Acer Aspire 5742Z review

  • £350

Great value for money with strong performance

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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good performance
  • 6GB of RAM
  • Generous storage
  • Portable

Against

  • Integrated graphics
  • Some flex in palmrests
  • Battery life

Acer is one of the most prolific manufacturers we know, producing everything from huge multimedia powerhouses such as the Aspire Ethos 8951G to stripped-down budget models. The Aspire 5742Z is one of the latter, and another strong entry-level contender.

At this price range, you won't be getting the latest technology and performance will be limited. However, the 5742Z features an Intel Pentium P6200 processor backed up by a staggering 6GB of memory, much more than we usually see at this price. Only the MSI CR620 and Asus K52F performed better in our tests.

We managed to write this review, stream music over the internet and back up our files all at once, with no slowdown at all. Applications started up quickly and ran smoothly.

However, you only get basic integrated graphics to keep the price low. This means that you're limited in what you can do with your media. Browsing your photo collection and touching up images with basic editing tools are perfectly possible, and we were impressed that high-definition movies played smoothly. However, don't expect to be able to edit videos or play anything but basic or elderly games.

Optical drive

Acer aspire 5742z review

You can watch DVDs thanks to the built-in optical drive, although the 5742z's speakers are far too quiet for enjoying music or movies. We recommend you attach an external pair.

Thankfully, the 15.6-inch screen is fine for enjoying films, with sharp contrast and rich colours. If you want to work on a larger display, VGA and HDMI ports can be used to hook up an external television or monitor.

Of course, you probably want a laptop for work as well as play, right? The Acer is a great option in this respect too, thanks to the firmly constructed keyboard which stretches the full width of the interior. Some may find the perfectly flat keys a little awkward at first if they're used to bevelled keys, which feature slanted edges.

However, the keys are well sized, with the exception of the arrow keys which are flattened into a single row. You also have a separate numeric keypad to the right. The rest of the laptop is well constructed, although the palmrests do flex when you push on them.

The lid is solid enough to protect the screen against any knocks. We weren't huge fans of the plain black design, but it doesn't look particularly bad. The 5742Z simply won't be winning any beauty awards.

At 2.3kg, it's a lightweight laptop and would suit the regular commuter. The slim 35mm body slips easily into a bag or rucksack big enough to hold a 15.6-inch laptop, but make sure you pack the charger too.

The battery died before we finished a two-hour film and only lasts half an hour longer if you limit your use to basic office software.

TechRadar Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 113 minutes
Cinebench: 5661
3DMark 2006: 1703

Still, at least you can carry your entire media collection if you take to the road, thanks to the generous 640GB hard drive. This is the largest amount of storage offered by any laptop here, and something we would expect from more expensive mid-range models.

The Aspire 5742Z offers strong value for money, although the poor battery life is a shame. If you want a highly portable laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad S205 may be more suitable.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
BluetoothNo
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Maximum Battery Run Time3.50 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyAspire 5742Z
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelP6200
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameAcer
Processor Speed2.13 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.60 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height34 mm
Width381 mm
Depth253 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Product Series5742Z
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product ModelAS5742Z-P626G32Mnkk
Product NameAspire AS5742Z-P626G32Mnkk Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineAspire
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberLX.R4P02.197
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Marketing Information

The Aspire 5742 meets your daily computing needs with an Intel processor and integrated graphics. HD media playback offers richer entertainment at home or on the road, while boundary free wireless communication keeps you in touch with family and friends. What's more, the Acer FineTip keyboard and multi gesture touchpad provide simple usability for more relaxed computing.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Aspire AS5742Z-P626G32Mnkk Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter