Note: The Acer Aspire 5755G is also available with a Core i7-2630QM CPU and 8 GB of RAM. The Core i7 will give considerably more processing power but also ups the asking price.
New member of the Aspire family, here's the Acer 5755G. This 15.6-inch notebook has a measured configuration with a Core i5 processor and a mid-range NVIDIA graphics card.
Design and build: could do better
Acer has gone for an all-plastic design. While overall the design is underplayed and well-balanced, the finish could be improved, especially when it comes to the palm rest and the keyboard, which both sink in when pressure is applied.
The keyboard and the number pad use the chiclet (separated keys) design but the problem is that on a 15-inch laptop chassis, there's not quite enough room for all the keys. Where Asus cleverly reduced the size of the keys on the number pad on the G53SX, Acer has chosen to jam in some buttons as close as they can to each other and drastically reduce the size of the arrow keys. This solution isn't as neat.
While the multitouch touchpad isn't particularly large, it doesn't seem too small either and corresponds to the panel resolution (1366 x 768 pixels) pretty well. While you can scroll vertically and zoom, this touchpad won't recognise two-finger horizontal scrolling.
The webcam reproduces movements well and there's plenty of detail in light zones. When surrounding brightness drops however, even slightly, it really struggles. It gets hard to distinguish colours in the blocked out dark areas that appear.
All the basic connectivity is there, namely 3 USB ports (2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x USB 3.0), a headphones socket and a mic socket. You also get an Ethernet (RJ45) port, an SD card reader and a DVD rewriter as well as VGA and HDMI video outs.
The 5755G's a bit noisy on start-up but quietens down again after a few seconds. During our tests, we could hear it when we pushed the components hard. In a quiet environment, you'll be able to hear it but otherwise you won't be able to make it out above the background noise. Heat is relatively well managed. Note however, when you put it on your knees, you will feel the temperature rising. In some places the chassis gets up above 40°C. Redesigning the expulsion of hot air so that it exits between the chassis and the screen (like with Apple laptops) could well sort this issue out. If you're working on a desktop however, you won't have any problems.
The 5755G's temperature readings when you push the components hard
Readings taken using a Fluke Ti25 (Distrame) camera
SD card reader at front
Power supply, Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI outs, USB 2.0, headphones and mic out
USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, DVD rewriter
Processor power: good performance
No mystery with the Intel Core i5-240M! Along with the i3-2310M, it counts among the most commonly used on laptops. It gives this 15.6-inch sufficient processing power to handle the usual without any trouble (office documents, Internet browsing and so on). It's also perfectly at ease with more demanding tasks such as video encoding, 3D modelling and retouching images, which it will process in reasonable times.
You can also play HD 1080p videos (Blu-Ray equivalent) without any issues on this machine.
Windows 7 Family Premium edition (64-bit) takes 42 seconds to boot. You then have to wait another 10 to 20 seconds for the various pieces of software and connection to a wi-fi network to launch. It takes under 20 seconds to turn off.
All sorts of titles
While the 5755G's graphics card isn't the most powerful on the market, it allows you to play all the most recent titles no problem, even at native resolution (1366 x 768 pixels). If you use the HDMI out to port to a Full HD display however, you will need to make some concessions when it comes to your graphics options for games such as Crysis 1 and 2, Metro 2033, FEAR 2, Colin McRae: DIRT 2 and so on
Audio: Dolby... which works
We're generally rather critical of audio processing software solutions. Here, Acer has gone for Dolby Advanced Audio and it works well. It's effective and not too heavy on the music setting. It includes a limiter to stop the volume from climbing too high. When it's off, the speakers saturate.
The headphones out is excellent, sufficiently powerful. The mic in is another story however, with the level of interference meaning you'll only want to use it as a last resort. Thankfully most gamer headphones - now one of the rare usages for an external mic - use a USB connection.