I have the 1710 model SMI. I've had a few reliability problems and I'm going to be upgraded (for free) to the 171x model when they have some in stock. They're virtually the same machine except a different graphics card so I thought I'd write my impressions after having it for 2 months.
It's a fast laptop 3.06GHz/1GB RAM, 128MB GeForce 5600 (it's the older model).
The first thing that hits you is the size of the screen. It's large, clear, has strong colours, very very bright, and I've not detected any ghosting when playing games. One of the big selling points for me was the 100% pixel guarantee.
As previously mentioned, the fan does blow out the right hand side at the rear end of the laptop - straight onto the mouse. It can get hot but you adapt and use the mouse at the front end of the laptop.
One of the downsides is that it's not a laptop but a desktop replacement. The air intake is conveniently located on the bottom of the laptop and your right leg stops the flow of air into the system. When this happens, the laptop (and your leg) can get really hot. It's ok doing word processing etc but you can't play games on your lap.
The 120GB HDD is fast but it is fairly noisy when it's going. The cooling fan's are noisy but not as noisy as my desktop.
The touchpad is easy to use and the 4 way button used for scrolling is pretty handy to. It doesn't take long to get used to the small right shift key but you need to use the 'Fn' button if you want to use 'Home' and 'End' buttons which is pretty annoying if you want to do document processing.
The speakers are good for playing dvds and games but sound tinny when you play music. The sound is plays beautifully out of my Altec Lansing speakers but there's no rear speaker jack on the laptop. You could always get a USB external soundcard if you want to do that.
There are laptop bags which can fit the Acer in - it's huge - but it does require some strategic packing to get all the bits (Laptop, power adapter, CD's etc) in. It's easy to pack up and cart around but if you plan on walking long distances, be prepared to have a sore shoulder - it does weigh a tonne.
I've had a few problems (remember it is the older model with the 128MB GeForce Go FX5600) with the EA games - C&C Generals, Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam. The video on C&C Generals is a bit jerky and both Battlefield games are unplayable. Apparently EA games don't test on the Go graphics cards. Hopefully the 5700 model will fix these problems - can anyone confirm this? Need for Speed Underground (also EA) runs like a dream. Every other game I have runs beautifully.
I do recommend this laptop to anyone who's interested in a high powered laptop for games, development etc.