carry on luggage.
  • lb? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489787) Homepage Journal
    And at over 17lb you can even use it for weight training

    Thats 7.7kgs for those of us not still using British imperial measurements ;-)
    • slugs (Score:4, Interesting)

      by everphilski (877346) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:13PM (#15489829) Journal
      0.53 slugs for the engineers in the house
    • Re:lb? (Score:2, Informative)

      by BrianTung (914386)
      I think the units used in the U.S. are actually an amalgam of various pre-Imperial systems. The U.S. gallon, for instance, is not equal to the Imperial gallon; it's a pre-Imperial gallon (back before the Sith took over).
      • Re:lb? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:24PM (#15489928) Homepage Journal
        Given that, as pointed out, the units used in the US are not actually Imperial units, the question must be asked as to what exactly to call that particular unit system. Some suggestions: "Archaic", "Irregular" "Primitive", "Obsolete", or "Wrong".

        Jedidiah.
        • Re:lb? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BrianTung (914386)

          I'm sure you're not entirely serious, but "archaic" and "obsolete" are obviously incorrect, since they are in current usage in the U.S. The U.S. system cannot be wrong (except from a technical elegance point of view), and it's not primitive in any meaningful sense. That leaves "irregular," which it certainly is.

          Sorry. If it were up to me, we'd have standardized on metric a long time ago, but we're too busy legislating morality. So we'll have to get back to you on that.

    • Re:lb? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:16PM (#15489865) Homepage Journal
      I just wondered, why are pounds written as "lbs"? I found the answer here [worldwidewords.org]



      [Q] From Andrea: "Why are pounds, when used as a weight, abbreviated lbs?"

      [A] The origin is in the Latin word libra, which could mean both balance scales (hence the symbol for the astrological sign Libra, which was named after a constellation that was thought to resemble scales) and also a pound weight, for which the full expression was libra pondo, the second word being the origin of our pound.


      Who says Slashdot isn't educational???

      • Re:lb? (Score:3, Informative)

        by zenhkim (962487)
        True -- unless you're measuring weight for certain kinds of materials. This can be illustrated by a riddle that sounds an awful lot like a trick question:

        "Which weighs more -- a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?"

        The obvious answer would be "Neither!" since logically a pound of x should be exactly as heavy as a pound of y. Unfortunately, there are two different (and maddeningly incompatible) standards for measuring a pound: troy and avoirdupois.

        A troy pound is defined as weighing twelve ounces and (his
    • Thats 7.7kgs for those of us not still using British imperial measurements ;-)

      That's assuming that the weight was measured at 1G . . . If I were selling laptops, I'd list their weight on Mars. Sure you could use the Moon, but no one would believe you.

    • What's that in stone? And can we have a screen measurement in hands, please?
    • Re:lb? (Score:3, Funny)

      by vwjeff (709903)
      Thats 7.7kgs for those of us not still using British imperial measurements ;-) Or approx. $23,000,000 worth of pure Columbian cocaine.
  • by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489788) Homepage Journal
    Included with the purchase of a new unit: one year of free adustments by the chiropractor of your choice.
  • Amazing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nutmegan (971365) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489791)
    ...but can I use it as cell phone?
  • by network23 (802733) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15489793) Journal
    This massive machine has a 20.1" screen, two 120GB hard drives in a RA...

    And a battery capacity to power the unit for 4.5 seco...

    - - -

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Color MacBook?

    • [blockquote]And a battery capacity to power the unit for 4.5 seco... [/blockquote] Oh come on, you couldn't have been typing that in under 4.5 seconds on that machine because Slashdot won't let you post something under like 30 seconds. Nice try buddy, but you're not fooling anyone.
    • Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Color MacBook?
      My friends all have Acers, but I want the look.
      Worked hard all my life, don't leave me forsook.
      So, oh Lord, won't you buy me a Color MacBook.
  • by dotpavan (829804) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:11PM (#15489808) Homepage
    FTA:

    "but still has enough battery life to give you a full days work on the move."

    What does it come with? a power plant attached?

    • The author wasn't talking about this computer when he made that comment... he was talking about latops in general.
    • What they mean is a full day's productivity, which, for your slashdot addict is somewhere around 1.5 hours. No, they really don't count the 6.5 hours we spend on the web as "productive". Go figure.
    • Hey, I've worked at some crappity jobs where I only did about two hours of "actual" work per day. So this threshold is variable.
  • Half-assed effort (Score:5, Insightful)

    by word munger (550251) <dsmunger&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:12PM (#15489826) Homepage Journal
    This is such a slapdash attempt at a laptop it's pointless. There's a one-inch margin around the edge of the keyboard, yet the keyboard itself doesn't even have full-sized cursor keys. You've got a full-sized monitor, why not a full-sized keyboard? Obviously it's meant to be lugged around as a gaming machine for LAN parties and the like, but if you're going all-out, why not actually make the thing useable?
    • I'm a bit confused by the lack of bulky NiCad batteries and a highly dirt-susceptible rollerball pointing device, to complete the fifteen-years-ago form factor they were obviously struggling for.
    • Re:Half-assed effort (Score:3, Informative)

      by el_gordo101 (643167)
      I think you want something like this monster [dell.com]...
    • ergonomic (Score:3, Interesting)

      by r00t (33219)
      With that much room, they could split the keyboard down the middle and angle the halves a bit.

