It seems that I have become a fan of Acer in recent times. It first began with the X223HQ monitor and then a budget Acer laptop and now the Acer Aspire 5740.
I do not wish to bore you with technical specifications but there are a few items that are noteworthy.
First of which is the processor used and I can tell you it is no slouch being that it is an Intel i5 430M - many benchmarking & review sites will tell you that it is capable of some number crunching. Compare it to the i3 processor and you have a definite tick in the punching power department.
It may seem odd that there is only 3GB RAM even though it flaunts a 64bit processor and operating system, but the true potential of RAM is dictated primarily by the way it is used. Considering that I have used the laptop on the go for light media and mostly office work, 3GB RAM is more than sufficient; in fact it could possibly be even termed as being a luxury.
300GB Hard Drive
Although the laptop is described has having 300GB hard drive space, it in actuality addresses around 285GB. The rest of the free space is utilised by a partition for storing recovery files and is hidden; you need not worry about accidentally deleting the partition or its contents. Similarly to the RAM, the amount that you require really depends on how you intend to use it.
For office files and storing a few photo albums and videos the amount of space is pretty decent. If you do need more space there is always external HD devices which can be very useful (for transferring files between laptop and desktop).
The hard drive is also responsive. Although its not as fast as lets say a 7200rpm desktop equivalent but it needn't be. It boots the OS and loads files and applications without any noticable deficit to my desktop.
15.6" HD LED LCD
The LCD screen is beautiful and has an elegant finish to it. It isn't the cheap and glossy type that most laptops seem to have lately. Personally I hate the piano-black gloss as the glare on those can be pretty bad. No glare issues with the 5740's screen though. Colours are vibrant and sharpness is good, whilst the viewing angle is equally exceptional. Furthermore the resolution at 1366x768 is technically HD whilst not full HD. I should add that text is is easy to read and perhaps more satisfying than reading on my X223HQ desktop monitor.
Not much to say about the webcam except that it is VGA. The quality is what can only be described as normal given the proper lighting when video conferencing or chatting to friends & family.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Acer have really though about comfort with this laptop; the keys are immensely spaced out! Keystrokes are rewarding and soft to the touch and typing is somewhat pleasant when compared to a PS/2 or USB keyboard. I have actually switched midway through this review from a Logitech keyboard back onto the 5740's one.
The touchpad feels responsive although the default sensitivity was a little low for my liking - I simply notched it up a little from Pointer Options. There is also a nice lock button by its side which prevents accidental movements when you are typing or resting your hand on the touchpad. Furthermore a numeric pad is also a nice touch.
Graphics & Gaming
It should be noted that this laptop isn't intended for gaming but you can run a few 3D games of yesteryears without cause for concern. Using Photoshop (or other vector packages) can be a tad on the slow side as effects can take a while to render, but I stress this isn't really intended for heavy photo or video editing.
As one would expect the laptop is equipped with charging unit and it has built in wire-tidy strap. The cable length (I haven't measured exactly) is what I can only describe is being medium in that you could probably use it plugged at a good distance from the socket.
I really like the fact that theres a HDMI slot on this laptop. However Acer also includes 2 Ethernet sockets, built in WiFi, VGA, audio slots and 4 usb slots. And a multi-media reader at the front rounds of what is a strong set of connectivity features.
Acer also includes additional software which you may or may not find useful. I found that Acer Backup Manager was essentially all that I needed but there is also Arcade Deluxe and Acer Crystal Eye (for the webcam). I suppose it supporting Dolby Home theater should be mentioned but I almost always use headsets so it really doesn't matter much to me.
THe DVD MultiDrive can also burn Dual Layer discs and is I suppose fast when it comes to playback and burning. It is also near silent so it isn't distracting like desktop counterparts.
As always it is subjective to the frequency the laptop and the applications are used. Normal operational hours were 4-6hours or average, quite decent for an i5 processor and a 6-cell Li-ion battery.
Acer installs 64bit Windows 7 Home Premium and I should add that the Windows Experience Index returns the following:
Gaming Graphics: 5.1
Primary Hard Drive: 5.5
Build Quality & Reliability
Acer have built a solid laptop here and it doesn't weigh a tonne. So far I have had no issues creep up and I do not expect any in the near future. From previous experience with Acer products this should be usable for quite a while yet.
Where to start? The Windows rating is more than accurate for this laptop. Its good at most things apart from graphics intensive applications. However it performs exceptionally when using it for office applications, surfing the web or watching videos.
It features a very rewarding set of input devices - keyboard, touchpad and webcam. Having 4 total USB slots and various other connectivity slots it covers additional devices and media. It is not too heavy and battery life is also good. There is a lot to like about this laptop.
The only thing I can say I disliked is the noise it can make when watching a video. It gets a little loud but only sporadically and for a short period of time. Nothing painful on the whole it is very quiet.
Finally please be aware there is another Acer laptop named Aspire 5740 which features an i3 processor and nearly isn't half as good as this laptop.
There really couldn't be a better Christmas present or a mobile office computer than this laptop.