Some of the highlights of the Aspire 5542G is a 15.6-inch widescreen display, a decent feature set, and promising performance, at a lower price point compared to some of its competitors.
Build and Design
However, Acer is guilty of not offering laptops in different color ranges. A glossy blue screen lid and a black-on-gray color scheme on the keyboard and chassis is a perennial cliche on Acer's Aspire series of notebooks (re: Aspire 5738 and Aspire 5738G). But looks notwithstanding, the Aspire 5542G is a very well built laptop. The frame feels good and sturdy, and the dual hinge supports the screen very well. The Aspire 5542G comes with an increasingly rare feature - slider lock on the chassis which helps keep the screen closed securely while the laptop's in a bag. However, compared to the likes of Dell Inspiron 14Z and Lenovo Ideapad Y450, the Aspire 5542G weighs a lot at 2.8-kg, and not easy to lug around.
Its 15.6-inch glossy screen is LED backlit and supports a maximum screen resolution of 1366x768. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio which is ideal for watching high-def content. The screen is very well lit, and offers good brightness and contrast levels. A 1.3-megapixel is recessed on the top screen bezel. Its onboard Dolby Home Theater speakers sit between the keyboard and the hinge. The keyboard sports isolated, chiclet-styled keys and has a dedicated number pad on the right. One-touch buttons to toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and launch Acer's backup utility are placed above the keyboard, and they come in really handy.
The Aspire 5542G has the right mix of features and hardware specs. It deploys a dual core AMD Turion X2 2.2-GHz processor - not as quick as the Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 - that performs well when paired with 3GB of DDR2 RAM and a dedicated ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics card with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Storage is well taken care of by a 320GB hard drive, and there are four USB ports to connect enough external drives. It comes with a DVD writer, multicard reader, VGA port, Line-in, Line-out, and headphone jacks (with SPDIF support). The Aspire 5542G comes with Gigabit Ethernet, Draft-N Wi-Fi (a feature that the Samsung NP-R470 doesn't have), Bluetooth connectivity and an HDMI port. There's a fingerprint reader as well (something you don't see on every laptop) for easier access and added security. Off the top of my head, I don't think the Aspire 5542G has any glaring omissions in terms of features.
AMD-based laptops usually underperform compared to Intel-based ones, and that trend continued with the Aspire 5542G. A WorldBench 6 score of 77 isn't one of the best on a laptop, but it's still good. PC Mark 05, 3D Mark 06, and PC Mark Vantage scores were just a shade below that of the Samsung NP-R470's. We didn't have any problem multitasking on the Aspire 5542G, even watching HD movies (both 720p and 1080p) was a smooth and enjoyable experience. Its onboard speakers are definitely one of the better ones we've seen on a laptop for some time. The HD 4570 GPU is capable of withstanding some casual gaming without any problems. We got over 2 hours 30 mins on a single charge while browsing the Web over Wi-Fi, which is a bit disappointing. But the large keyboard and touchpad are great for day-to-day use.
At Rs. 38,000, with Windows 7 Home Premium, this is easily one of the best value for money laptops out there which offers a great balance between price, features, and performance. Plus it has a large 15.6-inch screen, isolated keyboard, and a large touchpad to work with.