Responsive touch screen; Strong audio performance; Spacious backlit keyboard
Short battery life; Touchpad has trouble with Windows 8 gestures; Poor webcam quality
The Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499 offers a responsive touch screen and great audio for $699, but its short battery life and wonky touchpad are turnoffs.
With the release of Windows 8, Acer has updated its 15-inch Aspire V5 with a touch screen so users can take advantage of Microsoft's tile-based interface and bevy of new apps. The Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499 also offers a low-voltage Intel Core i5 processor, backlit keyboard and a 500GB hard drive, all for a reasonable $729. Still, for $170 more than a similarly configured non-touch V5, is this Acer a good value?
Not surprisingly, the V5-571P is a bit thicker and heavier than its non-touch version. This system measures 15 x 9.96 x 0.96 inches and weighs 5.4 pounds, compared to 15 x 9.96 x 0.83 - 0.91 inches and 5.1 pounds for the older V5. By comparison, the Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310, which has a smaller 14-inch touch screen, measures 13.7 x 9.2 x 0.95 - 1.14 inches and weighs 4.8 pounds.
Three people sitting side by side could easily make out the action on-screen, but beyond that, colors started to dim, and reflections from the glossy surface became more distracting.
Unfortunately, the V5's display wasn't all that bright. The screen measured 139 lux, dimmer than the Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310 (166) and the ASUS S56CA-DH51 (159). The average brightness for a 15-inch notebook is 227 lux.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Elan touchpad on the V5 measures a large 4.25 x 3 inches and has a slight texture that provides the perfect amount of friction. Gestures worked naturally, too, and we easily pinched-to-zoom both in the browser and when viewing photos in the Photo Gallery. We were also able to accurately rotate images and use two-finger swiping to scroll through websites and file directories.
The Aspire V5 remained relatively cool in our tests. After watching Hulu on full-screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 88 degrees Fahrenheit, the gap between the G and H keys was 85 degrees and the underside a pleasant 81 degrees. We consider anything hotter than 95 degrees to be too warm, and the V5 was well below that threshold.
The Acer Aspire V5 has a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor with 4GB of RAM. This produced a score of 2,377 on the PCMark 7 benchmark test, lower than both the Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310 (2,568) and the ASUS S56CA-DH51 (3,130), both of which have the same CPU, but 6GB of RAM. The average score for mainstream laptops is 2,584.
The Aspire V5 clocked 5,553 on Geekbench, which, while still lower than the 6,470 category average, was better than the Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310 (4,976). The ASUS S56CA-DH51 performed the best of the three with a score of 5,773.
The V5 completed the LAPTOP File Transfer Test (duplicating 4.97GB of multimedia) in 3 minutes and 25 seconds for a transfer rate of 24.8 MBps. The Toshiba P845t was slower, at 23 MBps, and the ASUS S56CA-DH51 was faster with a 30.5 MBps transfer rate. All of these notebooks, however, were slower than the average transfer rate of 37 MBps.
In the OpenOffice Spreadsheet test, where we match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses, the Aspire V5 completed the task in 5 minutes and 56 seconds, one second slower than the mainstream notebook average. The Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310 was also one second faster and the ASUS S56CA-DH51 was slightly slower, finishing the test in 5:58.
We played "World of Warcraft" with the effects on autodetect and saw an average of 31 frames per second. That's playable but well below the 68 fps average. The ASUS fared slightly better, with 32 fps, while the Toshiba Satellite notched 42 fps.
The V5's 2500 mAh 4-cell Li-ion battery lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi with the display at 40 percent brightness). This is well below the average battery life of 5 hours and 39 minutes. By comparison, the ASUS S56CA-DH51 lasted 4 hours and 39 minutes and the Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310 lasted the longest of the three, at 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Swiping from the right side of the screen displays the Charms menu, with quick access to search, share, devices, settings and easy switching between the tiles and desktop interfaces. The Charms menu can be accessed at all times, and also displays a box on the lower left of the screen with the time, date, Wi-Fi strength and battery levels. Swiping from the left let us cycle through recent applications.
The Desktop Live Tile at the bottom left opens a Windows 7-like interface. The main difference between the Windows 8 desktop screen and Windows 7 is the lack of a Start button. Instead, mousing over the bottom left corner of the screen will reveal an icon that brings back the Modern UI Start screen.
There's also AcerCloud Docs, a cloud-based document creation and editing application similar to Google Docs, and Acer Cloud for file storage. Other apps include Acer Instant Update Utility and Acer Recovery Management.
Warranty and Support
The Acer Aspire V5 comes with a one-year parts and labor limited warranty with 90 days of software support. See how Acer stacked up in our 2012 Tech Support Showdown and Best & Worst Brands report.
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|CPU||1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive||DVD SuperMultiDrive|
|Optical Drive Speed||24X|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Touchpad Size||4.25 x 3 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Audio-out|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Audio-in|
|Card Slots||2-1 card reader|
|Warranty/Support||One-year International Travelers Limited Warranty|
|Size||15 x 10 x 0.96 inches|