The $900 Acer Aspire 5745PG-3882 is an attractive-looking, moderately priced notebook with some nifty multitouch features, a high-quality display, and audio attributes that make it a very capable multimedia system. But with middling 3D graphics performance, it’s not going to make anyone’s top-10 list of portable gaming rigs.
Sporting a 15.6-inch, multitouch-capable, capacitive screen, the 5745PG-3882 is not unlike the iBuypower Armada Touch MT20X we reviewed a few months ago. But while the MT20X includes a useful application that lets you map common mouse and keyboard gaming commands to the screen’s multitouch interface, the 5745PG-3882 lacks any sort of 3D-gaming-specific features for its touch display. It does, however, include some cool multitouch software for more everyday usages, such as apps for watching photos and videos, listening to music, and surfing the web. A couple of touch-enabled casual games are also included, but these titles aren’t exactly the sort of games that make a GPU sweat.
The 5745PG-3882 features Acer’s unique FineTip keyboard design.
The 5745PG-3882’s display is bright and vibrant—a veritable pleasure to watch movies on. Thankfully, the screen doesn’t catch reflections nearly as bad as other glossy displays have a tendency to do; and despite all the touching, the screen never became marred with fingerprints. The display has a native resolution of 1366x768, unlike the full 1080p-capable MT20X (which has a native res of 1920x1080). Audio is equally impressive, thanks to the Dolby Home Theater Virtual Surround Sound speakers. But when the Dolby settings are enabled, the volume noticeably drops—limiting just how loud you can crank the audio.
An Nvidia GeForce GT 330M GPU supplies the graphics power, but this just wasn’t enough to give our zero point’s GTX 260M a run for its money. It was, however, enough to nip closely at the heels of the Mobility Radeon HD 5650–equipped MT20X. This isn’t necessarily saying much, as we weren’t particular impressed with the MT20X’s 3D graphics performance. The 5745PG-3882’s frame rate of 28fps on the three-year-old Call of Duty 4 at 1650x1050 with fairly aggressive settings is playable, but far from the ideal of what mobile gamers aspire to achieve.
On the other hand, when running multithreaded, content-creation apps, such as Adobe Premiere CS3 and ProShow Producer, the 5745PG-3882’s dual-core 2.4GHz Core i5-450M processor was notably speedier than the zero-point’s 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo T9900. For instance, the 5745PG-3882 managed to zip through our MainConcept test more than 20 percent faster than the zero-point. But when single-threaded apps, such as Photoshop CS3, enter the equation, the zero-point squeezes back ahead of the 5745PG-3882 by a small margin. As the MT20X uses a higher-end, quad-core, 1.6GHz Core i7-720QM, it’s no surprise that it handily beats the 5745PG-3882 on all our application tests—especially those that support multithreading.
As for battery life, the 5745PG-3882 lasted two hours and 37 minutes on our demanding DVD playback test, which is much better than what either the zero-point (one hour and 40 minutes) or the MT20X (one hour and 33 minutes) were capable of. This is long enough to watch most of Avatar, but it’s still below-average battery life for notebooks in this class.
And what class is that, you might ask? The most accurate way to classify the 5745PG-3882 is as a mainstream multimedia notebook. As long as serious gaming isn’t on your do-list, the 5745PG-3882 will serve you well with media and nearly any application. This alone presents a great value at less than $900; factor in the multitouch screen and the 5745PG-3882 becomes a compelling option for non-gamers.
Acer Aspire 574PG-3882
Great for movies and audio; strong multithreaded content-creation performance; multitouch display.
Disappointing 3D-gaming performance.
Acer Aspire 5745PG-3882
Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)
Photoshop CS3 (sec)
ProShow Producer (sec)
Far Cry (fps)
Call of Duty 4 (fps)
Our zero point notebook is an iBuypower M865TU with a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo T9900, 4GB DDR3/1066 RAM, a 500GB Seagate hard drive, a GeForce GTX 260M, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. Far Cry 2 tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA; Call of Duty 4 tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA and anisotropic filtering.
Acer Aspire 5745PG-3882
2.4GHz Intel Core i5-450M
500GB Western Digital WD5000BEVT-22A0RT0 (5,400rpm)
Matsushita DVD-RAM UJ890AS
Nvidia GeForce GT 330M
HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, four USB 2.0, headphone, mic, S/PDIF-out, 5-in-1 media reader, Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet