- Review Date: 11/3/2011
- Bottom line:
The Acer Aspire 5755-6482 delivers performance and features that place it in the upper echelon of sub-$600 laptops.
Affordable price. Attractive design. Generous amounts of RAM, hard drive space.
Unremarkable productivity performance and battery life. No USB 3.0 ports. Stiff touchpad button.
If all you have to spend on a laptop is $600, you might think there’s not too much you can get for your money. But the Acer Aspire 5755-6482 ($599.99 list at Staples) is proof that you may be wrong, with components that outstrip those you can find on other machines in this class, and even some useful software thrown in among the typical bloatware flotsam. You can get better performance by spending just a little more, and better battery life without shelling out any extra dough at all, but the 5755-6482 is overall a good value proposition for budget-conscious shoppers.
The 5755-6482 has a glossy, lightweight plastic lid that’s colored dark gray and decorated by a series of wavy black lines and a silvery Acer logo in the center. It’s a low-key but eye-catching look that continues when you open the lid. The bezel around the 15.6-inch, 1,366-by-768-resolution display is black (and, as usual, there’s a webcam embedded in the top section), but everything else is rendered in shades of gray or slate. You’ll see two variations of the latter color, either shiny or matte, around the edges and in between the keys on the keyboard deck. This includes the touch pad, which features a single stiff button to use for both left- and right-clicking; we found this a bit inconvenient to use. The black speakers for the Dolby Advanced Audio system are located in a strip just below the lid hinges, and create a nice visual contrast with the shiny gray that surrounds them.
The keyboard’s keys are all the darker gray color, though they’re printed with white letters outlined in black, easy to read even in not-so-terrific lighting. There are no dedicated media keys here; you’ll need to hold down a function key and then press either the Home, Page Up, Page Down, or End buttons for Play/Pause, Stop, Rewind, or Fast Forward controls, or the arrow keys to increase or decrease volume and adjust display brightness. Oddly, the Mute function is assigned to the F8 key (among other options, for turning off the wireless or activating an external display), which has the potential to be confusing at first. Two other notable elements about the keyboard: the backslash key is placed flush against the Enter key, and there’s a full-size number pad for quick calculations and data entry.
As it measures 1.3 by 15 by 9.9 inches (HWD) and weighs approximately 5.5 pounds, the 5755-6482 is essentially average in terms of its portability.
At the heart of the 5755-6482 is an Intel Core i3-2330M processor. This dual-core chip in Intel’s second-generation Core (aka “Sandy Bridge”) family runs at 2.2GHz and can activate four processing threads at once thanks to its application of Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. The use of this chip also means the laptop supports the various other technologies Sandy Bridge hardware enables, such as Quick Sync Video for accelerated video conversion, Wireless Display (WiDi 2.0) for streaming content to your HDTV if you have a Netgear Push2TV adapter, and the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 video system. Though the CPU is entry-level by Intel’s standards, other crucial components are more robust: You’ll find a nice 6GB of DDR3 RAM in the 5755-6482, as well as an extra-roomy 750GB hard drive.
On the 5755-6482’s left edge you’ll find an Ethernet port, which provides a wired alternative to its 802.11b/g/n support; two ports for outputting video to external displays, VGA (for older, lower-resolution monitors) and HDMI (for newer monitors and HDTVs); a USB 2.0 port; and headphone and microphone jacks. A multiformat card reader is the only feature of note on the laptop’s front edge (it’s located just off the left side). The right side houses the DVD burner and two additional USB 2.0 ports; you’ll find no USB 3.0 ports on this machine for taking advantage of the faster data transfers that newer technology allows.
You’ll also find plenty preinstalled in the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. A couple of these are potentially useful: the full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and a trial of McAfee Internet Security. But the desktop is cluttered with bloatware-symptomatic icons for things like Clear.fi, eBay, Netflix, Nook for PC, and Skype, as well as shortcuts to Acer Games and Acer Registration.
The 5755-6482 is covered by a one-year warranty, and a number of other services that Staples offers are available as well. These include setting the new system up, transferring data from your old PC to your new one, software installation, and tech support and protection plans that range in price from $14.99 to $169.99.
Compared with the full spectrum of budget laptops we’ve tested recently, the 5755-6482 finished near the center of the pack—but it’s tops in its price range. Its score of 2,040 in our PCMark 7 full-system benchmark test was well below what we saw from our two Editors’ Choice systems, the 2,275 of the Lenovo IdeaPad V570-1066AJU (4 stars, $629.99 list) and the 2,255 of the Asus U56E-BBL6 (4 stars, $699.99 list), but solidly above the 1,926 from the Toshiba Satellite P755-S5215 (3 stars, $719.99) and the 1,866 from the Samsung NP300E5A-A01UB (4 stars, $599.99 list). We saw similar results in our Handbrake video conversion, CineBench R11.5 image rendering, and Adobe Photoshop CS5 filter application test, where the 5755-6482 routinely wound up at or near the top of bottom half of the contenders.
The one area in which this pattern was slightly upset was gaming. The 5755-6482’s frame rates in our 1,024-by-768 Crysis and Lost Planet 2 tests (both run with medium detail settings) were the highest of any of these laptops—but because they were functionally unplayable 16.9 frames per second (fps) and 20.7fps, respectively, that’s a hollow victory. The Gateway NV55S05u (4 stars, $579.99 list) did much better, with 36.7fps and 38fps in those two tests, though the 5755-6482 trounced it in all of our productivity trials.
With battery life the 5755-6482 did not make an impressive showing. Its ability to last 5 hours 4 minutes unplugged during our MobileMark 2007 test puts it above the Gateway (4:54) and the Toshiba (5:01), but well below the Asus (7:42), the Lenovo (5:59), and the Samsung—the last costing just the same as the Acer.
Whether the Acer Aspire 5755-6482 is the right choice for you depends on your specific needs. If all you care about is a system’s facility handling raw productivity chores, either of our Editors’ Choice winners, the Asus U56E-BBL6 or the Lenovo IdeaPad V570-1066AJU will get you there for only a little more money. If you care less about that and just want gaming potential, the less-expensive Gateway NV55S05u is what you want. If battery life is your chief concern, the Asus U56E-BBL6 and Samsung NP300E5A-A01UB have it in spades. But for those seeking balance in as many areas as possible, the jack-of-many-trades 5755-6482 is a fine way to go.