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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long and dark, shiny and black
"Long and dark, shiny and black ... open up your engines, let `em roar, tearin' up the highway like a big old dinosaur!" said Springsteen about Cadillac Ranch, and the same could be said of this four hundred dollar laptop from Acer. I got it as a desktop replacement to run Windows 8 as well as indie PC games, and I think it's going to work out fine.

It's a big,...
Published 20 months ago by Jon Folkers

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acer Aspire
I purchased this comuter for my son as his "big" present for Christmas. When we charged it up it would not boot up! Extremely disappointing to hm. It took about 2 1/2 hours on the phone with technical support and about 10 days waiting for the restore discs (for which they wanted to charge me twenty dollars) to arrive. They did send them for free after I...
Published 19 months ago by Todd R Scott


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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long and dark, shiny and black, December 7, 2012
By 
Jon Folkers (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
"Long and dark, shiny and black ... open up your engines, let `em roar, tearin' up the highway like a big old dinosaur!" said Springsteen about Cadillac Ranch, and the same could be said of this four hundred dollar laptop from Acer. I got it as a desktop replacement to run Windows 8 as well as indie PC games, and I think it's going to work out fine.

It's a big, heavy, shiny black plastic thing, portable but not light. Hinges and latch move well. The screen is bright and sharp, with adequate but not great viewing angles. I wouldn't mind watching a movie on this screen, but it would be difficult to share it with someone else given these viewing angles. I suppose you could consider this a privacy feature. The chiclet style keyboard has full size keys with good tactile feedback and an intelligent layout. The full-size number keys are particularly welcome. I wish it were backlit but that's something for a higher-end machine. Functions such as media playback, volume control, and brightness control require two hands -- one to press the function key on the left side, and another to press the desired action. Not optimal but fair enough considering the price.

There's a webcam with microphone and a "Dolby Home Theater" speaker grille up front, both of which work as expected. The large trackpad is off center with the screen but lines up nicely with the keyboard, and is responsive to touch. The trackpad buttons are easy to hit with your thumbs. Up front is an SD card slot, which SHOT THE COVER ACROSS THE ROOM when I tapped it to eject it. Be careful with your photos when loading them onto this machine!

Ports on the left side of the machine: Power (where it should be, near the recessed power button), gigabit ethernet, a large exhaust vent, a full size VGA port, HDMI out, USB 3.0, microphone, and headphone jacks. Ports on the right side: Kensington security slot (I wonder about its usefulness given the plasticy feel of the machine), a pop-out DVD tray, and two USB 2.0 slots, unfortunately right where a right-handed person would want to use a plug-in mouse.

Wifi-N is superfast, the 500GB hard drive speed is a bit pokey but acceptable, system boot speed is quick, and graphics performance is wonderful for the price. A8 Vision from AMD is considered the budget gamer card of choice, and it does not disappoint. I threw every 3D game from my Steam collection at it, and the only title that required me to turn down the graphical detail was Star Wars: The Old Republic, and then only down halfway while running at full resolution.

The system ships with Windows 8, which is a mixed bag -- check the reviews elsewhere for that. It's as schizophrenic as they say, but it's probably going to get better with software updates. The Acer suite of pre-installed software is innocuous and easy to remove.

Verdict? If you want an inexpensive laptop that can play games and run Windows 8, this is certainly worth a look.

UPDATE: I've added some new hardware to this machine. It's no longer a four hundred dollar laptop, but know this: the machine can take 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM (despite the manufacturer saying it maxes out at 8GB), which bumps the Windows memory rating up to 7. Add a solid state hard drive and the storage i/o rating goes up to 8. Both upgrades, especially the SSD, really make this machine /sing/.

UPDATE #2: The Wifi driver is inexplicably set to power down by default, which explains the unreliability some people have reported. Solving this problem requires you to simply uncheck the box in the wireless network interface Properties pane.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A $600+ laptop for $400, January 24, 2013
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This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I've spent a few days with this laptop and I absolutely love it. Though it has shortcomings, the outstanding price/performance far outweighs them. I could throw a slew of benchmarks at you that I've done on this laptop, however, that would do little to represent real world performance. I'll try and keep this as short as I can.

Right off the bat I should say that I upgraded to 8 GB of RAM. There are two RAM slots and you can throw up to two 8gb SODIMMs in this thing for a total of 16gb if you'd like. Although, I would recommend just 8gb. If you want to optimize your graphics performance (which uses the system RAM) spend a little extra and get memory clocked at 1600mhz. I always recommend G.Skill memory products and after installing 8gb of it into this laptop, (for gaming) I jumped an entire preset up in most games, sometimes two presets. I mention this right away because I want to make it clear that upgrading the RAM in this machine will make it shine.

