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3D is the latest trend. It's a standard feature on the majority of high-end TVs, with the most recent example being the stunning 21:9 Philips Cinema 58PFL9955H. As one would expect, it can also be found on monitors. In fact, we reviewed one of the first of these – Zalman's M2020W Trimon 3D – back in 2008. Inevitably, 3D has also made its way to laptops, and today we're looking at Acer's 15.6in Aspire 5745DG, which comes with a 3D-capable screen and Nvidia-branded glasses.
So how is it different from an 'ordinary' 2D laptop? The main ingredient is that its display uses a 120Hz LCD panel. In combination with active shutter glasses (not the passive ones you get in the cinema), this gives you a 60Hz 3D image, as with stereoscopic 3D each eye is alternatively shown a specifically-tailored image.
Since the 5745DG sports an Nvidia GeForce GT 425M graphics card, it makes sense that Acer has gone with the graphics company's well-established 3D Vision solution. This consists of a pair of rechargeable shutter glasses and a built-in infra-red transmitter, which you can read about in our 3D Vision review. The disadvantage here is that you won't be able to hook the transmitter up to your desktop PC, but it also means you don't have to carry around a dongle and it leaves an extra USB port free.
Aside from its 3D credentials, the basic specification of the 5745DG isn't all that amazing, residing at the high end of average. This is hardly surprising as Acer had to compromise somewhere to hit a sub-£800 price point whilst offering an adequately powerful machine with a 120Hz panel and a 3D kit that usually costs over £100 on its own.
Nevertheless, a dual core Intel Core i3 370M running at 2.4GHz should be fast enough to easily cope with the average consumer's maximum workload. It's backed by the usual 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium will make full use of. Permanent storage is handled by a 320GB drive, though unlike the new Dell XPS 17 it's of the slower 5,400rpm variety.
Also unlike Dell's XPS there's no Optimus, Nvidia's clever graphics switching technology – so despite the CPU featuring integrated, frugal graphics, you're restricted to the more power-hungry, dedicated Nvidia card even when on battery. The GeForce GT 425M has 1GB of DDR3 memory, and performance-wise should cope just fine with CUDA-accelerated applications, 3D video and light 3D gaming.