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Before I got an actual laptop, I got one of these net books a couple years before. Overall, the quality of this net book depends on exactly what you're using it for. Using it for low vacation use is absolutely perfect as it is extremely small and not a burden to carry around at all. It is also great to take to class to take notes on. If you are looking to use it for anything beyond what has been stated, then I'd highly recommend looking into something else. Downloading and browsing the web will get quite annoying over time if you're doing it a lot. The net book its self also gets very very hot over time. It is very noisy if you are playing a PC game or watching a DVD or listening to a CD on it. Because of these things I only use it for travel.
My partner and I bought this Laptop from one of the big chains like curry's or comet on the recommendation of one of the technical support staff. He recommended this laptop over the other ones in our price range as he said that he never has these returned to be repaired. After taking his advice and specifying that we needed the laptop solely for internet browsing and store all our music on itunes we bought this one in the stylish red colour.
It has served its purpose very well, we have a lot of music on there and it hasn't slowed it down at all. The keyboard and mouse layout is very easy and comfortable to use and the display a nice size to work with.
The only drawback is that about 9 months after buying the laptop one of the letter keys started to stick, and I tried to take the key off and see if there was anything underneath. It turned out there wasn't but where the key had been stubborn I had snapped something that held it together and now the key doesn't fit back. I can still use my 'o' but I may have to return back to that technical support guy, prove him wrong and get him to fix the letter back on.
Overall it's a very good laptop, it does everything I bought it for and I love the red colour, however don't be as heavy handed as me if you need to remove one of the keys.
I bought this laptop for £449.99, reduced from £549.99, from PC World in May of 2011 and I was immediately impressed. Firstly the price for a laptop of this spec was better than any other laptop around at the time. The most important specs of this laptop are:
- Intel Core i5-450M which is an upgrade from the Intel Core i3 which is what was originally in the 5742, although having used both, there is little difference.
-Windows 7 Home Premium
-4GB DDR3 RAM
-500GB Hard Drive
-15.6" HD LED LCD screen
-6-cell Li-ion Battery
-HDMI and VGA output
I use this as a general home laptop, I watch films, listen to music, surf the internet and do a bit of work on it such as word processing (using Microsoft Office). For these things, it is ideal. The 500GB hard drive allows for plenty of files to be saved, my iTunes has 40GB of music on it at the moment and I have about 40GB worth of films and I've still got plenty of space left. Although I don't tend to keep pictures, the screen is very nice to browse through the phew that I do have so if that is what you like to do, this laptop is still great for you.
The Intel Core i5 is a 2.4GHz Dual Core processor which is very high spec, well at least for when I bought it. They have now introduced the second generation of Intel Core i3/5/7 processors however. The processor is very capable and allows me to do the day to day stuff with ease and without any lags. I did have Adobe Photoshop CS5 installed which ran okay but not brilliantly a a program with of that quality tends to need a bit more juice.
The 4GB of RAM installed is really useful and if you want to you can easily upgrade it as it as two slots so you could put 2x4GB sticks in if you are into upgrading hardware. The 4GB allows me to run loads of programs at the same time with no noticeable change in speed as well as have multiple web pages open. With the processor and the RAM combines, it is a pretty quick computer.
Another feature I really like about this is the HDMI port which I use to plug the laptop into my TV to watch films. There is no loss in quality and the HDMI plays the sound through the TV whereas, VGA does not so if you are looking a laptop with just a VGA output, be aware that it won't play audio through the TV...just in case you didn't know. The need to play the audio through the TV comes from the generally rubbish speakers installed in the laptop. They are only Mono speakers compared to the much more common and higher quality Stereo speakers which you would expect in a laptop of this day an age. Playing music on these speakers alone is not enjoyable and it was the one thing that almost put me off buying the laptop. However I just plug them into my set of Altec Lansing 5.1 speakers and the sound is great so I am not too bother by it. However if you want a laptop with decent speakers, this probably isn't the one for you.
Another minor moan is the battery life which on average is two to three hours if I'm doing some work, surfing the net or listening to some music. If I try and watch film, it the battery tends to drain quite quickly which can get annoying but if fully charged, I can just about watch a short-medium length film.
Another slight moan is the lack of USB ports with only 3 but to be fair they are easily accessible compared to my old laptop which had them on the back, what a pain! I find that typing on this keyboard is very easy also as the keys are evenly spaced and I am so used to typing on a light touch keyboard. Another advantage of the keyboard is the number pad on the right which lots of laptops do not have. The track pad is also great as it doesn't randomly jump when typing and you can scroll with it and when using Firefox you can go back/forward pages by dragging two fingers across the pad, similarly with the Macbook. The clicker is a nice click if you know what I mean? although, it does look a bit worn after 9 months of use, but unlike other Acer models it hasn't stop working, which is a problem they have had in the past. Another high point is the wireless adapter (internal) which I have never had any problems with, connects very easily.