The included HDD is 5400rpm. It's passable, but will slow down loading for larger programs where a lot of data is involved like Photoshop, video editing software, and games. I wouldn't necessarily recommend an upgrade to an SSD unless you want to put up the cash for a high capacity drive. I'd stay away from 7200 rpm HDDs unless you want to cut your battery by 20% or if battery capacity isn't important to you.

Speaking of battery life, It's alright. It's average for it's class, getting around 4 hours on a full charge - more if you conserve with no audio, video, or heavy use. Less if you are doing any gaming while not plugged in. Keep screen brightness down for best results.

The keyboard is fine. It's comfortable to type on and the trackpad is well positioned and sized. My only gripe with input devices is the keyboard not being backlit. The numberpad is a nice touch also.

The screen, while average resolution, is pretty nice. Color reproduction isn't very good (for all you artists), however text is very readable and the display generally looks great in most lighting conditions. The viewing angles are just okay, but some may consider that a positive for privacy.

The speakers are above average for laptops in this class, however nothing amazing. The sound is clear and gets fairly loud. However, as is a problem with most laptops, bass is almost non-existent.

Enough ports to get the job done, and USB 3.0 is a nice touch, albeit a little anemic at a single port.

Windows 8 is okay. I'm sure that it will only get better with time, but I've encountered many bugs with the OS so far that have almost made me switch to 7. After getting them fixed though, I'm pleased with how the OS works. The learning curve can be steep if you're used to 7 and not prone to picking things up quickly. Microsoft took 8 out of the oven before it was done, but it's really close to being a great operating system.

A quick note on upgrading. Everything is easily accessible via a removable hatch under the unit towards the front. Good call, Acer.

The processor, while not as powerful per core as a lowly Sandy Bridge Core i3, is actually quite speedy with four cores and "turbo core". I've had no bottlenecks with everyday use and gaming. The only situation where the AMD silicon has let me down is multimedia editing. Photo and video editing is clearly this CPUs shortcoming. While not terrible, the i3 outclasses it by at least 10% under full load. The Intel architecture is simply better and more efficient. Don't let this hold you back from purchasing this if you're on the cusp however. I, myself, am a photographer and use have used this in the field on numerous occasions to great effect.

As I said right off the bat, the graphics performance can be greatly improved with an upgrade to the RAM, as the integrated solution uses the onboard RAM as VRAM. For you gamers on a budget, this is a great buy! But, you should manage your expectations. This is a laptop. The hardware is specifically designed to work with a 1366x786 res screen. If you plan on hooking this up to a 1080p display, remember you might need to back off on the post processing a bit. While I don't have specific benchmarks as I couldn't get my license of FRAPS to play nice with Windows 8, here are a few games and basic presets this machine is capable of with the specified RAM upgrade: Fallout 3 - High (Barely Playable on Ultra) , SW:TOR - Medium , Skyrim - High , Borderlands 2 - Medium , Saint Row/Third - High , Portal 2 - MAX.

