Thursday, March 20, 2008

Acer launches six-speaker laptops

Acer said that it now aims to take laptop users as close as they can get to the high-definition home theatre experience.

The top model of the new "Gemstone blue" line of laptops has a screen with the same resolution as a top-of-the-line HDTV, at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and will have six speakers, including a subwoofer, for so-called 5.1 surround sound.

The computer will go sale next month in the United States. A model with three speakers and a smaller screen(but still HD resolution) will also be available. Both will have built-in Blu-ray disc drives.

The computer industry has long had its set of standard screen resolutions, while the consumer electronics industry has standardised on different ones. Acer's blue line effectively adopts the consumer-electronics standard, which means that many movies and all HD TV shows will fill the screen, without black bars.

Acer said the laptops would be the first with 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screens, and the top model is the first laptop with six speakers.

The high-end model has an 18.4in screen, placing it in the "desktop replacement" category of heavy laptops that aren't meant for more than occasional travel.

Even with six speakers, the laptop isn't capable of true surroud sound, since that requires speakers on either side of the listener at ear level.

Some current laptops use two speakers to simulate the envelopming experience of surround sound.

Acer's laptop will do the same, but the simulation is better with six speakers than with two, said Acer senior vice-president Jim Wong.

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