on July 10, 2012
This laptop is exactly what I wanted. A mid weight laptop with a core i5 processor and a dedicated graphics card to be able to run Guild Wars 2 when it releases in August. Most other laptops here on Amazon in this price range had the processor I was looking for but only had integrated graphics, which are not recommended for gaming. I really like the LED screen, it has a light gloss look to it but not too shiny. Great thin, sleek design. The glossy cover looks great when it is clean but is a fingerprint magnet. When I was looking over the product features I overlooked the Dolby speakers it had and was surprised at the quality when I put some music on YouTube. I mean, they don't get VERY loud but for a laptop the quality is fantastic. I plan to upgrade the 4gb of ram currently installed.
As for gaming, I ran a test on the System Requirements Lab website to get a picture on how this machine would run Guild Wars 2. It said that this PC would run GW2 as "Fast". I even ran a test on how it would run Mass Effect 3 and it exceeded both the minimum and recommended specifications. That being said I will update once GW2 releases on how well it runs the game and maybe Mass Effect 3 if I decide to buy it.
i5 processor + dedicated video card at $600
Overall build quality is great
nice keyboard + full numeric keypad
Though not a big deal at all
Fingerprint magnet cover
I wish the power button was located in the center instead of the left corner, I already turned it off a couple of times while moving the laptop, no biggie just me being clumsy.
I had to return my laptop because I'm probably not going to receive financial aid this semester, so I'm going to use the money from the refund to help pay for classes/books. ALTHOUGH I still highly recommend this laptop and was very disappointed that I have to go back to my old clunker of a desktop, GW2 will also have to wait. I will still be tracking comments on this review to answer any questions anybody might have to the best of my ability/memory.
on July 13, 2012
- update BIOS updated to 1.10, important for HDD/RAM upgraders
- update Intel HD Driver to 126.96.36.19961, important for the everyday use.
- update NVIDIA driver to latest WQHL driver: 306.23, important for GW2, Borderlands 2, and Torchlight 2.
- Remember to use Ninite.com to download latest Flash and other good backend stuff.
First and foremost, remove a star or even two if you're going to do any hardware modification such as HDD replacement, or even just reinstalling a fresh windows to remove bloatware. A fresh install of windows won't see much of the laptop hardware at all, and requires that you get all of the drivers from Acer's website then burn them to a disc. Please note that both the LAN and WLAN will not function, meaning that you must grab the drivers from another computer. To top it all off, acer's drivers are quite behind but are still required for your hardward to even see any updates for it; biggest being the Nvidia Optimus duo. Get the acer version drivers for both Intel HD and Nvidia, install, then get the latest versions of both from their respective websites and reinstall (the beta 304.79 is the only Nvidia driver that will install correctly under optimus and only after you update the Intel HD to it's own latest drivers). It goes past being a critical annoyance.
For the raw hardware, though, this is a decent deal. The specs are good enough to play modern games on at least mid (and more than likely high) due to the combination of the still-current GT 630M and the somewhat-low 1366x768 screen resolution. LoL and Dota2 load up just fine, as does Diablo 3. GW2 runs fine at mid, but that's the beta build.
As far as video performance goes, you CAN run the supercodec madVR at full settings with 1080p content, which is an accomplishment at this price. However, the laptop does not play blu-rays without an external player, so good luck using it for that.
As for editing, AdobeSuite/Blender sees the GT 630M and defaults to that, and every last tool in the suite works fine and with a decent speed. A few tweaks and you're ready to go. Note about Adobe Dreamweaver CS6: it will complain on install but otherwise run fine once you rearrange it.
TurboBoost looks erratic but it's intended this way. It will dynamically underclock the CPU when it's not being used to conserve power, or kick it up to 3.1GHz (though it likes to keep it at 2.8GHz) when under load. Without the notification going, however, you'll never notice it.
The laptop can get a bit warm (not scalding hot, though), so I'd recommend a stand if you're to use it on your lap. Grab evga's GPU tuner if you want to underclock the GT 630M a bit if you don't plan on using it to spare you some heat/power consumption.
Ports are in a pretty standard place. Nothing going on here. Overall design-wise, it's nice and thin. Thinner than expected, actually; you may want to figure out a bag for it when travelling. As the other reviewer said, though, fingerprint magnet, even if you've recently washed your hands (but nothing a little plastic polish / microfiber cloth every once in a while can't fix).
Battery life is as stated so long as both TurboBoost and Optimus are working as intended. Otherwise it is a bit lower.
Quirks? If you have large hands you're better off turning off the touchpad and using a mouse, as you'll bump into it constantly. The fan sounds a bit erratic, thanks to TurboBoost/Optimus. The sound is LOUD but just the slightest bit tinny through the build in speakers. The touchpad's left mouse button won't register near it's center as it feels pretty solid around the divider.
But if you want, you can replace the HDD with a SSD and get some nice G.Skill RAM and this thing will replace your desktop pretty easily for a great price. Just be careful when reinstalling Windows.
Hardware specs for the price
Can actually last a while on battery
Reinstalling Windows WILL be a pain
Has a few, non-gamebreaking quirks
Bad support from Acer software-wise
on July 30, 2012
This is my first review on Amazon. I never written a review before, so forgive me if I mis-speak or have typos.
I bought this laptop to replace my venerable Asus g50 Vt-X5 after I burned it out. Being a broke college student, this laptop had everything I needed and under 600$.
Decent dedicated GT 630M graphics card. I've only played some light F2P game such as Dragon's Nest, and it runs it well. I will update after I test out Skyrim on it....but read the Cons first to understand why I haven't yet. *I have D3, but game is no fun, probably wont even bother reinstalling it.*
Keyboard : I love it. It is very responsive and much improvement over my old G50.
I also love the full sized 10 key pad. I use to work as an office clerk, and it's wonderful to be able to utilized the keypad fully.
Good speakers and sound system over all.
Weight is good for a laptop this size. Its 5.7Lb compared to my old 7.98lb is a vast improvement.
USB 3.0 - this was one of the main reasons I choose this Aspire over the Lenovo Z575 PU (with the Radeon HD 6650M).
i5 is blazing fast.
Easy access to RAM and HD.
Thin profile...relative to other 15.6" laptops.
*updated con*- Venting of hot air seems weird. I had my laptop on a cool master pad. While playing games, the keyboard gets noticeably warmer. I guess it would be nice in the cold winter months of MN. But whats strange is that the underside is cool. I'm guessing, hot air is seeping through the keyboard. My old G50 have a cool keyboard except were the keyboard is directly over the gpu. I don't quite understand this design.
Plastic is finger print magnet.
Webcam does not look good.
Could use more USB ports. 2x 3.0 + 2x 2.0 would be good.
Feels flimsy, but probably stronger than it seems.
\ key and Enter key is combined...not much of a con, but slight annoyance.
5400rpm HD. Seriously, the industry need to move on to the 7200 rpms.
Screen : This is where this laptop lose the 2 stars for me. I can deal with other cons, and so far up to this point, all cons were just nitpicky stuff. However, I can not stand this display. I can deal with 1366x786 resolution. For under 600$, you wont find 1080p. That's not the issue.
The issue is, this display is cheap and unsatisfying to use. Sure it's brightly lit, but the white feels like you are looking at the sun. I have adjusted the brightness and the colors enhancement for the last 2 days, and I can not get this screen to look nice. My high quality profession photos looks over exposed (very white), and not vibrant at all. 720p movies would become "color noisy". Also when I scroll text up or down, the text flashes in and out like the cheap monitors my school's computer lab uses.
I finally hooked up the laptop to my 720p TV to see if it's a GPU issue. It's not. The image on my TV is beautiful. At least I know the HDMI works well. The colors were vibrant, the white is not overwhelming, contrast is good, and very well detailed.
My wallpaper is a Skyrim scene where the dovhakin looks over the valley. On my display, the snow on the mountain is not white, it's blue. I can't get it to be white. If I tried, they look like glowing snow and burn my retina. Did I mention toning down the "brightness" does not help? If you do that, your other colors becomes faded.
However, during the time my laptop was connected to the TV, I did manage to make it look slightly better(Skyrim's snow is still blue or glowing white balls) I founded it better to disable the window's calibration. That did nothing. Instead use the Nvidia control panel. I've been at it for 2 days...and at my wit's end. I will be looking at lenovo's comp and see how their screens stack up. I will update. This screen issue has me on the borderline of returning this laptop. I like everything else, but whats the point if I can't stand looking at the display.
Btw, my old G50 never had screen issues like this. It's not just me, my wife agrees it's not pleasant to look at.
I bought an extra 1 x 4 gb ram and a sandisk SSD. Both were great buys and well worth the money. The laptop comes with 1x 4gb ram, and open slot. Bios is older 1.6 verison but still recognized the sandisk SSD. I burned the recovery disks and installed the OS onto the SSD. Windows loads in less than 15 secs. Hardware was easy to install. Just be sure to select install to FULL FACTORY setting, otherwise you would just waste 3 hours. However, if I do not find a solution to the screen issue, this will all be for naught :/.
It is August and I have returned the laptop, and I added another noticeable con. The screen and my eyes didn't mix. I looked around and found a few other reviews of this laptop on other sites, people didn't seem to have this problem I had. Maybe I just got a bad one? But there is another review by I think a blogger/tech reviewer on the 9945 model (I think it's that model), which is still a v3-571g, that found the screen is pretty bad. I assume both the 6602 and the other model used the same screen. Also I need to mention the viewing angle on my laptop was pretty bad. I decided to fork some more money to get a better screen. Too bad, cause this laptop was pretty beast for the price.
on August 18, 2012
It took nine days from the time I ordered the laptop until it was delivered, but it was free with 'supersaver shipping' through Amazon, so I'm not complaining. I ran a Passmark performance test on the laptop right out the box and it scored a 1623, which is significantly higher than any other machine I could find in the 500-600$ range.
