Keyboard and Trackpad
As we said, the E725 features an Acer-esque keyboard with a numeric pad. The keys are quite large, and they feel good too. There's a hint of flex, but nothing to serious. Considering the price range, the quality of the keys themselves is even slightly above average, but the quality of print on them is poor.
However, the layout could have been better. The arrow keys are half size, and look like they've come straight off a netbook, not a 16:9 15-incher. On the upside, left Shift, Enter and Backspace are huge. Some punters love numeric keypads on notebooks, others loath them. Personally, I don't think they're a very useful feature, but it all depends on your preferences, and to a lesser extent, your profession. I don't mind having it, but if a trackpad offset to the right is the price to pay, I'd rather have a regular keyboard.
The touchpad is quite big, and it's pretty fast and responive. The keys feel fine, and they don't have much travel, which is again typical of Acer.
Ergonomics, Everyday use
Here's where it gets tricky. We already said it has just two USBs, but they're both on the left side of the chassis. In fact, all of its connectors are on the left, and when we say all, it's not that many actually. VGA, LAN, power, audio and the USBs, that's it.
On the right side you'll find the lonely DVD-RW and Kensington.
The front side is also quite clean, with a couple of LEDs and the 5-in-1 memory card reader hidden from prying eyes.
The story repeats at the back.
Obviously the major issue is lack of USB ports, even most netbooks have three nowadays, and the fact that they're both placed on the left side is quite odd and awkward. Also, a video out would be nice.
Other than that, the E725 is pretty straightforward, and it's rather pleasant to use. The screen is good, although the vertical viewing angle is a bit limited, in the horizontal you'll have plenty of space to move about. Here is where Acer, or eMachines if you like, saved some cash. This is the first time we came across a 15.6-inch 16:9 screen in 1280x768. Most vendors offer 1366x768 screens on similar products. It seems consumers like to see a 16:9 sticker on their laptops, but in the end they end up with less pixels than on a standard, low-end 15.4-inch screen.
Most products in this market segment suffer from excessive heating, as they're usually based on previous generation dual-cores and obsolescent chipsets. This is not the case with the E725, which stands out thanks to its T4200 45nm CPU and GS45 65nm chipset. It's a pretty cool runner, and therefore it's quiet too.
Battery life was average. The 4400mAh unit managed over 2 hours and 20 minutes in DVD playback. It's still not enough to see Kurtz die in Apocalypse Now Redux, but it's a pretty good score. Obviously you can expect a bit more in regular use, and we were getting over 3 hours easy.