Gorgeous 1080p display; Powerful speakers; Excellent keyboard; Good graphics performance for the money
Faux metal design; Slow hard drive; Relatively short battery life; Grainy webcam
The Acer Aspire V3 is a quality multimedia laptop with a full HD matte screen and pretty good graphics punch.
While 2-in-1 hybrid notebooks are getting a lot of attention, there are still a healthy amount of shoppers looking for a traditional big-screen notebook with plenty of power. That's where the Acer Aspire V3-772G-9402 comes in. While it lacks a touch screen, this 17-incher packs a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia graphics, making it a multimedia powerhouse. And, at $1,099, this machine is relatively affordable.
The 17-inch Aspire V3's design is about as exciting as a C-SPAN marathon. The notebook's plastic lid features a faux brushed metal look, at the center of which is a chrome Acer emblem. That same metal-ish design carries over to the keyboard deck, and is actually quite comfortable to rest your palms on. Just above the V3's sunken keyboard deck is a speaker bar that runs the length of the laptop.
At 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.36 inches and weighing 6.8 pounds, the Aspire V3 is relatively slender compared to some 17-inch gaming machines. ASUS' G750JX-DB71, for example, measures 16.1 x 12.5 x 1.9 inches and weighs a hefty 8.8 pounds. However, MSI's slim GS70 measures 16.5 x 11.3 x 0.85 inches and weighs a scant 6 pounds.
On our LAPTOP Audio Test, the Aspire V3's speakers blasted out 99 decibels of sound. That blows away the TouchSmart 15's 85 dB, as well as the ASUS N550JV's 94 dB. The desktop replacement category average was far lower, at just 90 dB.
Keyboard and Touchpad
At 4.25 x 3.1 inches, the Aspire V3's Elan clickpad is plenty large. Overall, we found the pad to be accurate and responsive when navigating the dekstop. Multitouch options, such as two-finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom and two-finger rotation, also worked well. Unfortunately, swiping in from the left (to switch apps) and right (to launch the Charms menu) proved inconsistent and often required more than one attempt.
Ports and Webcam
After playing "Bioshock Infinite" for 15 minutes, though, the Acer warmed up a bit, with the keyboard hitting 100 degrees and the clickpad reaching 90. The underside of the laptop, however, stayed relatively cool at 80 degrees.
However, the Aspire V3's benchmark performance didn't blow us away. Its score of 3,169 on PCMark 7 was about 1,500 points below the category average. To be fair, this average includes a number of gaming machines. Still, the ASUS N550JV, an entertainment laptop with a 2.4-GHz Core i7-4700HQ, 8GB of RAM and 1TB, 5,400-rpm hard drive, scored a higher 3,546. The HP Envy TouchSmart 15 and its 2.4-GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive paired with a 24GB SSD, registered a score of 5,363.
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The Aspire V3's 5,400-rpm hard drive could be the culprit. It took this notebook 3 minutes and 48 seconds to transfer a 4.97GB of mixed media files, resulting in a sluggish 22.3 MBps. The HP Envy TouchSmart 15 and ASUS N550JV didn't fare much better, transferring the files at an equally slow 28 MBps. None of the laptops even came close to the desktop replacement category average of 122 MBps.
Despite its lackluster transfer speeds, the Aspire V3 booted Windows 8 in a fairly quick 22 seconds. That's faster than the desktop replacement category average of 30 seconds, but slower than both the HP TouchSmart and ASUS 550JV, which booted in 19 seconds and 16 seconds, respectively.
On our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test, the Acer Aspire V3 took 4 minutes and 14 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses. That's faster than the category average of 5:40, but slower than the HP Envy TouchSmart 15's time of 4:00. The ASUS N550JV bested the bunch with its time of 3:58.
Acer equipped the Aspire V3-772G with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760M graphics chip and 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which should prove plenty powerful for casual gamers. On the 3DMark 11 benchmark, which measures a laptop's DirectX 11 graphics performance, the Aspire scored 3,536. While that's about 1,000 points below the desktop replacement category average of 4,524, this category includes much more powerful gaming systems. The HP TouchSmart 15, with its Nvidia Geforce GT 740M graphics chip, notched 2,201, while the ASUS and its Nvidia GeForce GT 750M scored 2,684.
While playing "World of Warcraft," the Aspire delivered average frame rates of 156 frames per second with the graphics set to autodetect and the resolution at 1920 x 1080. With the graphics all the way up, frame rates fell to a still very playable 70 fps. That's higher than the ASUS N550JV's 52 fps, as well as the HP Envy TouchSmart's 33 fps.
The Acer has no problem playing more resource-intensive games such as "Bioshock Infinite" and "Metro Last Light," so long as you don't use the highest settings. "Bioshock Infinite" ran at 65 fps with the graphics set to low and the resolution at 1920 x 1080. Boost the graphics to max and the resolution to 1920 x 1080, however, and frame rates plummet to an unplayable 20 fps.
Similarly, on "Metro Last Light," the Acer Aspire V3 reached 37 fps with the graphics on low and resolution set to 1920 x 1080. When we turned up the graphics to max and set the resolution to 1920 x 1080, frame rates hit just 9 fps .
Most users don't purchase 17-inch notebooks with the intention of using them unplugged for long periods of time. Still, we wish the Aspire V3 had somewhat better endurance. On the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing with the display brightness set to 40 percent, the Aspire V3 lasted just 3 hours and 55 minutes. That's just short of the desktop replacement category average of 4:08. The HP TouchSmart Envy 15 and the ASUS N550JV lasted about an hour longer, at 4:54 and 4:52, respectively.
Software and Warranty
Acer Device Fast-Lane provides users with a series of device quick settings, including buttons for toggling Airplane Mode, Scroll Lock, Caps Lock and Touchpad Lock. The Acer Power Button app is just as it sounds, an app that provides users with a fast way to shut down their system, without having to go into the Windows 8 Charms menu. The app also features quick options for putting your laptop to sleep and restarting.
If you want a more powerful system, the $1,299 Aspire V3-772G-9460 offers the same Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM and Nvidia graphics chip, but swaps in a 1TB hard disk paired with a 120GB solid-state drive.
Need to save some bucks? Go for the V3-772G-6468. For $829, that system features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-4200M processor, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics chip.
If you need a bit more speed and endurance, check out the HP Envy TouchSmart 15. You'll lose out on the Aspire's 17-inch display, but get a longer lasting battery and faster hard drive for about the same price. If you prefer a bigger screen, though, the Aspire V3 is a solid pick.
|CPU||2.2-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4702MQ|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||32GB|
|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||Super-Multi DVD|
|Optical Drive Speed||24X|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 740M with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM|
|Wi-Fi Model||Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter|
|Touchpad Size||4.25 x 3.1 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||DC-in|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Combo Headphone/Mic Jack|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 2.0|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Warranty/Support||One-year International Travelers Limited Warranty|
|Size||21.9 x 12.4 x 3.4 inches|