Acer Aspire V5

Light and cheap, but gaming capable? Acer combine a frugal ULV processor and a GeForce GPU in a slim case. This could result in a mobile, light, gaming capable notebook. Our review reveals to what extent this is true.

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For the original German review, see here.

Acer"s V5 series consists of severalthin and cheap notebooks of the usual form factors (10 to 15.6-inch). Acer targets price-conscious customers interested in ultrabooks. The Aspire V5-471G-53314G50, is a14-inch devicewhich will be put through all the tests to determine its worthiness as the right pick for the consumer. We have already scrutinized thevery cheapV5-431 (Celeron 887, HD Graphics) and two 15.6-inch models of the same series, theAspire V5-531 (Pentium 967, HD Graphics) and theAspire V5-571G (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 620M).

We compare the review sample toLenovo"s IdeaPad S405 (AMD A8-4555M, Radeon HD 7600G) andSamsung"s Series 5 535U3C (AMD A6-4455M, Radeon HD 7500G).


Case


The Aspire V5-471G is completely made frommatte silver plastic, which unfortunately leaves the impression of the device being cheap. The surface if the case is not textured. TheIdeaPad and theSamsung are also completely made out of plastic parts. With a height of23 mm, the Aspire only marginally exceeds the ultrabook specification (max. 21 mm) and is still very portable.

There are some places on the body of the laptop where the different components are not seated properly. The touchpad and the keyboard bezel do not sit flush with each other. The base unit is reasonably robust and gives slightly when pressure is applied. But, the palm rests are significantly more rigid. If the base unit is picked up at its front corners, it can hardly be twisted. Even some thicker and heavier notebooks perform worse here. In contrast, the lid can be twisted much more. The hinges hold the lid securely in place, but it tends to teeter. It is possible to open the lid with one hand.


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The notebook is covered by matte silver plastic
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There is only a small maintenance hatch on the bottom
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The Aspire V5-471G is light and portable

Connectivity


The slim notebook does not provide much space for interfaces. Nevertheless, it delivers the most important ports including USB 3.0. TheIdeaPad andSeries 5 basically offer the same interfaces as the Aspire, but Lenovo omits the VGA. All interfaces of the V5-471G"s are on the left side near the front and in an unfavorable position. However, a better solution was not possible in this slim computer.


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Left side: power-in, slot for breakout calbe (VGA and Gigabit Ethernet), HDMI, USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, combo-audio
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Right side: Kensington security slot, DVD burner
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Front side: card reader (SD, MMC).

Communication

TheWLAN module is fromAtheros (AR5WBW222)and supports standards 802.11 b/g/n. The reception performance is very good. The WiFi control of Windows displays full reception quality in close proximity as well as two floors below the router. The Gigbabit Ethernet chip (RTL8168/8111) of the V5-471G is made byRealtek. In addition, the laptop featuresBluetooth 4.0. A web cam is incorporated in the display bezel, but it does not create really convincing images. They are a little bit blurry and pixelated.

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Accessories

As usual these days, Acer and many OEMs hardly include any accessories. Apart from a quick start poster, a quick start guide and the warranty information, only a breakout cable, which adds a VGA and a Gigabit-Ethernet interface are available in the package. There are no other connection options available on the laptop.

Operating System and Recovery

The Aspire comes pre-installed withWindows 8 (64 Bit). But, an installation DVD is not included. If you want to replace Windows 8 with Windows 7, you can download drivers for Windows 7 from Acer"s web site.

Thanks to a recovery partition, it is easy to restore the laptop to the state at delivery. Unfortunately, it is not possible to launch the recovery by pressing a key combination after powerering on, but only when Windows has booted up. Therefore, the user should create a recovery DVD, which allows launching the recovery in case Windows does no longer boot. The web site"Intowindows.com"provides an English guide on how to create such a DVD.

Maintenance

On the underside of the notebook, there is a small maintenance hatch and behind it, there are the two RAM slots. One of them is occupied by a 4 GB module. The notebook supportsup to 8 GB of RAM. An additional 4 GB RAM module currently costs about 15 to 20 Euros (~$20 to $27). If you want to replace the hard drive or clean the fan, you have to remove the underside of the case. However, we did not try this at the time of the review.

Warranty

Acer provides a 24 month bring-in warrantyfor theV5-471G. In case of a defect, the customer has to send the device to Acer. TheIdeaPad and theSamsunghave similar warranties. The warranty of the Acer can be extended to three years for about 70 to 80 Euro (~$95 to $110), but the warranty extension must be bought and activated within 365 days after the purchase of the notebook.


Keyboard

The Aspire comes with abacklitchiclet keyboard. The main keys are15 x 15 mm in dimension. The key travel is short and the pressure point is clearly discernable, but the key resistance could be better. Unfortunately, the keyboard flexes when typing. This is especially true in the center, while it gets better towards the edges. The size of the enter, backspace and right shift key are something to be happy about as they have the usual dimensions. These are often somewhat too small in small notebooks. However, the arrow keys are a little bit (too) small. But, thanks to their position and key spacing, they can be comfortably used anyway.

Touchpad

Acer equips the Aspire with aClickpad from Elan, i.e. A touchpad without dedicated mouse buttons. The whole pad is like a switch. Depending on the finger position on the front part of the pad, either a right or a left click is registered. The touchpad is about9.7 x 6.6 cmand so is sufficiently big for comfortable use of the supportedmulti-touch gestures. Each gesture can be individually activated and deactivated in the configuration menu. The smooth surface has good gliding traits. The travel of the touchpad is short and the feedback is clearly audible and perceptible.