If you want some real processing and graphics firepower without forcing yourself into bankruptcy, the 15.6-inch Acer Aspire 5750G might be just what you're after. Our high-end version packs an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 processor, 750GB hard drive and 8GB of RAM, while an Nvidia Geforce GT 540M dedicated graphics card takes care of gaming. The specific model number of our machine is AS5750G-2638G75Mnkk, although you might also find it being sold as the LX.RCG02.048. Catchy.
Despite its impressive specs, you can currently pick this machine up for under £800 from SaveOnLaptops, among other vendors.
The 5750G's design is rather disappointing. The laptop looks reasonably stylish, but it lacks the aluminium lid and chrome trim that you get on Acer's more expensive machines. The company's designers have tried to add a hint of class here and there with an etched pattern on the lid, and a two-tone colour scheme inside. But, despite the sturdy feel of the chassis, it just doesn't come across as a premium design, which is perhaps understandable given the fact that the laptop packs in such high-end components for a reasonably affordable price.
Another area that's been compromised is the screen. We expect most gaming and entertainment-focused laptops to use high-resolution displays, but the 5750G's screen maxes out at 1,366x768 pixels. The display's viewing angles are on the tight side too, both on the horizontal and vertical axes, so you have to be careful how you position the screen if you want to be able to see what's happening properly.
The speakers aren't much better. They're definitely below-par for an entertainment-focused laptop. Acer has added Dolby Advanced Audio support, so you can switch between 'video', 'music' and 'game' audio modes using a software-based control panel. Unfortunately, this just spreads out the stereo image slightly and doesn't add any weight to the bass, which is what the 5070G most sorely needs.
Other aspects of the laptop are much better, though. The keyboard is excellent, for example. It uses the same isolated-key design seen on many of Acer's previous laptops. It's an interesting approach, with the flat keys perched atop narrow stems so they look like they're floating on the surface of the laptop. The keys' wide surface area and generous amount of travel means they're very comfortable to type on. The wide trackpad is excellent too, and the single long rocker button is responsive.
There isn't an abundance of ports, but the 5070G packs in the most useful ones. You'll find three USB ports dotted around the chassis. The one on the left-hand edge supports 'sleep and charge', so you can charge devices like mobile phones and MP3 players even when the laptop is switched off. Also, one of the ports on the right-hand side supports USB 3.0 for much faster data transfer when used with compatible USB 3.0 kit.
The 5750G doesn't skimp on storage either. It's kitted out with a cavernous 750GB hard drive, providing plenty of room for storing media and work-related files. There's also an SD card reader tucked under the front lip and a DVD rewriter on the right-hand side.
The 5750G really excels when it comes to raw processing power. It's built around one of Intel's high-end Sandy Bridge Core i7-2630QM processors. It's a quad-core chip clocked at 2GHz, but it can be overclocked to as high as 2.9GHz in short bursts, when needed. Together with 8GB of RAM, this chip sliced through the PCMark05 benchmark test like a hot knife through butter, clocking up a blistering result of 8,241. It's one of the fastest laptops we've seen.
The 5750G's gaming performance is also top-notch. The killer trinity of the fast processor, abundant Ram and dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card helped it rock its way to a lightning-fast result of 9,691.
The 5750G is equipped with a six-cell lithium-ion battery, but its high-end components mean it didn't perform impressively in the Battery Eater Classic test, which runs the CPU at 100 per cent until the battery dies. The laptop managed to keep puffing away for 1 hour and 6 minutes before throwing in the towel. In comparison, most 15-inch laptops manage to reach the 1 hour and 20 minute mark.
The Acer Aspire 5750G isn't the best-looking laptop around and its screen isn't wonderful either, but it really does delivery some serious processing power for a very reasonable amount of money.
Edited by Charles Kloet