The Acer V5 Series of laptops stands a little above the budget V3 range. There is a range of differently configured Acer Aspire V5s – the Acer Aspire V5-571 we reviewed is one of the easiest to find on sale, a still budget-priced and specified 15.6in notebook with a balanced set of specs for its price.
The 1.4GHz Intel Core i3 processor can nearly be considered as “entry-level” these days, and Acer is here using up stocks of last year’s Sandy Bridge chips. But this is paired with a very decent 8GB of memory.
In the WorldBench 6 real-world speed test, this combination gave a comparatively low result of 84 points, but still plenty quick enough for daily tasks.
The Acer Aspire V5-571 won’t win many beauty contests. Its functional design would look chunky next to any number of ultrabooks and that brushed aluminium-effect plastic won’t fool anyone. An advantage of the build material is that it’s relatively light.
The keyboard is nicely spaced, but shallow keys make long periods of typing feel a bit of a chore. There’s more compensation in the 5in trackpad. It’s great for multi-touch - though the left and right buttons were occasionally difficult to hit.
For a laptop with so much real estate to play with, there are few connection options. The Acer Aspire V5-571 has a full-size HDMI port next to three USB ports (one of these USB 3.0) along the left edge of the machine, and an SD Card reader at the front. Check the right edge and you’ll find something that ultrabooks almost universally lack - an optical drive. In this case, a DVD±RW rewriter.
Still, Acer has an eye on the future. While you’ll find built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, there’s no ethernet port. Nor any VGA port either. Instead, the laptop ships with a bundled adaptor that adds them when you need them.
We’re on the budget side of the dividing line with the Acer Aspire V5-571 and Acer has gone for budget over speed with a standard hard disk rather than an SSD. We’d be happy to trade extra space for faster boot times at this end of the market, but solid-state storage at this price is not currently an option.
On the whole, we were pleased with the V5’s display. The native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels isn’t enough for full-HD, and is coarse for a 15in panel. Still, the screen was more than adequate for viewing streaming video on Netflix and iPlayer, with a good level of brightness and deep colour reproduction.
In our game test, the integrated Intel HD 3000 Graphics only just cut it. The V5 mustered a lacklustre average of 16fps with settings at Maximum in FEAR. This improved to a more impressive 50fps with FEAR’s recommended hardware settings. It’s worth noting that there’s a version of the V5-571 in the wild with nVidia graphics if your needs lean towards gaming and video editing.
This is a machine that can take on portable pursuits, such as web browsing and productivity on the road. MobileMark 2007 told us it could squeeze 302 mins (5 hours) from the Acer Aspire V5-571’s battery before having to recharge.
The Acer Aspire V5-571 is very much a budget choice. Its quite-usable battery life, competent screen and generous dimensions make it a workable choice for a portable machine, but you may pine for more power with challenging computing tasks.