Review Price £650.99
For everyday use, the Aspire 5745DG 2.4GHz Core i3 is more than up to the task. It will handle most tasks with ease, and certainly won't be a bottleneck in most games.
Gaming is certainly a target audience with a 400-series GeForce, and for regular '2D' gaming it holds up fairly well. Casual games are certainly no problem, and even Stalker: Call of Pripyat was playable at the screen's native resolution.
However, more challenging fare like Crysis is definitely off the menu, as evidenced by it managing only 18.7 frames per second (fps) on high detail (incidentally an almost identical score to the Dell XPS 17, which sported a GeForce 435M). Dropping detail down to Medium resulted in a more playable 32.4fps average, but for us that's a compromise too far.
Unsurprisingly, the 9,000mAh/99Wh battery (one of the highest capacities we've come across) ensures that this laptop will last a relatively long time on the go, despite exclusively relying on power-hungry dedicated graphics. It managed an impressive five hours and 10 minutes in our Productivity test, and an even more remarkable three hours and 40 minutes playing back optical media with the screen at full brightness. We can but imagine how long it would last if it used Optimus.
These are excellent results for any 15.6in laptop, but especially for one not utilizing Intel's weak yet frugal integrated graphics. Even the longest 3D films shouldn't be a problem, and gaming on the go is certainly a viable option – especially since, aside from its awkward shape, the 3kg 5745DG is not too heavy either and offers a reasonable 379 x 250mm footprint.