"The 15.6 inch Acer Aspire 5749 focuses on the basics rather than trying to compete with more high-end laptops"
The Acer Aspire 5749 is a solid, budget-to-mid-range laptop with a practical, rather than flashy design and build.
What we like best
In a world of lithe, sultry-looking ultrabooks, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has the cash to splash out on a glossy status symbol with a great battery.
The 15.6 inch Acer Aspire 5749 focuses on the basics rather than trying to compete with more high-end laptop’s connectivity, design and performance capabilities. The design is simple: grey matte plastic on the lid and the keyboard bezel, with a rubbery, fingerprint-proof texture on the palmrest.
The conservative exterior, however, betrays a remarkably solid build. There is pleasantly little flex on the lid and keyboard surround, and the hinges feel strong without being an obstacle to quick opening and closing the laptop.
The lack of a USB 3.0 port or a Blu-ray drive might put off laptop users who insist on their notebooks having the latest technology in-built, but as a way of shaving money off the price, we could think of worse things to get rid of. There are two USB 2.0 ports and a DVD writer on the right-hand side, and another USB port, HDMI and VGA outputs and an Ethernet connector on the other.
The 750Gb hard drive is a real winner for a laptop in this price range. With its HDMI and VGA outputs, you could use the Acer Aspire 5749 as part of your entertainment system – store your downloaded films on its huge hard drive, then watch them on your television set.
The keyboard’s individual keys are raised above the chassis (as with all Acer laptops) for a “floaty” but not unpleasant feel and quick travel across all keys. The touchpad is placed to the left of the laptop’s centre and comes with a small sort of visual scroll bar. The texture is distinctive without being sticky, and the mouse keys (two areas of a single bar) have a satisfyingly solid feel when pressed.
The Sandy Bridge processor included here is the relatively cheap, dual-core i3-2330M, but that should be more than enough for the main users of this laptop. Multi-tab browsing and working with documents is a cinch, but gaming is a definite drag.
The battery life is good if not spectacular – around five hours at medium-intensive use.
What we like least
At almost 2.4Kg, the 5749 is definitely in the heavyweight category and a bit of a pain to carry around in your bag – it might require the purchase of a dedicated laptop backpack.
The Acer Aspire 5749’s screen has a standard resolution of 1366 x 768, which is perfectly adequate, but the viewing angles are poor in both the horizontal and vertical direction. The glossy screen also attracts reflections, which you can just about even out using the brightness settings, but it remains a laptop best suited to indoor use with controlled lighting.
The Acer Aspire 5749 is a very good laptop for those who don’t need the very latest features and don’t plan on using their laptops as signifiers of their excellent taste in design. It’s built very well and has a solid screen, and performance is adequate for non-media editing duties. For gaming, intensive video playback and media editing, however, you should look elsewhere.
Today's best deal
Intel Core i3 -2330M
Intel HD 3000
Hard Drive Storage
Integrated Sound System
2-in-1 Card Reader
3 x USB 2.0
1 x VGA
1 x HDMI
Weight & Size
381mm (W) x 34.7mm (H) x 253mm
Windows 7 Home Premium Edition
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