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Acer Aspire 7740-334G50Mn review

Barry de la Rosa
24 Mar 2010
Acer Aspire 7740-334G50Mn 17.3in laptop
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

Despite the fast new Core i3 processor and large screen, the 7740 is let down by a poor keyboard and touchpad.

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Specifications

17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 3.2kg, 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Acer's 7740 has a 17.3in screen and a new Core i3 processor, and yet costs less than some 15in notebooks. It's an ideal laptop for those who work with large spreadsheets, as the wide display will let you see more data on-screen at one time, and the fast processor will help crunch through complex calculations.

Although this appears to be an amazing deal, it's worth noting the corners that Acer has cut to achieve this aggressive pricing. The most obvious thing it lacks is a dedicated graphics card: the 7740 makes do with the Core i3's integrated graphics chip, which is capable of playing back HD video content, but not much else.

It doesn't support full-screen anti-aliasing, which means that it failed our Call of Duty 4 benchmark, and even with anti-aliasing turned off and the resolution set to 1,024x768, it only scored 11.7fps. It might be able to play older games, but you'll have to turn off advanced settings and lower the resolution to get playable frame rates.

Fortunately, performance in Windows is impressive. The 2.13GHz processor and 4GB of RAM are a powerful combination, as the overall score of 75 shows. Simply put, this laptop will cope with any job you want to throw at it.

The power and size of the laptop come at the expense of battery life, and the 7740 lasted for two hours 47 minutes in our tests. This is enough for using the laptop around the home; at 3.2kg it's unlikely that you'd want to travel with this computer, anyway.

Its large screen, with a resolution of 1,600x900, and an HD-capable graphics chip should mean a big movie experience but, as usual, it's the sound that lets the 7740 down. The internal speakers are clear and have a good sense of space thanks to Dolby Home Theater, but they simply aren't loud enough and don't have enough bass - even at full volume we were unimpressed. Thankfully, you can either attach the 7740 to a home cinema system via the HDMI port, or if you just want to attach external speakers, you can use the S/PDIF digital audio port.

The 7740 uses Acer's Gemstone design, a combination of a glossy lid and a textured, dark grey keyboard panel. It's quite a minimalist design, and lacks the gaudy LED-lit control panels that you'd find on other Acer models. The screen is bright, but the backlight is uneven and there's a blue cast that makes the image feel cold and dulls reds. It's hard to adjust the screen vertically to get a good viewing angle, especially as the glossy finish on the screen reflects overhead lights,

The keyboard has flat-topped keys with enough space between them so you don't accidentally hit neighbouring keys. The action is stiff however, and with limited travel there wasn't enough feedback. At least the layout is standard, with large Enter and Shift keys on the right side. A numberpad is also included, with four columns of large keys. The touchpad is quite wide and has a large seesaw button, but this is set flush with the case and has little travel, and we found it hard to locate by touch.

While Acer has done remarkably well to bring a 17in Core i3 laptop out for only £600, we found too many niggles and compromises for us to recommend it. Dell's 1764 is more powerful and better built, while Samsung's R780 has superb build quality plus a powerful graphics card.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Processor clock speed2.13GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size45x411x274mm
Weight3.2kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GT30N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

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£600
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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