The Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn comes in at the weightier end of the budget laptop spectrum.

While it may lack some of the design finesse of the HP G61 or Toshiba’s Satellite T130, the Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn is well-built and has none of the disconcerting flexing you get with a super-slim design such as the MSI X600.

Its full-size design leaves room for plenty of ports and a DVD writer. You get four USB 2.0 connectors but nothing faster, such as eSATA. You also get a Dolby Home Theater speaker system with virtual surround sound, although these larger speakers mean the Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn's keyboard is a little too close, depriving you of a little wrist room. An off-centre multi-gesture touchpad comes with its own on/off switch.

Above the Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn's keyboard to the left are some useful special function buttons which allow you to quickly and easily turn on or off WiFi or Bluetooth connections, as well as starting a handy automated one-touch backup system for your files and settings.

To the right we find a pair of volume up/down controls and a programmable key which can be used to launch your favourite application.

Powered by a 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 330M processor, the Acer Aspire 5740 is one of the most powerful laptops in this category – although Samsung’s R530-JA03 just edges ahead in our WorldBench 6 performance test. Still, the 88 points scored by the Acer place it well ahead of the remaining competition in raw speed.

Built into the Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn's Core i3 processor is Intel’s new Graphics Media Accelerator HD graphics technology. While it can’t match the performance of the discrete ATI Radeon HD 4330 found in MSI’s X600, it’s a huge step up from the older and still more common GMA 4500M. This is a distinct advantage of the Core i3 processor over the Core 2 Duo T6600 found in the Samsung laptop, as it’s able to deliver roughly double the 3D graphics performance in our game tests.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn: Specs

  • 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 330M
  • 15.6in glossy LED-backlit, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 3GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA HD (on CPU)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theatre, headphone jack, S/PDIF, line out, mic
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • webcam, "multi-gesture" touchpad, modem
  • 46Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 13W
  • 383x250x37mm
  • 2643g
  • 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 330M
  • 15.6in glossy LED-backlit, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 3GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA HD (on CPU)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theatre, headphone jack, S/PDIF, line out, mic
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • webcam, "multi-gesture" touchpad, modem
  • 46Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 13W
  • 383x250x37mm
  • 2643g

OUR VERDICT

The Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn delivers excellent overall performance and superior 3D graphics speed. Some useful extra control buttons and a DVD burner combine with a good sound system to make a laptop great for multimedia and entertainment use. It’s rather heavy and bulky to carry around everyday although over four hours battery life is impressive considering its powerful components.

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