I hope this review was helpful. I highly recommend this laptop for almost anyone. With or without a few hardware upgrades, it is worth every bit of the price tag and more.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Wife's Favorite Early XMAS Present, November 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I have an older Acer laptop, and it's served me well for about the past 5 years. My wife was finally up for having one of her own. We wanted state-of-the-art, but didn't have an exorbitant budget.
I was hesitant about Windows 8, but she loves it! We're learning through trial and error what programs work with Windows 8 (LibreOffice won't install, yet OpenOffice will).
Still, a real good laptop.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Acer product!!!, November 23, 2012
This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I owned 2 Acer Aspires previously. The last one was fully loaded and more then I ever needed, picked it up for around $500. Well it officially was laid to rest last night but the hard drive was still good. I went to Compusa and found this Acer. Another great deal on a BEAST of a computer. I paid $450 ($50 mail in rebate) so $400 after rebate. I have been playing on it for a good 2 hours and love, love, love how fast this system is. I am a big movie downloader and with a 500gig HD this puppy takes whatever I throw at it with ease. Again I am a dedicated Acer customer, its my 3rd laptop in many years and again......great product! Good work Acer!!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ton of bang for the buck, December 27, 2012
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This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
In a house with over a half dozen computers (iMacs to full blown gaming rigs), two laptops and a few tablets, weaklings are quickly discarded. This little rig runs great, is more than capable of casual gaming, holds a charge and is very easy to get used to. Windows 8 is still a bit frustrating, but we're getting there. Got the Logitech T650 with it, and the two work together perfectly. Learning gestures is something completely new, and is much harder for me than my 9 y/o son who this laptop was bought for. He had limited exposure to Win7, so is taking to Win8 like a duck to water, and once you get over the appearance differences, there is a familiar interface underneath, so I can make adjustments and set some things up for him. The smaller working area of the touchpad is a benefit to his small hands, but often makes my old hands feel like clumsy hams on ropes, and using Win7 since beta, every day, on many different PCs significantly steepened my learning curve for 8. I'll keep Win7 on my workhorse rigs, but for younger, more permeable minds, Win8 really is very slick and works in a fairly obvious fashion.
The laptop itself is very functional, looks great (but is a fingerprint magnet), and so far has no heat issues. Everything works as it should, software installs and uninstalls without a hitch, and there doesn't appear to be an overabundance of bloatware pre-installed. The first couple of hours, as usual, were uninstalling all the "free" junk, setting up his user account, syncing with apps I already had from G Play and Amazon that were compatible, getting a good AV, virtual disk and network/file explorer installed, a media suite (we have a media server for all the household devices and as it has to be cross-platform, no PC will natively be able to play the files), set up his email and online accounts, and he was off to the races.

It is all plastic, so time will tell if will hold up, but at this price point, we're not expecting a tank. Have not found any "quirks" like a few of our other laptops have had (Toshiba in particular), and so far, it is reasonably fast, runs like a little top, and is remarkably unremarkable in that it just does what you want it to do without any quibbling. I don't know what else one could ask for without spending a LOT more. Retina? No. Server? No. Tournament FPS gaming rig? Not quite. But for a student/gamer/netizen/app junky on a budget? Perfect.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acer Aspire, January 17, 2013
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This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I purchased this comuter for my son as his "big" present for Christmas. When we charged it up it would not boot up! Extremely disappointing to hm. It took about 2 1/2 hours on the phone with technical support and about 10 days waiting for the restore discs (for which they wanted to charge me twenty dollars) to arrive. They did send them for free after I complained to "level 2" support. The computer is operating fine since spending approx. 3.5 hours reloading the computer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best deal for me, December 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I bought this because of the AMD a8 and the 7 series GPU and was for some light gaming and i must say this laptop didnt disappoint..its sturdy and the USB 3 was fast..Its really lighter than my other asus k53e core i7 2630qm,6gb,640...Acer rocks...I"ll say this was my best bang for my buck... I'm buying 2 others for my friends..5 stars
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good product (with a need of some improvements), November 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
Let me start of with saying that this is a excellent choice when it comes to low priced laptops. Great processor and surprisingly powerful graphics; only make sure to go to AMD website and download latest graphics card drivers (improves windows experience index from 4.0 to 5.6).
I did some minor improvements to this pc right out of the box (like swapping the harddrive for SSD and upgrading the RAM from 4gb to 8), but that only cause I can't have anything without personalizing it.
Only thing I don't like about this laptop is the extremely shiny, fingerprint magnet wrist-pad and screen cover, but I can get over it since the laptop was so cheap. Overall it feels as a really good built, should last for a while.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Acer product!!!, December 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
I owned 2 Acer Aspires previously. The last one was fully loaded and more then I ever needed, picked it up for around $500. Well it officially was laid to rest last night but the hard drive was still good. I went to Compusa and found this Acer. Another great deal on a BEAST of a computer. I paid $450 ($50 mail in rebate) so $400 after rebate. I have been playing on it for a good 2 hours and love, love, love how fast this system is. I am a big movie downloader and with a 500gig HD this puppy takes whatever I throw at it with ease. Again I am a dedicated Acer customer, its my 3rd laptop in many years and again......great product! Good work Acer!!!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most bang for your buck laptop, December 26, 2012
By 
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This review is from: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) (Personal Computers)
Bought this laptop after much research. Used it for two weeks and was really please.

I upgraded the ram to 8gb and is able to play Call of Duty: Black Ops II smoothly.

Acer also include a windows 8 tips card to make transition to the new OS easier.

The only con for this laptop so far is the touch pad, which can sometime get in the way during typing. I get it fixed by adjusting the sensitivity in the control panel.

This is the best notebook for under $400. Period.
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