In Review – The Acer 5742G

I’ll admit, I’ve been out of the gaming world for a while, so when I was asked by a friend to review the Acer 5742G, I was a little hesitant to take on the job. Plus, we review only netbooks here, and so this had to be an exception. After a few hours of research and a few hundred product reviews from around the web, I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what this particular Acer can and can’t do. In short, for the price, it’s a damn good laptop that would be worthy to sit on any computer user’s desk. However, there are a few small considerations to take into account before you immediately take the plunge to buy one for yourself, for gaming or otherwise.

The Basics

For those not looking for a technical mumbo-jumbo spiel about what this Acer can and can’t do, this is your section. For those interested in the technical side of things, I suggest you skip to the next section to find out what’s ticking on the inside.

The outside of this computer is nice and sleek, with a mesh black finish that not only keeps finger prints off, it looks good sitting on the desk. The processor inside, Intel’s newest “i3” line, is more than enough to handle all of your daily computing requirements. The graphics card within is also nice and powerful and can play HD video back on a 15.6” high definition display with easy. The 640-gigabyte hard drive has plenty of space for storing movies and music, meaning you won’t have to choose between family photos and your DVD collection. There’s an HDMI port to help connect the laptop to bigger displays so that you can turn your laptop into a business or entertainment center with ease. And while it isn’t super light (5.7 pounds), it’s not too clunky that you would ever consider leaving it at home while you go into the office for the day.

Specifications

  • 15.6” High Definition 720P (1366x 768) Display
  • Dual Core Intel i-3 processor operating at 2.53GHz
  • 640GB SATA hard drive
  • Wireless-N Wifi Adapter
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
  • 1.3 Megapixel HD Webcam
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM – 1066MHz (Upgradeable to 8GB)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 1GB DDR3 Video card

What does all of that mean exactly?

The Processor

Well, the Intel i-3 proccessor is going to allow you to not hinder your work flow by deciding between which programs you should have open and which ones have to stay closed until it’s time to use them. It also aids in the HD playback, which is stutter-free.

The Screen/Video

The native 720P resolution seems a little low considering 1080P resolution is pretty standard among desktop displays these days, but since the screen is so small, I understand why they went with that option. Some users I came across complained of dead pixels out of the box. Acer has been known to have some issues through the years with their displays not always being the highest quality. But considering the fact that you get a one year warranty with the machine out of the box, it’s not too much hassle to send it back if you’re one of the unlucky ones that gets some dead pixilation on the HD monitor.

The 1GB video card is fast. It handles the 720P video playback without any hitches and can even operate well in the gaming world. From user experience, it seems as though most modern games (think Crysis 2) can be run anywhere between medium to high settings without a problem. Unfortunately, there’s a little issue with overheating. While the computer can run at high temperatures, it’s not always a good idea. If you’re going to be gaming intensely, a cooling pad for the computer wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Connectivity

I’ve never been a big fan of using connectivity ports as an advertising point, as they should in my opinion come standard without having to shop around for them. Luckily, the 5742G comes with plenty of ports for all of your external devices. Sporting 3 USB 2.0 ports, if you’re going to leave this computer at home, you’ll be able to leave your external HD, printer, and other devices hooked up all the time without any clutter.

There’s an HDMI out that will let you hook the Acer up to external displays such as projectors or HDTVs you have in your home for movie night or for presentations at the office.

And lastly, there’s a gigabit Ethernet port. Just a year ago gigabit was getting introduced slowly into laptops. Now, it seems pretty much standard practice. The gigabit Ethernet port will allow for fast direct connection to the internet if your modem or router will allow it.

Multi-Gesture

The touch pad on this laptop is pretty cool. These multi-gesture touch pads have been on the market for a while; appearing in Apple computers for a few years. The multi gesture functionality of the Acer’s touchpad lets you zoom in and out of photos or documents with the slide of a finger, as well as scroll through long lists of files or photos that would otherwise take forever with a traditional mouse. While I wouldn’t consider this a huge selling point, it’s definitely a cool feature to have if you’re looking to get the most out of your laptop.

Final Verdict

Here’s where I get to pass the final judgment on whether or not the laptop is worth the cash.

In most cases, this laptop can be had for less than $700, a very fair price to pay for a laptop with capabilities like this. The HD video playback is fantastic and a must if you’re a movie junkie like I am. And from what can be gathered from other user reports, the Acer works damn well as a gaming machine as well despite its “office” looking exterior.

The screen could be a little small for those used to a lot of screen real estate on their desktops, so that could be a potential drawback for those looking to replace their desktop computer with a new laptop. Also, the battery life isn’t anything to write home about. Coming in at just under 3 hours, it can be predicted that within a few months of regular use, you’ll be down to 2 or so hours before the battery is completely dead.

I’m not going to try and tout the computer as a gift from the gods that somehow miraculously came in at the price point it did, but if you’re in the market for a new computer and don’t have much money to spend, it’s a great deal to consider with a powerful i-3 processor and 1GB gaming graphics card under the hood.

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