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Acer Aspire 5740-332G25Mn review

Barry de la Rosa
9 Mar 2010
Acer Aspire 5740-332G25Mn
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
490
inc VAT

A decent Core i3 laptop for under £500... but spend a bit more cash and you can get a much better laptop.

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Although it has the price of a budget laptop, Acer's Aspire 5740 contains some brand new technology: an Intel Core i3-330M processor. While there's some evidence of cost cutting in order to buy this processor, you won't get a quicker laptop at this price.

The 2.13GHz processor and 2GB RAM managed an overall score of 74 in our benchmarks. This is the kind of we'd normally expect from a laptop worth more than £700. The laptop uses the Core i3's integrated Intel GMA HD graphics. They're not playing games, and the 5740 failed our Call of Duty 4 test.

HD video content plays without a stutter on the Intel graphics chip, but if you want to be immersed in your films you'll need to connect to external speakers, as the built-in pair are weak and lack bass. Thankfully there's an S/PDIF port, as well as an HDMI port you can use to output both video and audio to an AV amplifier.

As well as cutting down on memory, Acer has chosen to include a 250GB hard disk, which is a bit disappointing compared to rivals that offer twice as much. The laptop lacks a few other features as well, such as Bluetooth, FireWire and an ExpressCard slot, but it does support 802.11n wireless.

he 5740 uses Acer's Gemstone design, with a distinctive textured case and glossy lid. We were a bit worried by the flimsy plastic bezel around the screen, and it's worth noting that Acer only offers a standard one year return-to-base warranty. A large cutaway section in the wrist rest forms the touchpad, which is smooth and responsive, but the large see-saw button is set flush with the case and has little travel.

There's a numeric keypad next to the keyboard, with four columns of keys and page navigation keys above. The keyboard itself is made up of flat-topped keys that have a bit of distance between them. The layout is standard and the keys are large enough, but the action is a bit spongy and there's little feedback.

There are also a few quick access buttons dotted around the chassis. There's one next to the touchpad that disables it, in case you want to attach an external mouse. Two above the numberpad control volume, while three more on the left toggle wireless and Bluetooth and launch a backup program - which is odd, considering there's no Bluetooth support. One more button can be customised to run a specific program or internet shortcut.

We were impressed by 15.6in, 1366x768 screen, which is bright and has vibrant colours and good contrast. We noticed a slight red cast to whites that adds a bit of warmth to images and enhances flesh tones. It's hard to get a decent viewing angle vertically, however, and the glossy screen makes it a nightmare to use if there are bright overhead lights.

A Core i3 laptop for under £500 may seem like a bargain, but Acer has cut a few corners and it's worth checking that it has the features you need. MSI's CR610 may not have the new Core i3 chip, but for the same price it offers a Blu-ray drive and a much better warranty. Alternatively, Dell's 1564 has more graphics power and a larger hard disk but lacks 802.11n support.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Processor clock speed2.13GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory8GB
Size37x383x250mm
Weight2.8kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7585H
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemYes
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack audio input, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9, NTI Media Maker
Optional extrasExtra battery, £100; Trend Messenger Laptop Bag £30

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£490
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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