      Why does nobody do this? Regular keyboards make me hurt.

      It's making more and more sense now, with bigger screens and with the old 4:3 screen shape being abandoned.

      I'll take a 21.5 inch (19x10) screen please, 1920x1024 (100 dpi, .254mm pitch) or better, with a full split keyboard that has 100% of the standard keys and nothing else.
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:13PM (#15489834) Homepage

    I got a beautiful x286 laptop with a couple megs ram and a 10MB drive that weighs that much :) Anyone interested?

    http://psychicfreaks.com/ [psychicfreaks.com]
  • noteBOOK? (Score:3, Funny)

    by heson (915298) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:14PM (#15489840) Journal
    more like an encyclopedia to me.
  • New meme: People who buy SUVs and Aspire9800s are just trying to compensate for their little winkies.
  • Personally, I'd find RAID 1 a better choice. Whack it through the dm-crypt layer, plonk XFS on top, and it'd be good to go.
  • This is what is referred to in German as Eierlegende Wollmilchsau. This essentially means "egg laying sow." The reason I say this is because it is a laptop trying to be a workstation. This would be better in Apple II C form. I personally don't like anything larger than my 12" iBook (which runs Linux well). I wouldn't want anything larger than my 14" Compaq Evo laptop. There are two types of people that will buy this from Acer: (1) those that like high tech lifting weights (2) those who won't remove their la
  • by ettlz (639203) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:17PM (#15489875) Journal
    I'd at the very least expect some recesses on the top of the lid for a plate, cup and come cutlery. Disconnect the fans, it could even keep my dinner warm!
  • At least let me get some tissues before describing the box! And I'm at work, son of a #@$#$%#$
  • The average American lap is increasing is no reason for laptops to follow suit.
    • by SaDan (81097)
      If you had to lug this 17 pound SOB around, I'll be that lap starts to shrink pretty quickly!

      Maybe this is part of a hidden agenda to get tech people in better shape? I hear they sell a 4 pound USB mouse to go with this thing...
  • Quality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:19PM (#15489893) Journal
    What I've found with Acer in general is that they throw a lot of quantity (in terms fancy features) with not a lot of quality. Fragile frames, dying screens, and various other problems have been a plague to Acer machines for years. Moreover, I've seen the same type of power issues occur in their notebooks from my old 233MMX (T310 I think) notebook all the way to the last Acer machines we bought (about a year ago).

    Having a notebook with features is great, but not when you can't use the thing or have to keep sending it in for repair due to poor design. I'm not sure that this laptop would be any more or less reliable than previous models, but I'd be careful that all those great "features" don't cause one to overlook the issues of reliability.
    • Re:Quality (Score:2, Informative)

      by John Harrison (223649)
      Yet it seems that you buy Acers over and over again. Might I suggest a quality laptop such as an Apple or a Lenovo?
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kenshin (43036)
      I have to agree. A while ago I got a computer with components from Acer's A-Open brand. The motherboard was nothing but trouble, and the monitor went into spasms after about 18 months. I know someone who curently has an Acer laptop, and she says that's a piece of crap, too.

      Beware of BenQ. It's just Acer's new name for consumer electronics.
  • by HillBilly (120575) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:21PM (#15489904)
    ... can it run windows vista?
  • by parasonic (699907) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:21PM (#15489909)
    And at over 17lb you can even use it for weight training!**

    ** Applies only to those reading this Slashdot article
    • My thoughts exactly. You'd have to be pretty weak to consider 17 pounds a weight worth lifting. Anything less than 50 isn't even worth *counting*, is it?
  • Designers of 17" laptops might look at that beast and finally realise that there has been room for a numeric keypad all along...
  • stop dissing it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nblender (741424) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:26PM (#15489946)
    You're all dissing this thing because it won't fit in your front pocket or run for a week without going to a power outlet. It is what it is. It's a desktop computer that can easily be pitched in your vehicle, driven to a destination, unpacked and used within seconds. Sometimes when you're working, and need to concentrate on a particularly nasty problem or are architecting a really nasty piece of code, you just want to take your computer and go _somewhere_else_. I don't want to pack up all my monitors, keyboard, mouse, cpu, cables, etc. I want to flip the lid down and go to the library or the cabin or wherever.

