Review Price £650.99
Acer Aspire 5745DG - Usability, Screen and Speakers
Thanks to its large chassis, Acer has managed to fit a full-sized keyboard with number pad on the 5745DG. Layout is spot-on with intelligent shortcut placement, and key feedback is nice and crisp with more travel than you would expect from such a shallow effort. Our only gripe is that the key size and close spacing (with almost no gaps) makes it too easy to hit the wrong key from time to time.
As is pretty much standard these days, the large touchpad supports multi-touch. It's well-delineated, sensitive and pleasantly smooth. Integrated into a single rocker switch, its buttons feature only a small dead zone, and though they're a little on the stiff side they're not unpleasant to use.
The optical drive eject button and Acer's signature, customisable Application Launch button can be found above the keyboard, and are both welcome additions.
We'll get to the display's 3D performance in a bit, but the plain fact of the matter is that with gaming being the only sector in which a large volume of compatible content is available (for now), you'll probably spend most of your time in good old 2D.
Thankfully, the 15.6in, 1,366 x 768 TN panel performs surprisingly well. Most impressive is its contrast, showing all the detail in even the darkest films and games (though inevitably at the expense of white purity). This is one of the more important factors in an entertainment-oriented screen and we're glad Acer got it right.
Colours are decent and sharpness is good, with its LED backlighting reasonably even. Undoubtedly helped by its 120Hz refresh rate, motion is smooth and there's not a hint of ghosting over fast action.
The only fly in the ointment – aside from possible reflections in the screen's glossy coating - is that there is some contrast shift even from the 'ideal' viewing angle, and viewing angles in general aren't a particular strong point. Of course, with 3D you need to be positioned fairly centrally to get the full benefits anyway.
Unfortunately the speakers don't live up to the screen's performance despite their Dolby Home Cinema V3 processing. Mind you, they're by no means poor, with not a hint of distortion and decent clarity at the high end. However, they do lack the maximum volume and punch of better models on similarly-sized machines, such as the Bang & Olufsen-equipped Asus N53JN.