The Bottom Line
- Solid Performance From Updated Core i3 Processor
- Well Priced
- Glossy Screen Produces Too Much Glare And Reflections
- Lots Of Trialware
- Intel Core i3-370M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15" x 9.9" x 1.3" @ 5.7 lbs
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, NTI Media Maker, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Acer Aspire 5742-7120 15.6-inch Laptop PC
Oct 6 2010 - Acer has updated their budget oriented 15-inch Aspire laptop with a newer version of Intel's Core i3 processor. The new Core i3-370M gets roughly a twelve percent clock speed boost over the much more common Core i3-330M typically found in laptops under $650. This combined with the 4GB of DDR3 memory allow the Aspire 5742-7120 to perform quite well for most tasks save for those very intensive ones such as desktop video. The speed bump probably won't be noticed in most basic tasks but is still useful for many programs.
Storage features on the Aspire 5742-7120 are pretty much standard for a budget laptop system. A 320GB hard drive provides a decent amount of storage for applications, data and media files. It spins at the more typical 5400rpm laptop drive speed rate for modest performance. A dual layer DVD burner handles all playback and recording of CDs and DVDs. There is also a 5-in-1 card reader for reading the most common flash memory media types.
The display on the Aspire 5742 remains unchanged from their previous 15-inch Aspire laptop models. It still uses a 15.6-inch display that offers a 1366x768 native resolution and features a glossy coating. Viewing angles are decent but the glossy coating does produce a fair amount of reflections and glare that can be quite annoying. It continues to use the Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics solution that is suited for basic graphics work and playback of HD video sources. Of course this integrated solution has very limited 3D graphics performance that makes it unsuitable for even casual PC gaming but that isn't uncommon in laptops in this price range.
Acer uses the same capacity battery as in previous budget models. The six-cell battery pack features a 4400 mA capacity. This is fairly typical size for a budget class laptop but falls well short of what can be had for a bit more money. In my DVD playback test, the system last just under two and a half hours before going into standby which is slightly slower than the previous 15-inch Acer with the i3-330M. In more traditional usage, it should yield roughly another hour worth of time which is what Acer estimates it should run.
As with many of Acer's recent releases, the Aspire 5742-7120 comes with a large number of applications installed on it already. Many of these applications are trialware that tend to clutter up the system memory and hard drive. It certainly impacts how fast the system will boot into Windows 7. Users should spend some time to remove unwanted applications to help improve performance.
While the exterior of the Acer Aspire 5742 still has a glossy overall look, they have moved to a weave style pattern for the plastic. This does a much better job than the previous 5740 model at hiding smudges and fingerprints from view. Of course, the glossy texture still collects them, they just aren't as visible.