Connectivity on the Aspire 5745DG is mediocre. Those for whom the 320GB of internal storage isn’t enough won’t be pleased by the lack of eSATA or USB 3.0, and there’s no ExpressCard slot either, so you can’t add these on. Otherwise it’s business as usual, with VGA and HDMI (of the 3D-compatible 1.4 variety) for video, 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks for audio, and four fairly well-spaced USB 2.0 ports for data.
For networking you have the choice between Gigabit Ethernet or Wi-Fi N, though Bluetooth doesn’t make the cut. A memory card reader takes the usual suspects (SD/HC, MMC, MS Pro/Duo) and finally a DVD-Rewriter is on hand for optical media.
While it might have been necessary to keep the price down, the lack of a Blu-ray drive means that most (legal) stereoscopic 3D movies are off the menu. Of course you can still play these if you buy an external Blu-ray drive, but we can only imagine there will be quite a few consumers frustrated with this Acer’s inability to play commercial high definition 3D discs ‘out of the box’.
Getting to design, when closed the 5745DG presents a glossy black lid with a subtle pinstripe pattern and even subtler silver sparkles. While it doesn’t help much with disguising all those nasty fingerprints the laptop will doubtless accumulate in no time at all, it’s certainly not unattractive.
Opening the machine up reveals a more sensible interior, for though the screen’s bezel is glossy (with the 1.3 megapixel webcam and Nvidia receiver neatly integrated), the palm rest area sports a thin veneer of brushed aluminium. The gunmetal grey colour works quite well with the matte black keyboard and its piano black surround, offset by blue power and status LEDs.
However, what you’re most likely to notice – and indeed one of the 5745DG’s distinguishing features, though not necessarily in a good way – is its huge nine-cell battery, which protrudes enough at the bottom to put the laptop at quite an angle. Some might prefer this for typing, but it does make it very difficult to fit the machine in a bag or sleeve with the battery attached.
Build quality throughout is very good, with no unwanted flex, creak or poor fittings, and solid hinge action. The laptop generally stays very quiet in use, and even under load emits only a light hum that shouldn’t distract too much.