Acer Aspire 5741 review
Ever since the arrival of Intel’s Core i3 processor, budget laptops have gone from strength to strength. But although the unassuming exterior of Acer’s Aspire 5741 might look much like any of the other Intel-powered laptops on the market, it boasts one crucial difference: it costs just £391.
Reassuringly, closer inspection reveals that there hasn’t been a great deal in the way of corner-cutting. There’s the same Core i3-330M processor found in many of the laptops at this price, a 15.6in display with a 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution and a well-built chassis.
At just 2.46kg, the Acer is one of the lighter full-sized laptops on the market, so the good build quality comes as a pleasant surprise. While the textured silver lid looks a little cheap and is a touch more flexible than we’d like, the rest of the Aspire 5741 is well up to par.
The interior is both functional and smart. The fake brushed-aluminium keyboard surround looks good and, better still, it’s matched with good ergonomics. The keyboard is by no means the best – the keys feel a little too lightweight and lack travel – but it’s a solid offering.
The keyboard layout is spacious, uncluttered and comfortable to use, and has a smooth-feeling touchpad beneath. We much prefer this to the current fad of patterned, textured finishes.
The display has a tendency to leave colours looking less rich and saturated than some of the best budget screens, but it’s a dependable all-round panel. Colour reproduction is generally well judged, despite erring on the side of neutrality, and only a slight lack of brightness leaves any room for improvement.
The final feather in the Acer’s cap is its combination of power and stamina. The mere 2GB of memory alongside the Core i3-330M puts it a little behind similarly specified machines in our benchmarks, scoring 1.18 overall, but it confidently leads the field in the battery life stakes, managing 5hrs 20mins of light usage.
In short, it’s a fantastic package at a bargain price. The Aspire 5741 is the only Core i3 laptop we’ve seen break the five-hour battery life barrier, and that, combined with such solid all-round performance, makes it a simply unassailable budget buy.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||381 x 253 x 34mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-330M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55|
|SODIMM sockets free||1|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD graphics|
|Graphics card RAM||N/A|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||233GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Hitachi HTS545025B9A300|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||TSSTcorp TS-L633C|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 20min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.18|
|Office application benchmark score||0.96|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.27|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.17|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.31|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||19fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|