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Acer Aspire 5745G - Connectivity, Keyboard, Touchpad and AV
Like the majority of its specifications and design, the Aspire 5745G's connectivity is nothing if not familiar. Four USB 2.0 ports and a memory card reader join a Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI video outputs and twin 3.5mm audio jacks for headphone and microphone, with the latter doubling as a digital output.
Likewise the tile-style, matt black keyboard with full number pad is identical to that found on so many Acer laptops, meaning it's pretty good. We like the feel of the lightly textured keys and the layout is logical with well-placed shortcuts. Feedback is positive despite being slightly shallow, and there's minimal flex to contend with. Overall it's a pleasure to use.
Much the same can be said for the touchpad. Its smooth surface feels great and it's nice and sensitive in general use, though unlike most rivals or even Acer's preceding efforts we found multi-touch to be somewhat unresponsive. The two buttons incorporated into a single rocker-switch below the touchpad work well enough, but their active zones are a bit small and the left button is a tad too stiff for ideal comfort. Despite this it's all very usable.
When it comes to audio, Acer's 5745G performs competently. While not even coming close to the likes of harman/kardon's on Toshibas like the Satellite A660-14G, its stereo speakers produce a fairly clear soundstage for integrated efforts. Though bass lacks punch and distortion creeps in at maximum volumes, headphones or separates are not a necessity. At this stage it's worth mentioning an Acer software glitch we haven't encountered before, where adjusting the volume occasionally left the volume icon permanently on-screen.
Speaking of the screen, once you get past its reflectivity it's decent enough. A resolution of 1,366 x 768 doesn't give you too much room to play with, but is standard for most 15.6in laptops and it retains excellent sharpness. Viewing angles are mediocre at best, but the screen resolves more dark detail in videos and photos than some similarly priced laptops. While this is achieved at the cost of white differentiation, it's a sensible compromise considering entertainment such as films and games tend to contain far more dark than light details. There's also no sign of backlight bleed or significant banding, so on balance the screen gets a thumbs-up.