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Acer Aspire 7745G review: Acer Aspire 7745G

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The Good Slick design; good overall performance; decent speakers.

The Bad Below-average screen; not really suitable for gaming.

The Bottom Line The 17.3-inch Acer Aspire 7745G has many plus points, including its attractive appearance and decent performance. Its let down, though, by the poor vertical viewing angle of its screen.

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7.5 Overall

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We were pretty impressed by Acer's Aspire 8943G, but it's a rather large and pricey laptop, so we were keen to see how its smaller, 17.3-inch brother, the 7745G, would perform, especially as it's considerably cheaper. Our review model was supplied by SaveOnLaptops, where it costs around £760.

Handsome hulk

Acer has produced some attractive laptops of late, and the 7745G continues this trend. The lid is finished in the now-standard glossy black, but it's improved by the faint lined pattern that's visible underneath. Open the lid and you'll find that Acer has used a pleasing brushed-aluminium effect on the keyboard surround. It works well with the shiny black paint used on the top half of the chassis. For a 17.3-inch laptop, it's pretty slim too, measuring just over 40mm thick.

We're getting used to 1080p resolutions on laptops with larger screens, but the 7745G's screen doesn't quite stretch to that. Instead, it tops out at 1,600x800 pixels. The display's contrast is also lacklustre and, when you move the screen up or down, you'll notice that there's a pretty drastic change in brightness and colours, due to its poor vertical viewing angle. It's all quite disappointing. Nevertheless, above the screen, Acer has added a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which, although it won't win any awards for picture quality, is handy if you use software like Skype for video calls.

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The laptop is preloaded with Acer's Arcade Deluxe media software, but it pales in comparison with Windows Media Center.

Because the chassis has to accommodate the 17.3-inch display, there's plenty of room to fit in a decently sized keyboard. The keyboard uses isolated keys like those on Apple's MacBooks, and even includes a full numerical keypad on the right-hand side, which will come in handy when working on spreadsheets or doing your accounts. It's pleasingly rigid too, and the keys feel responsive under your fingers.

We also like the large trackpad. Although it has a smooth surface, it doesn't suffer from the stickiness of some other trackpads we've used. It also includes multi-touch support, so you can use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to magnify Web pages and photos.

Specs appeal

The 7745G's specification is pretty much in line with other 17-inch models at this price point, such as the Toshiba Satellite L670-17K. It's got a dual-core Intel Core i5-450M processor, clocked at 2.4GHz, that can automatically overclock itself to 2.66GHz when handling particularly demanding tasks. The processor is helped along by 4GB of RAM, which gives the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium some room to breathe.

The laptop returned a score of 6,637 in the PCMark05 benchmark test, which puts it behind Toshiba's Satellite L670-17K in terms of raw pace. But that score still indicates it will happily cope with heavy multitasking.

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