The general design of this laptop is great, comes is red and black, and maybe blue (but that might be the 5742Z...not too sure!). I have the black and it looks nice and sleek! The screen folds down really nicely, and holds down without any clips. It also doesn't rock when typing which is a nice change! The front of the laptop and the keyboard area has some from of texture which adds to how aesthetically pleasing it is.
Some of you might be wondering what this laptop is like for gaming and I can tell you it isn't great. It can less demanding games perfectly well such as GTA San Andreas and Angry Birds, the only two I have tried but it can't do the proper gaming, I tried Crysis 2 and it was just impossible to do anything as it was so laggy.
Overall, this is a great laptop for the home user and can cater for a wide variety of needs, minus gaming! I would definitely recommend it especially to someone who is looking for a well price laptop with a large number of features. I hope this review has been helpful, I have been as detailed as possible and as honest as possible.
I do believe all brands in the world of laptops should aspire to ( pun intended ) acchieve the quality that this Acer Aspire gives to its users! This is without question one of the better laptops I have owned ever, and I have owned a total of 8 laptops in my time. This was a laptop that I was given as part of my job, and I have used it primarily as a laptop to write on, but have also found it to be brilliant when wanting to listen to music, watch videos, surf the internet and so forth... One of the best aspects of this computer, at least for me, is its very good keyboard, making writing several hours each day no trouble, as the keyboard responds very well to my fingers and is very easy to write on. Also, I was pleased to find that the battery life of this Aspire is very good, 4-5 hours when used frequently. This is a laptop that can be used for entertainment as well as work, and if you`re looking for a laptop that allows you to watch dvd`s and listen to music in very good quality, I`d choose this one! Compared to say a Macbook, this Aspire perhaps isn`t the very best laptop on the market, but in light of it costing about 400.99, I am very content with its quality and features.
The set up is easy, the quality overall very good and the cost is reasonable, making this Acer Aspire a laptop that suits several groups of users, from those needing a laptop first and foremost for writing and work, to those wanting a laptop for watching movies, playing computer games and other sorts of entertainment. All though it`s not my line of expertise, I`m also very pleased with the quality of audio and screen, the screen gives off very clear and colorful pictures and the sound is lovely for when I want to listen to music while working.
This Aspire laptop makes me consider also choosing Acer in the future, as it`s a brand I now have come to enjoy a lot!
When my old laptop was on its last legs with exhaustion, I was faced with the choice of either keeping going with it, trying to clean it and make do with its continual problems, or get a new one. The latter wasn't a fun choice because I didn't foresee the expenditure, but it was well worth the investment; the Acer 5742 is perhaps a more underrated contender in the sub £500 category.
The first thing I noticed when searching for a laptop was the huge range of choice, and the small variations between even the same brands of laptops that all look the same. It got very confusing, choosing between specs and brands and appearances. I wanted something with a good capacity, something under £450, that was able to keep up with my usage because I'm on it a lot. Although I wasn't too familiar with Acer, having never used one before, I hadn't heard too much either way in terms of reviews for the brand. I found that, as with all laptops and brand name associations, opinions were divided. It felt like guess work by the end of it, but when comparing the spec of this laptop to, for instance, a Dell, you seem to get far more for your money whilst it also seems to be reliable and efficient.
I bought this from Tesco Direct on sale at £399.99, which was reduced from £549. After much searching and price comparison, this looked like a good deal, especially when considering the processor and capacity of the hard drive and memory.
In terms of the specifics, this laptop looks pretty impressive for its price range. The main important features include:
* An Intel Core i3-370m processor (which is one of the newer Sandybridge ones, since improved upon by the i5, though I'm not entirely sure of the difference or if it's really noticeable)
* Windows 7 Home Premium
* A 15.6" HD LED LCD screen
* 6 cell Li-ion battery, which is fairly standard (providing up to 3.5hrs life)
* 4 GB Memory (DDR3)
* Decently sized keyboard with number pad to the right, along with the usual touchpad underneath
* Shared HD Graphics (which could be better, but for the average user, or advanced but without gaming really, it's probably never going to be noticeable)
* A huge 750GB hard drive for storage capacity
* And of course the things you pretty much come to expect, such as an integrated webcam, WiFi (802.11n), DVD re-writer, USB ports (x3), HDMI output ( so you can connect, for example, to your TV screen)
Upon opening this, the first thing I noticed was its outer appearance. I'm not usually over the top fussy about appearances, but I figured that as I was spending money replacing something that I didn't expect to have to just yet that, given the choice, I'd opt for something pretty and a little different. The 5742 came in black or red, so I thought I'd be a little daring and go for red. What I didn't realise from the photo was that it wasn't a shiny or glossy texture; the surface of the lid is patterned and the red looks more of a burnt auburn, though it varies in the light. I'm only pointing this out because it wasn't what I had expected, so I was a little disappointed at first. None the less, having used it for a few months now I've come to really like it; it doesn't stand out as being tacky or plastic-y in a way that a shiny laptop might possibly do, so it's neat yet still a little different to the average silver or black options. For the green conscious, though, the material is apparently environmentally sustainable, which is always a plus.
