Like previous Acer Aspire laptops–the 5542G, 5738, 5738G, and 5738DG–the Aspire 5740 continues to cloak itself in a dull monotone. Its screen lid comprises of glossy blue, and rest of the unit is bathed in drab gray. Not the best looking laptop out there, the Aspire 5740’s design is functional. The Aspire 5740’s 16-inch form factor is quite heavy at 2.8-kg with a six-cell battery pack, but is nicely built. It has a slider-lock to fasten the screen to the rest of the chassis when the laptop’s folded and tucked inside a bag. Port placement is also well thought out on the Acer Aspire 5740.
The Acer Aspire 5740 comes with a 15.6-inch glossy LED-backlit screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It has good horizontal viewing angles, and displays both text and multimedia content pretty well. There’s a 2-megapixel webcam recessed on to its top screen bezel, and it’s good for occasional video chats.
One of the most noteworthy feature of the Acer Aspire 5740 is its full-sized keyboard with a dedicated number pad on the right – not many 15-inch laptops can boast of this. The keyboard sports isolated keys that are well laid out and good to type on, no problems at all. The Aspire 5740’s touchpad is nice and big, with multi-gesture support which works well.
The mouse button strip doesn’t have separate left and right buttons, and this can take a little time getting used to. There’s a nifty button next to the touchpad to turn it off–very convenient for those bursts of undisturbed typing. Just above the keyboard, there are quick-launch keys to turn on Bluetooth or Acer’s backup manager. There’s also one dedicated button on the right which can be used to launch any frequently used program.
The Acer Aspire 5740 comes with the new Intel Core i3-330M 2.13GHz processor. Complementing the processor is 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and the new Intel GMA HD video adapter–significantly better than the previous GMA X4500. Apart from four USB ports, DVD writer, multicard reader, VGA and audio ports, the Acer Aspire 5740 also integrates Gigabit ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s also an HDMI-out port on the Aspire 5740 in order to hook it to an LCD TV or projector to play HD content directly off it.
To fully utilise the accompanying 4GB of RAM, Acer bundles in 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium operating system on the Aspire 5740. It omits a few desirable extras, but the Acer Aspire 5740 has pretty much all bases covered in terms of features for a fully-functional laptop.
The Acer Aspire 5740 sailed through our string of synthetic benchmarks. It scored 88 on WorldBench 6, and PC Mark 05, 3D Mark 06, and PC Mark Vantage numbers are also pretty good. It feels fast enough for all the common productivity applications, browsing the Web, listening to music and watching DVD movies – it multitasks well. A noteworthy performance boost is in the Aspire 5740’s onboard graphics department – a 3D Mark 06 score of 1752 compared to 877 on the Aspire 5738, for example. This means the Aspire 5740 can handle both 720p and 1080p HD files smoothly, without any stutter. Audio from the onboard speakers was good, not great. We still won’t recommend gaming on the Acer Aspire 5740, since it doesn’t have a discrete graphics card–and it isn’t a gaming machine (for that, consider buying the Acer Aspire 5740G which comes with ATI Radeon HD 5650 dedicated graphics card).
Battery performance remains a concern on the Acer Aspire 5740, though. It logged 1 hour 4 minutes in our synthetic benchmark, at full-screen brightness and high-performance battery preset. It gave a little over 2 hours 15 minutes while browsing the Web over Wi-Fi on a conservative battery plan – just about okay. However, this shouldn’t matter a lot if you aren’t going to use the Aspire 5740 while on the go.
The Acer Aspire 5740 sells for US$800 and highly recommended for a budget conscious buyer interested in having a fully-functional laptop for the home. Its performance and feature set is pretty solid for its asking price, and overall offers excellent value for money. The Acer Aspire 5740’s definitely one of the best laptops at its price point.
The Acer Aspire 5740, a 15.6-inch laptop, signals the company’s first offering based on Intel’s “Arrandale” Core i3 32nm processor. The Aspire 5740’s noteworthy features include good build quality, a full-sized keyboard, and improved onboard graphics performance–in a package that’s attractively priced.