While designer laptops like the metal-clad Dell XPS 15z and premium ultraportables such as the Toshiba Satellite R830 or Samsung Series 9 900X3A capture both our hearts and imagination, what most people actually end up buying is an affordable 15 inch machine. Of course there's no lack of choice in this segment, so how does Acer's new Aspire 5750 hope to be your lucky pick? Join us as we find out.
Specs-wise, the Acer 5750 is not your typical affordable laptop: for £450, you get a Core i5, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive and Intel's integrated graphics running a 15.6 inch, 1,366 x 768 screen, along with an HD webcam and some decent connectivity (including USB 3.0). That's an impressive line-up for the money, and despite lacking fancy extras such as a discrete video card or Blu-ray drive, it's more than adequate for many.
Thankfully, you can't tell that this is a budget laptop from its design either, though its build quality does give it away a little: Acer has used fairly solid plastics throughout, though there is just a tad more flex than we would ideally like in the lid's top and on both base and top near the hinge.
We're really pleased that Acer has gone for a matt lid again. The company did have a few matt-lidded laptops over the years, but more often than not we received glossy machines like the Acer Aspire 5745DG. That meant fingerprints, dust and other marks were easily visible, and didn't provide a secure grip. With the Aspire 5750, however, the mocha-coloured lid sports a cross-hatch-like pattern that's both attractive and practical. Naturally, it's also more fingerprint, scratch and dustproof than shiny alternatives.
A similar textured mocha finish continues on the inside around the keyboard, though the pattern is altered and more subtle. This doesn't extend to the screen's bezel, which is piano black to match the display's glossy coating.
Connectivity is surprisingly decent for a budget outing (especially considering Core i3 Aspire 5750 models come in at below £350). You'll find a Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI for video, USB 2.0 and headphone plus microphone jacks to the left, an SDHC memory card reader at the front, and both USB 2 and USB 3 ports as well as a tray-loading DVD rewriter on the right.
Our only real complaint here is that the memory card reader doesn't support the newer, larger SDXC standard, but then anyone who can afford those cards is likely to be able to afford a better laptop. We might have liked eSATA too, but at least USB 3 takes care of hooking up fast external storage. If we're being particularly niggardly we'd say it would have been nice to have at least two USB 3.0 ports for fast transfers, but at this price point it's a bonus to have it at all. On the wireless front we do feel the cuts, however: Wi-Fi N is included but Bluetooth hasn't made it in.