Once you’ve charged the active shutter glasses using the provided mini-USB cable, setting up 3D on the Aspire 5745DG is fairly painless. Acer provides a selection of still images and trailers to have a play with the effect, appropriately called 3D Demo. One criticism here is that its media player doesn’t have ‘3D mode’ activated by default, which might lead some to think there’s a problem with the glasses.
You also need to realize that the ‘Enable stereoscopic 3D’ box needs to be ticked in Nvidia’s driver. As this is something you’ll want to turn on and off depending on how demanding the content is (the GeForce GT 425M will struggle to run many demanding games even in 2D), it would also have been nice to have a dedicated shortcut or even a physical button.
Ergonomically the Nvidia glasses are quite comfortable for extended periods, even if you’re already wearing spectacles. They do darken your view considerably, but you can always turn up the laptop screen’s brightness to counteract this. Avoid using them near fluorescent lighting, as this will cause severe flicker – in fact, they’re best used in a darkened room.
With this in mind, and when viewing from the right angle, the 3D effect can be genuinely impressive. Despite inherent LCD issues like crosstalk and being slightly more tiring on the eyes, it’s definitely worth the ‘hassle’. With the right material, it lends both games and video extra immersion – though nothing near the experience a bigger screen like the 50in Samsung PS50C6900 will provide. A depth slider on Nvidia’s control panel also lets you determine the extent of the effect in games.
The biggest disadvantage to 3D in the case of Acer’s 5745DG is that its GT 425 graphics card simply can’t cope with running intensive games in stereoscopic mode, as it effectively needs to render each frame twice. As an example, in our very light TrackMania Nations Forever test, it dropped from 80.9 frames per second (fps) in ‘2D mode’ to 46.5fps with stereoscopic 3D enabled. In more demanding titles like Stalker: Call of Pripyat it was the difference between playable and completely unplayable.
This puts the 5745DG in a difficult position. It’s not ideal for 3D films because it lacks a Blu-ray drive, and not great for 3D games because it lacks the graphics grunt to run most of them at decent resolutions and detail levels. Thankfully, at £790 you don’t pay an absurdly huge premium for the extra dimension, and if 3D is your thing those titles that do work will make it worth it.
However, if you already have a decent desktop PC sporting capable Nvidia graphics – especially one with Blu-ray – you should consider a 3D Vision set and 3D monitor before buying this compromised machine. If, on the other hand, you’re into games but not 3D, the MSI GX740 will let you play far more demanding games the regular way for only a slight premium.
The Acer’s only remaining advantage lies in its excellent battery life, so if you’re looking for modest gaming on the go there’s little that will beat it.
Acer’s Aspire 5745DG is an affordable entry into 3D and offers impressive battery life, but while it might be perfect for some, in general a few too many corners have been cut to completely win us over.
Score in detail
Battery Life 8