With all the current excitement about ultrabooks, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a large market out there for people who need a good, honest, straight forward notebook that can meet most day-to-day needs without costing the earth. The Acer Aspire 5749 was designed to do just that, for around a remarkably friendly £400.
Unlike many ‘designer’ laptops that are intended to be cool and draw attention to themselves, the Aspire 5749 is the John Major of notebooks. It’s grey, unassuming, yet quietly efficient and powerful. To be fair, Acer has at least made an effort to make the cover less drab with a tyre like pattern which is fingerprint resistant; there’s no way you’d confuse this with the ASUS Automobili Lamborghini VX7.
However, the Aspire 5749 is a no-frills machine that is a solidly built 15.6 inch-screen work horse – which still manages to weigh a comparatively lightweight 2.4kg. The floating chiclet style keyboard has large, flat, firm keys that are comfortable to type upon, with a full number pad but it’s not backlit. The trackpad is a little sluggish and the mouse buttons are incorporated into a single bar, so you need to avoid the dead area in the middle.
In keeping with its practical image, the Aspire 5749 has three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, VGA for an external monitor, Ethernet, a memory card holder for SD and MMC cards at the front and a DVD player. Although Wi-Fi is present, there’s no Bluetooth connection available and no USB 3.0 ports. There are two sensibly placed jacks at the front for headphone and microphone, to round off all the ports.
Large hard drive
The 1366 x 768 resolution 16:9 Active Matrix TFT colour LCD screen is highly reflective, where the colours produced are surprisingly sharp and bright even outside. The cover hinges can be tilted a long way back too, helping with those awkward viewing angles. Acer has also added an exceptionally large 750GB hard drive that should meet most of your storage needs.
As for power, the Aspire 5749 makes use of the latest Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3-2330M CPU clocked at 2.2GHz, with 4GB RAM (expandable to 8GB). This means that general multitasking is comfortable and streaming videos doesn’t stutter, so long as you don’t have too many other apps on the go. Only old and simple games are worth playing, though the sound quality through the speakers is pathetic; battery life is reasonable at around five hours of low usage.
Contact: 0870 900 2237
- The emphasis is on power and practicality.
- Awful sound quality.
The budget-conscious Acer Aspire 5749 won't win any prizes for good looks but it's sturdily built, has a punchy Intel Core i3 processor to aid multitasking and tons of hard drive space to store important documents, photos and videos.