We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Acer Aspire 5740 review

£535.01 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Acer

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Acer Aspire 5740 parks itself next to most midrange laptops. It feels fast enough for all common productivity applications; carries a big, 15.6-inch screen; and has nearly all the inputs and outputs you could want.

The Acer Aspire 5740 parks itself next to most midrange laptops. It feels fast enough for all common productivity applications; carries a big, 15.6-inch screen; and has nearly all the inputs and outputs you could want.

But it never reaches beyond that middle ground. The Acer Aspire 5740's big screen makes it a good portable movie player, but without a dedicated graphics processor or 1080p resolution, it balks at gaming and high-end media. If you can get by with only adequate video performance - and matching audio, trackpad, and battery performance for that matter - the Aspire achieves its midrange aspirations: it's not too slow and not too fast. Many will want more, but for some, it will be just right. And at a price around £599, it won't break the bank.

This laptop's case design manages to include a full keyboard - including a number pad - and a 1366-by-768-pixel, 15.6-inch screen without feeling bloated. At 2.8kg, it's as comfortable on a lap as on a desk. We're used to bigger-screen laptops elbowing into everything nearby, but the Acer Aspire 5740 system was surprisingly svelte.

The Acer Aspire 5740's basic performance earned it solid scores for its price level. It earned an overall score of 101 in our WorldBench 6 test suite, putting it on an even footing with many costlier systems. The 2.27GHz Core i5-430m processor and 4GB of RAM provide that speed. A 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium comes preinstalled. In real-world use, we easily rifled through dozens of Firefox windows, worked with Office and other productivity applications, and otherwise used the system for typical multitasking.

Gamers, however, should consider another system. At low resolutions (and expectations), we wrung out just enough speed to play Left 4 Dead 2, but nearly every other recent game was too demanding; as noted, this Acer Aspire 5740 lacks a dedicated graphics processor. At least you can fill dull moments in the college dorm or between business meetings with casual, untaxing games.

The keyboard felt tight and responsive, but the trackpad is one of the Acer Aspire 5740 laptop's biggest flaws. We could never get comfortable mousing around, with fingers regularly drifting off the pad, since we couldn't feel a distinct border at its edge. We also slipped past the scrolling strip, but the raised, plastic divider helped keep us oriented.

The mouse button is also weak, with a single plastic rectangle mounted on a seesaw left- and right-click switch; it takes much more pressure to click near the middle than at the edges. And you can't click on the centre inch at all. We'd prefer two different buttons or a mechanism without that flaw.

Instead of including a bunch of dedicated media buttons - which are ugly and underused, anyway - Acer lets an F-key modifier pause and otherwise control media applications. The Acer Aspire 5740 has one dedicated launch button that you can configure to open an application. An instant-backup button automatically runs the included backup utility, but you'll probably want to have that on an automatic schedule. A few other thoughtful buttons, including volume controls, complete the extra keys.

Audio and video quality matches this Acer Aspire 5740's price level. We could clearly read text and watch bold-looking movies through the slightly glossy screen. The speakers retain about the same quality at all volumes, lacking distortion when you crank them up. But the audio is midtone-heavy; we could hear only a little bass and treble. The laptop plays only a narrow range of sound.

The Acer Aspire 5740 also includes nearly every port you could want. Peripherals are covered with four USB 2.0 ports and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. It includes microphone and line-in audio inputs plus a combination headphone/SPDIF audio output. Networking is handled through gigabit ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a modem (if you find yourself lost in 1996). You can connect to an external display - or a TV - through VGA or HDMI. A DVD burner masters discs anywhere. There's even a memory card slot that'll take the various flavors of SD, Memory Stick, and xD. But you might feel slighted when connecting an external disk; there's no eSATA.

A 2-megapixel Webcam captures clear stills and videos when there's enough light. A built-in microphone fills in the audio. But we mostly ignored the few software extras, including a media player; there's nothing valuable enough to sway your laptop purchase in either direction. The battery life was somewhat short of our demands: We benchmarked it at 3 hours, 18 minutes. After coasting through a movie on a cross-country flight, you'll have little time left to take care of any work.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Acer Aspire 5740 Expert Verdict »


Acer Aspire 5740G-434G50Mn reviews verified by Reevoo

Acer Aspire 5740G-434G50MnScores 8.7 out of 10 based on 7 reviews
Intel Core i5 430M 2.26GHz (1066 MHz FSB)
15.6in HD Acer CineCrystal LED LCD
UMA (Unified Memory Architecture) graphics
4GB RAM
320GB (5400rpm) HDD
Super-Multi DL DVD drive
Multi-in-1 card reade
Acer Nplify 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
6-cell Li-ion battery
Acer Crystal Eye HD webcam
4x USB Slots
Acer fingerprint reader
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
2.8kg
383x250x26/37mm
HDMI port with HDCP support
external display (VGA) port
Headphone/speaker/line-out jack with S/PDIF support
Microphone-in jack/Line-in jack
Ethernet (RJ-45) port
DC-in jack for AC adaptor
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

All together, the Acer Aspire 5740 turns in sufficient scores and performance for a midrange audience. It easily multitasks across general Office, email, and web applications. And it matches the lightweight needs of its target audience. But it never pleasantly surprises or supplies compelling extras. Its video, audio, and battery performance are only adequate for a forgiving audience. Budget shoppers might get just what they need, but we think this laptop aims for a narrow market. At least it hits its target.

  • Acer Aspire 5740G review

    Acer Aspire 5740G

    The Acer Aspire 5740G laptop offers very good performance, but substandard audio and a lack of Bluetooth may limit its appeal.

  • Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn review

    Acer Aspire 5740-333G32Mn

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

  • Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T review

    Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T

    The new Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T is a 14-inch slim, lightweight mainstream laptop based on Intel's "Arrandale" Core i3-330M processor. It packs the performance of a mainstream laptop in a thin, compact form factor, and also gives better-than-average battery life - ideal for a 14-inch laptop for people on the go.

  • Acer Aspire 5745G review

    Acer Aspire 5745G

    The Acer Aspire 5745G is a 15-inch mainstream laptop for home use. The Aspire 5745G has an Intel Core i5-430M processor and switchable nVidia GeForce GT 330M graphics.

  • Acer Aspire One D255 review

    Acer Aspire One D255

    The Acer Aspire One D255 is a 10-inch netbook from Acer's Aspire One range. It comes with Android 1.6 dual-booting with Windows 7 Starter Edition.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Hands-on with Sony's latest smartglasses

IDG UK Sites

The 13 most inspirational Tim Cook quotes