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Acer Aspire 5542G

Jayesh Shinde 2009-12-09
82 Very Good
Price: Rs 38,000

Full Review

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.

Features
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.

Performance
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.

Bottom Line

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.

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