Software and Usage

We had no complaints while using the Acer Aspire 5742Z. It is big (15” x 10”), and a little heavy (5.7 lbs), which can be a problem if you need to carry it around all the time, but it was expected since it is not an “ultra portable” laptop.

The audio quality of the 5742Z is average. There is only one speaker, with average power and reasonable quality. The video was powerful enough to watch full HD movies without issues.

The notebook doesn’t come with any operating system installation disc. However, you have the option to create system restore DVDs (four blank DVDs are required), which allow you to restore your computer to the factory default state if necessary. There is also an option to restore factory configuration using an application that uses a hard disk image stored in a hidden partition on the hard disk. It would be far better if the manufacturer included in the package an operating system install disc and a drivers and application disc, so you could reinstall the operating system in a most personalized way. For example, this notebook comes with only one big hard disk partition available to the user, while many users prefer to split the space of the hard disk in two partitions, one for the operating system and another one for the user data.

As with any laptop, the Aspire 5742Z comes with a typical “bloatware” (a term which means useless preinstalled software) package, which will make you lose some time to uninstall. There is a 30-day evaluation copy of the Norton Online Backup and the McAfee Internet Security Suite. There is also the Cyberlink Power DVD 9 player, NTI Media Maker 9, and Microsoft Office Starter 2010, which is a version of the Microsoft office package with only Word and Excel, both free, but ad-supported. Besides that, there are also some games and utilities from Acer preinstalled, as well as other doubtful utility software such as MyWinLocker, Shredder, and eSobi 2.

In a general aspect, the Aspire 5742Z comes reasonably ready to use, mostly because of the free versions of Word and Excel. The Windows 7 is a nice system to have preinstalled.

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.