An entertainment laptop that's excellent for gaming
Editor's note: There are several Acer models with the same basic components but with different specifications. This review refers to the Acer Aspire 5471G with ATI graphics and 4GB memory (model LX.PSZ02.151) available at acerdirect.co.uk for £589
The Acer Aspire 5741 is a powerful laptop for anyone interested in entertainment.
It has one of the latest Intel Core i3 processors, 4GB of memory and a 15.4in screen, a specification well suited to most computing tasks, including playing high-definition video. It also runs games significantly better than most other portable computers we’ve seen.
The reason is the ATI Radeon HD 5470 graphics card with 512MB of its own memory, which combined with the fast main Core i3-350M processor, means the computer can run even fairly up-to-date games, such as Left For Dead 2, quite well.
Although it's less capable than the graphics cards found in desktop gaming computers, it can still run most modern games without things slowing down, as long as the detail settings aren't set too high. With older games, we were able to turn on every graphical effect we could think of, and the game still ran smoothly.
The screen is a widescreen model in the 16:9 aspect ratio (the difference between its width and height), which means it’s wider than those on some laptops. It’s ideal for games and films, but web pages, which tend to be designed for more square-shaped screens, look a little odd on it.
Unfortunately the laptop's battery life drained quickly when games were running. It lasted for around 100 minutes during our intensive testing, but this is no worse than on any other gaming laptop. However, gaming laptops are meant to be plugged into a mains socket while a game is running. With only a web browser and office programs running, the battery lasted almost four-and-a-half hours, which isn't bad, although other portable computers can manage more than eight nowadays.
The laptop has a thick chassis made from plastic, which didn’t feel particularly luxurious, but was strong and sturdy. The lid has an attractive textured cover, the keys are a good size for typing and it has a full number keypad on the right of the main keyboard section.
The touchpad can recognise multi-touch gestures, in the applications that support them, so that you can, for instance, make a pinching movement with two fingers to zoom out of a map or web page.
One the side of the laptop are three USB sockets, a fair number though we would have preferred another one, audio input and output, an HDMI port for connecting a flat-panel TV, and a wired network socket (it can also connect to wireless networks and Bluetooth devices). The computer comes with a 320GB hard disk and a DVD writer, which are fairly standard on all new computers.
Although the 5741 is a good all-round entertainment laptop, and is suprisingly affordable, it is best suited to someone who wants to play games. If not, a model with longer battery life may be a better choice.
Read more reviews
One of the best-value gaming laptops we’ve seen Good Points Runs games very well; plenty of memory and hard disk space; bright screen Bad Points Relatively short battery life
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