Acer Aspire 5741 £480
14th Sep 2010 | 11:40
Impressive build quality and battery life, backed by equally strong performance
Acer's Aspire range is constantly growing and covers everything from entry-level laptops to top-end multimedia machines.
The Aspire 5741-333G32Mn is a budget laptop that combines strong performance and mobility with a solid and highly usable chassis.
The Intel Core i3 330M chip is the same as used by the Packard Bell Bell EasyNote NM86 and is slightly less powerful than that of the HP G62-A45SA and Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-197, but we saw minimal difference in our benchmarking tests. There's more than enough power to comfortably multi-task with fairly demanding office software.
Portability is another strength. The 284 minute battery life is second only to the Packard Bell, and is particularly good for a budget laptop.
At 2.5kg, the chassis is a little heavier than the Packard Bell and Toshiba, but it is still light enough to carry in your bag all day.
This is a well-built laptop with a firm chassis that shows only minimal flex across the palmrests. A faux-metal finish keeps off fingerprints and is more desirable than the HP's, although the Packard Bell's chassis is slightly more solid.
This strong build quality extends to the keyboard, which uses Acer's typical flat keys raised from the chassis. It's a comfortable board to type on, with a firm action and full-sized keys. Only the Packard Bell features a similarly satisfying typing experience.
A smooth and sensitive touchpad is also in place, with an integrated scrollbar for scrolling through web pages and documents. However, it's easy to brush the pad while typing, which annoyingly jerks the cursor around on screen.
Images appear lifelike on the 15.6-inch widescreen display and brightness levels are suitable for lengthy work sessions. The glossy screen coating is highly reflective, however.
The widescreen aspect ratio is perfect for working on multiple documents side by side or watching movies.
HDMI and VGA ports are available for connecting external displays, while three USB ports can be used to attach peripherals.
The 320GB hard drive provides ample storage, although larger media files could fill it quickly. Networking is also strong, with the fastest wireless and wired connectivity currently available.
The Aspire 5741-333G32Mn is a successful budget entry in Acer's portfolio. Performance is assured by the Intel Core i3 processor and the strong build makes for a robust and highly usable laptop.
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