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As we're finding more and more often on laptops, the Aspire 5738PG's integrated speakers aren't cringe-worthy. They're perfectly adequate for the occasional film, casual games and music and there's even Dolby Home Theatre processing to get the best out of headphones or external speakers, though bass is still lacking and the volume could be greater. If you do want good speakers on a laptop, we'd recommend going for a Toshiba such as the Satellite A500, though Acer does offer better speakers on some more expensive models as well.
Also in common with many laptops, the 5738PG's 16:9, 15.6in screen is fairly average. A resolution of 1,366 x 768 is pretty much expected for a laptop display of this size and unfortunately it sports the same glossy finish as most of its counterparts, leading to distracting reflections with any ambient lighting.
On the plus side, the touch technology seems to have no negative effects noticeable in everyday use. Backlighting is even with little sign of backlight bleed and banding is minimal. Viewing angles are mediocre though, affected by a bit more contrast shift than we're used to. This in turn makes greyscale performance rather poor as you're losing out on quite a bit of either light or dark detail depending on the screen's angle. Sharpness was also slightly sub-par, making very small fonts tiring to read.
Internally this is a solid but not especially exciting machine. For processing duties we have an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 running at 2.2GHz. It's no Core i7 as found in the Novatech's X70 CA Pro, but it's more than quick enough for ordinary folk and should ensure okay battery life, too. This CPU is backed by 4GB of RAM, which is plenty to keep the installed 64-bit version of Windows 7 happy. Having a 64-bit OS has a significant impact on performance, too, as evidenced by the high scores in PCMark Vantage, though the real world impact might not be as great as it suggests.
For storage there's a 320GB 5,400rpm hard drive, which is pretty much standard fare, though at this price point (around £700) we would have liked to have seen a 500GB disk. As mentioned before Bluetooth is absent, but to make up that for you go get Wireless-N Wi-Fi.
A highlight of the Aspire 5738PG is its graphics chip, in this case an ATI Radeon HD 4570 with 512MB of dedicated memory. While we wouldn't class it as a gaming card by any stretch, it's certainly up to a few older titles. In our standard laptop graphics test using TrackMania Nations Forever, for example, the 4570 scored 44fps on medium detail and 26.8fps on high at the screen's native resolution.
Even Call of Duty 4 was just about playable, returning an average of 26fps at 1,366 x 768 with details set to maximum. We did notice one odd bug, which was that the touchpad would not respond at the same time as keys were being pressed in the game, but attaching a mouse fixed the problem and you'd want to use one anyway.
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