    My employer bought a Dell D810 for me to use. This thing is so far from being portable it's not even funny. It's huge, heavy, a little flimsy, etc. But it's fast, has a big screen, lots of pixels, and does everything I need (except run OS X). However, when I travel, I still bring my 12" PBG4.

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      well you just kind of disproved your own point there because, as you say, you always take the smaller one with you. If people want to have a powerful computer and a portable one; get two seperate computers - a desktop and a 12" laptop. If you want to connect them then use a cross over cable.

      The only way this could be useful if for LAN parties (as you mentioned) - which are pretty rare anyway - and not enough of a reason not to buy a desktop which you can upgrade
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:27PM (#15489953) Homepage Journal
    The once-popular Osborne I was 23 pounds (over 10 kg to most of the world)
  • Mobility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:28PM (#15489957) Homepage
    Most people own laptops because they can go places with them, which for the most part means fitting them in a backpack or other bag. (weight is less of an issue, students carry loads of textbooks arround all the time on their backs, so what is a few more pounds?) However with a 20 inch screen I have problems imagining the kind of bag it would fit.
  • Is that like better than the uber-max DVD burner? Now I know why the post was anonymous.

    ALso, what is it with R&D these days? It's like they make em work straight for a month or so, then they have an office party where they get the managers drunk:

    Employee A: Lets make a 20 inch Laptop with RAID 0. And lasers.

    Manager: Yeah dude that would be amaaaazing. Can I lick your balls?
  • It's a portable server
  • so how long will it before there are lawsuits against laptop manufactors because someone hurts their back lifting a laptop?

  • That's it? (Score:3, Funny)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:48PM (#15490092)
    With something that big, you'd think it would come with a handle, and maybe some headlights and deer whistles. The sidewalks and campuses of the world are no longer safe.
  • Intel Core Duo dual core CPU

    You forgot to mention it's from Intel. Again.
  • madness... lose one drive, lose all the data
  • Way too few pixels. Laptop I'm typing this on has 1620 x 1200. Maybe the Acer is good for people who don't have 20/10 vision like I have.

    Still, I was hoping for some monster resolution like 2560x1600. I'm not interested.
  • Surely this should be the Acer Perspire 9800 instead of Aspire. After all, perspire is what you'll do after lugging this around for a while on a warm day.

    If you're essentially going to make a desktop replacement like this, at least equip it with a desktop type full stroke keyboard with cursor keys so it's not a machine with all the drawbacks of a laptop and all the drawbacks of a desktop. In the late 1980s, even the cheapo PC maker Amstrad made a portable with a 102-key full stroke keyboard rather than a co
  • Slashdotted (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enrique1218 (603187) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:09PM (#15490254) Journal
    Here is the review of Dell's 20" laptop [cnet.com] if you hungering for a review from a site that won't be easily slashdotted. With that out of the way, I notice a lot of 20" inch springing up all over the place. Is there really a demand for these behemoths? I know some people might enjoy the screen real estate for some graphical as well spreadsheet applications but 17 to 20 lb notebook? It gets any bigger and they won't let you take it on the plane. Is there someone who will shell out 2000 extra for this just for the ability to clear their desk once in a while? Buying a bigger desk is expensive these days. Also, are lan parties that popular? Oh Lord, I must be so geeky that geeks don't want to invite me to their parties! Though I have been to few parties, we generally bring beers not computers. Where is the market?
  • 17 pounds isn't a notebook, and not a laptop. It's merely a more portable computer.

    But c'mon. It weighs as much as 6 of my current laptops. Or as much as my current laptop and a 23" cinema display....

    I could add a 1TB firewire hard drive and not go too much over the weight limit. But I'd have to duct tape it all together to make it as "portable".

    Too bad port replicators are things of the past. I have one for my laptop and it means when I want to be mobile I've got something that weighs 2.75 po

  • 17 lbs... (Score:3, Funny)

    by m0nstr42 (914269) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:21PM (#15490330) Homepage Journal
    ... with the hard drive empty. Fill all of those 120 gigabytes and it weighs a full 20 lbs.
  • Note that the digital tuner that's included is for DVB, not American ATSC. I wish this had been specified.
  • This is much too large and heavy to be considered anything remotely portable. It's not. It's a desktop replacement. Considering how much it's got to cost, it had better have really damn fast response time on the LCD (16ms or better) and not have an overly-constrained CPU-to-memory bus. And the graphics chip had better be connected via something faster than PCI (like it apparently is in my HP notebook).

    If not, this thing is only worthwhile if all you're trying to do is save desk space. Otherwise, you're
  • I don't know what experience these people asking for higher resolutions are used to - I'm guessing they use CRT monitors. 1680 x 1050 is pretty standard for 20" widescreen flat panels. It isn't "light on the pixels" as some of them have been saying. Frankly, I don't know why you'd want to go for a higher resolution on a 20" - your fonts would be tiny at the "normal" settings.

    Some people just want a reason to bitch and moan about everything.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.

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