Acer – Aspire 5735Z review

budget notebook that's big on features
Photo of Acer – Aspire 5735Z
£385

There are any number of good looking notebooks around, so what, you may ask, makes the Acer Aspire 5735Z worthy of a mention? Well, how about a Core 2 Duo with a 15.6-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen display for around four hundred quid all in. Yes, you read that right; around four hundred pounds including VAT.

Weighing in at 2.6kg (without the AC adaptor), the Aspire 5735Z feels better built than its price tag might suggest. The design may not win any awards for styling but it looks OK with its gloss piano black, fingerprint-attracting lid and matt black chassis bottom. Although it is made of plastic, the build quality is such that you don’t hear the creaks and cracks you sometimes do with notebooks costing a lot more than this one.

It’s not as though Acer has skimped much on the spec, either, as the Aspire 5735Z comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor running at 2.0GHz and backed by 3GB of PC2-6400 800MHz memory, which gives the 5735Z enough power for everyday apps to work without complaint. Its PCMark05 score of 4,118 is bang on the mark for a notebook of this specification, although it did struggle a bit with the more intensive PCMark Vantage, scoring 2,639.

Despite the price tag the screen is first rate. The 15.6-inch panel has Acer’s CrystalBrite glossy coating, a 16:9 aspect ratio (making it ideal for watching movies on) and a native 1,366 by 768 pixel resolution that allows you to work on two side-by-side windows. The picture quality is very good with decent contrast and vibrant colours. Unfortunately, while the screen is impressive, what powers it isn’t so hot: this laptop uses Intel’s integrated GMA4500M chipset, so more serious gaming is out of the question.

The keyboard also belies the Aspire 5735Z’s price tag. There is a bit of flex to the keybed but the keys themselves feel good to type on, are responsive and have a non-slip surface. You even get a full-sized numeric pad. The touchpad is equally good. It’s responsive and comes with scrolling and an interesting zoom feature; using two fingers in a pinching movement allows you to zoom in and out.

For storage there is a Hitachi 160GB hard drive and also an 8X DVD Super Multi dual layer DVD burner. There is also a 5-in-1 flash card reader, a 54mm ExpressCard slot and three USB ports.

There are no surprises in the communications department; 802.11b/g/Draft-n WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR and, for good measure, a 56Kbps modem.

Battery life from the six-cell 4,600mAh unit is pretty average: when tested with MobileMark 07′s suite of benchmarks it gave a battery life of two and a half hours, two hours, and three and a half hours in the Productivity, DVD and Reader benchmarks respectively.

Company: Acer

Contact: 0870 853 1005


Verdict
A year ago, maybe even less, the Aspire 5735Z would be carrying a price tag nearer the £800 mark than £400, so to see a notebook with this specification at this price point is a real eye-opener, especially considering just how well it has been put together.