Acer Aspire 5720 review

13 May 2008

It's a lot of laptop for not much cash, but it's outclassed by its better rivals.

Price when reviewed 
323
4

Pop the Acer on a desk and two things are apparent. First, while the Aspire 5720 may not appeal to everyone, its resemblance to pricier Acer Gemstone models means it doesn't look like a budget laptop. A subtle silver glitter effect glimmers under the glossy black lid, and the curvy lines add to the expensive feel.

The other thing you'll notice is its weight: at 2.9kg, you certainly won't forget the Acer is in your bag. It might feel like a bit of a lump on the shoulder, but it has fantastic build quality. We were pleased to find twin catches keeping the lid firmly closed, and we had to really grapple with the Acer's thick base before it gave even the slightest bit of flex.

The lid is more pliant, however, and the lightest prod or twisting action sent ripples across the displayed image. The picture quality was also disappointing: the 1,280 x 800 resolution is fine, as is the panel's brightness, but the lack of contrast left white areas on our test pictures drastically overexposed. As a result skintones looked rather unnatural; it's far from unusable, but is eclipsed by its rivals here.

An Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 processor and 2GB of memory keep performance competitive, and the 5720 scored 0.73 in our benchmarks. After a driver update, the Intel-integrated graphics struggled through our lowest Crysis benchmark at an average of 5.4fps.

The 80GB hard disk is a bit on the stingy side when cheaper laptops here include 120GB as a bare minimum. But, the Acer's finer qualities go a long way towards making up for its deficiencies.

There's features aplenty, for a start. Gigabit Ethernet is complemented by 802.11abg wireless, and you get four USB ports, an ExpressCard/54 slot and a multiformat card reader. Look above the display and there's also a 0.3-megapixel webcam embedded in the screen's bezel.

Factor in the Acer's battery life - more than three hours under light use - and the Aspire 5720 stands out as a solid budget laptop. But, despite its good value, it's still outclassed by the Dell and Fujitsu Siemens offerings this month.