Affordable; Lightweight design; Loud speakers; Good performance for price
Dim display; Mushy keyboard; Most ports located on the back; Bottom runs hot
The Acer Aspire V3-111P is a lightweight touch-screen laptop that offers solid everyday performance and excellent audio for a very affordable price.
The 11.6-inch Acer Aspire V3-111P hits almost all of the right notes for a budget laptop. For the very affordable price of $370, this lightweight notebook offers 6 hours of battery life, excellent speakers and enough processing power to browse the Web, compose a document or stream music. Should this Aspire V3 be at the top of your list?
Like most 11-inch affordable laptops, the Aspire V3-111P features a square, nondescript design that's vaguely reminiscent of a netbook. The plastic lid sports a faux brushed-aluminum finish that's very convincing, as well as an embossed Acer logo on the left. The hinges at the bottom rotate smoothly, and the screen remained securely upright when we lifted the computer while the lid was open.
A 720p webcam is positioned above the screen, with another Acer logo below. Like the lid, the deck features a silver finish, and the wrist rest is slightly elevated. As expected with such a small laptop, there's very little room on either side of the keyboard, giving it a cramped feel. The 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad is centered beneath the G and H keys.
At 11.5 x 8.3 x 0.9 inches and 3.06 pounds, the Aspire V3-111P is nearly identical in size to the $484 HP Pavilion x360 (12.12 x 8.46 x 0.86 inches, 3.08 pounds) and $400 Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (11.8 x 7.93 x 0.83, 3.1 pounds), both of whose lids can rotate 360 degrees into a tablet mode.
The V3-111P's cousin, the $430 laptop-tablet hybrid Acer Aspire Switch 10, is noticeably lighter even with the keyboard dock attached, weighing 2.4 pounds and measuring 10.3 x 7 x 0.3 inches.
The screen suffers from fairly narrow viewing angles, however. We could only rotate the display about 10 degrees to either side before the colors began to wash out.
Unfortunately, this Acer notebook's display is dimmer than the competition. When we measured the brightness with our light meter, the Aspire V3-111P registered 171 nits. This is outshined by the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (183 nits), Aspire Switch 10 (324 nits) and ultraportable average (253 nits). On the other hand, the HP Pavilion x360 hit only 151 nits.
According to our colorimeter, the Aspire V3-111P produced 66.4 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, which is significantly better than the HP Pavilion x360's score of 57 percent and slightly above the 63.5 percent produced by the Aspire Switch 10. Still, this falls below the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (81.7 percent).
The Aspire V3-111P fared about as well on the Delta E benchmark, which measures color accuracy. Its score of 6.3 is better than the HP Pavilion x360 (7.4) and the Inspiron 11 (9.3), but it's far below the score of 1 registered by the Aspire Switch 10. A score of 0 reflects perfect color accuracy.
The 10-point touch screen responded quickly and accurately to input. Gestures like scrolling and edge swiping executed seamlessly, and we could use all 10 fingers simultaneously in Paint.
On Laptop Mag's audio test, in which we measure a constant tone from 23 inches away, the Aspire V3-111P registered an impressive 92 decibels. This blows away the 82 dB achieved by the Aspire Switch 10 and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000, as well as the ultraportable average (84 dB). The HP Pavilion x360 was nearly as loud at 90 dB.
The HD Audio Manager tool lets you select from equalizer presets such as Pop, Rock and Jazz, or adjust individual frequencies. You can also choose environmental sound effects, such as Living Room, Forest and (yes) Sewer Pipe.
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Keyboard and Touchpad
In addition, the Enter key is small, and the arrow keys, Page Up key and Page Down key are crammed in together. Overall, the typing experience felt mushy and imprecise. On the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, we achieved a rate of 63 words per minute, which falls below our average rate of 68 wpm.
The glossy plastic 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad provided a somewhat better experience, but also suffered from some imprecision. The cursor accurately tracked the movement of our finger, but the touchpad occasionally failed to recognize gestures such as two-finger scrolling and two-finger tapping.
Ports and Webcam
The bottom of the Aspire V3-111P became quite warm during our testing. After streaming a full-screen video on Hulu for 15 minutes, the bottom of the laptop became toasty at 101 degrees. We consider anything above 95 degrees uncomfortable. The touchpad measured a cooler 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the space between the G and H keys hit 92 degrees.
On Geekbench 3, a synthetic test that measures overall performance, the Aspire V3-111P turned in a score of 3,026. This beats the 2,620 netted by the Aspire Switch 10 (1.33-GHz Intel Atom Z3745 processor, 2GB of RAM), but falls behind the 3,248 notched by the HP Pavilion x360 (2.17-GHz Intel Pentium N3520 Processor, 8GB of RAM) and the 3,395 achieved by the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (2.16-GHz Intel Pentium N3530 CPU, 4GB of RAM).
On the File Transfer Test, the Aspire V3-111P copied 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 2 minutes and 39 seconds, for a rate of 32 MBps. This proved faster than the Aspire Switch 10 (23 MBps), HP Pavilion x360 (26 MBps) and Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (31 MBps).
When we ran the Spreadsheet Performance Test, the laptop took 15 minutes and 45 seconds to match 20,000 names and addresses in Open Office. As slow as that is compared with the 7:19 category average, it proved quicker than the Aspire Switch 10 (21:03) and HP Pavilion x360 (16:34). The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 was slightly faster with a time of 15:22.
Graphics and Gaming
Unsurprisingly, the Aspire V3-111P's Intel HD Graphics card won't be able to run many games beyond Plants vs. Zombies. On the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, the laptop achieved a score of 20,500. This narrowly exceeded the HP Pavilion x360 (19,423), the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (20,361) and the Aspire Switch 10 (17,922) but falls well below the ultraportable average (26,961).
When we booted up World of Warcraft, the Aspire V3-111P averaged an unplayable 20 frames per second at 1366 x 768 resolution with the graphics on autodetect. That's not playable.
Software and Warranty
Microsoft-branded Windows 8 apps include Fresh Paint, an art program that lets you select from a variety of brush and paint types; OneDrive; and Skype. Acer did not include antivirus software (even a trial version), but Windows Defender is a free alternative.
The Aspire V3-111P comes with a 1-year parts and labor warranty.
Besides our $370 review unit, the Aspire V3-111P-P6VM, Acer also offers a $350 model. The Aspire V3-111P-C9Z3 features a 1.83-GHz Intel Celeron N2930 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. A $400 model, the Aspire V3-111P-43BC, comes equipped with a 2.16-GHz Intel Pentium N3530 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
Those looking for greater versatility might prefer Acer's laptop/tablet hybrid, the Aspire Switch 10, which offers comparable performance and battery life, and a brighter display, for a starting price of $379. You'll have to store most of your files in the cloud, however, as the Switch 10 offers only 32GB of storage. We also like the $450 Dell Inspiron 11 3000, which also converts to a tablet. But if hard drive size is as much a priority as affordability, the Aspire V3-111P is a very good choice.
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|CPU||2.6-GHz Intel Pentium N3530|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics|
|Wi-Fi Model||Qualcomm Atheros AR956x Wireless Network Adapter|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Card Slots||2-1 card reader|
|Size||11.5 x 8.3 x 0.9 inches|