Acer has used Intel's low-cost i3 processor to good effect in the Aspire 5741 to create a well specified, mid-sized laptop with a very attractive price tag. Our review model was supplied by Save on Laptops, where you can buy the 5741 for just £447.48.
The laptop is surprisingly portable for a 15-inch model -- it weighs in at a relatively lightweight 2.5kg. It's thin, too, at just 34mm. Despite the budget price tag, Acer has managed to bring a touch of style to the design. For example, although the lid is made of plastic, it's finished with an industrial-style cross-hatch pattern and aluminium paint job. The good looks continue when you flip open the laptop, with a pleasing brushed metal effect on the wrist rest. This is complemented nicely by the glossy finish of the screen surround.
The screen itself is 15.6 inches in size and has a resolution of 1356x768 pixels, which is pretty standard for budget laptops of this size. The display uses LED backlighting and has a shiny finish, so colours look bright and in your face. The laptop's black levels are impressively deep, which is somewhat surprising for a budget display. This deepness makes movies look extremely rich and cinematic. Acer has also integrated a webcam above the screen, which comes in handy for making video calls with applications such as the preloaded Skype software.
The keyboard has flat keys, similar to those of an isolated key design. Rather than looking as if they've been punched out of the chassis, the keys seem to float above it as if they are suspended in air. The keyboard layout is excellent and Acer has even found room to include a numerical keypad on the right-hand side. The only real compromise is the half-sized cursor keys, but this isn't too much of an issue. In saying that, the keys don't feel as solid as you might expect, although they are quite springy and respond well to even light taps.