Okay, so that's the shallow stuff out of the way. How easily does this set up? I was pleasantly surprised because it really is self-explanatory and quite a pre-prepared installation system that gets going after a few okays by the owner. I was right in thinking that there wouldn't be any problems with the set up but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick the process was, so it wasn't long before I could get things configured the way I wanted them.
I have a broadband connection at home and remember a few issues with setting it up on my last laptop because it didn't want to recognise it. Fortunately, there was no problemo setting up my home Wi-Fi connection; it was almost automatic, smooth and very easy. Same goes for other wi-fi connections when I've taken my laptop elsewhere, so I'm happy with that.
Platform usability is personal preference, but I'm not really a big fan of Windows 7. I can't even put my finger on why exactly, but it doesn't seem as user-friendly to me in a few ways. None the less, having an up-to-date OS is good and thus far I've had no problems with it or any software that I've used with my computer that's Windows XP+ compatible.
As with most if not all new laptops this comes with some trial software. For instance, you get McAfee® Internet Security Suite Trial, which will keep you protected until you download something to replace it or upgrade to the paid version. I opted to get rid of McAfee and download some free software and it's all working smoothly without problem. You also get some games, IE 9, some Windows stuff (like Media Player), along with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter. The latter isn't actually a trial version per se, but a very basic and limited version of Office, to include Word and Excel (ie. Expect to have a sidebar for advertisements in Word). You can always upgrade this, or choose a free software package to install, but I liked it because just having this may be enough for some users, at least to get you started for a while without worrying you'll reach 30 days and be left with nothing to write a document!
This laptop weights 26kg, and measures 3.4cm in height, 25.3cm depth and 38.1cm in width. It's slightly wider perhaps than my last laptop, though only by a fraction, because of the number keypad at the side, but I see that as a bonus. It's actually quite thin when closed, again, compared to my last laptop. I wouldn't say this is a replacement for an ultra-portable netbook, but it's a nicer laptop to be carrying around than some hunks of weight that I've seen. It still feels durable and hardwearing, and has a sense of being solid when you pick it up.
The one niggle I have about its overall 'durability' factor is that you need to be careful when picking it up at the sides; the DVD tray is on the right and the flap (for lack of a better word) seems quite delicate, and on more than one occasion I panicked that I'd picked it up too heavy handed and would crush it inwards. No damage just yet though, and I know it can't really be helped because that's the way you need a DVD drive really, but I didn't notice it with my last laptop so I thought I'd mention it.
I'm guilty of often storing quite a lot of junk on my laptop in terms of music, films and old documents. The amount of CDs I'd put on here, DVDs from iTunes etc had filled up most of my old laptop, which is why I looked specifically for an upgrade in storage space. The 750GB HDD the Acer has is pretty big and a challenge for even frequent downloaders and storers to fill. I've been quite impressed by this, again given the price, so that gets a big thumbs up from me. Having plenty of space, and a 4GB memory, also means it is running smoothly and not getting clogged up and tired.
As for ease of use in practical terms, most keyboards probably take a little while to get used to, and this was no different because it takes time to adjust from something you've gotten used to. I can touch type and type fairly quickly, but my first few goes on the Acer were very slow! I found the keys quite spaced out and thus more difficult to find. But, thanks to muscle memory, you do pick it up easily enough and I now find it just as easy to use. Perhaps even more so; the keys take pressure to use but just the right amount, you have all the keys you'd expect to find with no strange ones added in for effect or any taken out to fool you, and I like having the option of the number pad to the right. Doesn't really matter if you don't use it because you hardly notice it's there, it's just good to have the alternative when using numbers (or playing a game, for instance). The general resting position of my wrists/hands on the keyboard is comfortable, and there's no strange lip at the edge to make the position difficult (unlike some Dell laptops I tried). The touchpad is a little strange to what I got used to; it's not entirely smooth but it's not too rough, neither is it over-sensitive. I actually prefer it, again over the Dell ones I tried. It responds well with the right amount of pressure.
The battery life is estimated at 3.5hrs max, which is average for some laptops (and more than others, despite their higher price tags). Obviously this varies depending on what you're using at the time and how old the laptop gets, but so far I can get about 3 hours out of it when using IE windows, some Media Player for music and some Word docs. Again, it varies, but I'm happy enough with it as it most definitely could be worse!
As for the overall running of the machine, I've not really had anything to complain about as of yet. Yes, there have been one or two freezes of IE, but I was quite impressed by its own ability to quickly rectify this and refresh just the window affected. I'm not really a gamer on my laptop, but I do have one installed from a CD, and I've not noticed any change in performance still installing. Working in a word document, whilst downloading on iTunes, listening to music on Media Player, and with 10 IE windows open, all at the same time, seems to work almost effortlessly, attributable to the capacities of this little sub-£500 laptop.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this. There's so much to choose from at the moment and it does depend on what you're looking for, how much you want to spend and what you want to get out of it, but this is a good all-rounder. I personally am very impressed and very pleased with choosing this one, and hopefully that opinion won't change for a while!
Can be purchased for £399 (Tesco Direct)