Then, I started with the upgrades. The Nvidia graphic interface can be adjusted in Windows to a high performance mode which will override the Intel HD 3000 graphics. The Nvidia 630m gives a huge performance boost. You can see the frame rates go through the roof when you run a video game or any demanding graphics program. I was seeing a 300% frame rate improvement in a few of the tests, but the Nvidia GPU puts a serious drain on the battery if you aren't plugged in to the wall. Next, I installed 4GB of additional DDR3 RAM in the empty slot. I went with the 20$ budget RAM that Amazon suggested as an accessory. And finally, I spent a few hours cloning the 5400rpm hard drive onto a new Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD. It was my first time cloning a drive and it turned into a huge headache, but I learned a lot. I'm seeing read speeds of 480 MB/S on the new SSD. After I got windows up and running on the SSD, I went through and uninstalled all of the bloatware that Acer pre-installs and cleaned up the junk programs running in memory. After I was finished, I ran the Passmark test again and this time the system scored 1926. That's a huge score for a laptop configuration that costs less than 800$. Its almost exactly on par for performance with the most expensive version of the new Macbook Pro with the Ivy Bridge i7 processor that costs twice as much. With the upgrades, my laptop boots up in less than ten seconds. After using Gparted software to properly align my SSD, my Windows Experience Index is showing a 6.4. The Windows score doesnt seem to factor in the Nvidia Graphics card, so my score is based on the Intel 3000 graphics. After reading through the forums, the estimated graphics score with the dedicated card would be at least a 7. According to Windows, "A computer with a base score of 6.0 or 7.0 has a faster hard disk, and can support high-end, graphics-intensive experiences, such as multiplayer and 3‑D gaming and recording and playback of HDTV content."
I'm very impressed with the performance so far. As a test, I simultaneously ran a dozen windows in Google Chrome, an HD movie, BitTorrent, Warcraft 3, Photoshop, and Microsoft Word. The processor gadget in Windows showed that the processor was running at only 4 percent. It handles every game I've tested on the highest settings. So far I've played Call of Duty 2, Grand Theft Auto 4, Fallout 3, Warcraft and Borderlands. It also handles video editing 1080p HD movies without any lag.
Price/performance for this laptop is insanely good
Intel i5 processor easily handles multitasking
Open slot for additional DDR3 memory
easily accessible hard drive bay
Photoshop CS6 opens in 2 seconds (after SSD upgrade)
Ridiculously fast 10 second Windows boot time (after SSD upgrade)
instantaneous wake from hibernation state
Nvidia Graphics card can run demanding video games at high/medium detail
4-5 hour battery life
DVD drive is handy (a lot of manufacturer's are phasing them out, especially in the ultrabooks)
Wireless internet worked perfectly right out of the box (because I hate downloading drivers)
Acer back-up disks and system image failed to install correctly on my Windows re-install for the SSD (my fault? possibly.)
A lot of bloatware and unnecessary programs running in memory pre-installed by Acer.
As described by other users, the black plastic outer shell on this laptop definitely shows off finger prints.
A bit heavier than it looks, but definitely reasonable
built-in speakers are not that great (they never are)
Microsoft Office 'starter' only includes Word and Excel
on September 2, 2012
I had no issues with this computer. loved it so much but touchpad is very bad. Gaming was very good! Good i didn't receive a defective one here's the fps for minecraft
Minecraft 80 fps to 100 on very far settings.let me explain pros and cons
-fast intel i5 2450m
-good screen resolution
-nvidia geforce gt 630m with 2.1 gb vram = awesome
-fast boot up
- speakers are very loud!
-bunch of bloatwares
-4 gb of ram instead of 6
-5400 rpm instead of 7200 rpm
overall, i would rate this 4.3 because of the touchpad issue
if you people need help upgrading this laptop ask me.
I'll be upgrading this to 8gb of ram
All in all i would recommend you using a usb mouse.
If your thinking about buying this computer buy it!!
But please. if you surf the web i would recommend you using a usb mouse!
on October 4, 2012
I was in the market for a decent gaming laptop and for the price ($599 at the time) How could I say no? It has a dedicated graphics card, 4 gig of memory easily upgradable to 8 gig ($20) and an I5 processor. One thing to note about the graphics card is I had some issues with the drivers as stated by others, I found that I had to use beta drivers (Nvidia)for it (for now) because going directly to Nvidias website the driver installer they "recommended" for me the installer would not recognize that I had that card. Don't bother calling Acer support for the driver issue, they give you that if its not certified by Acer it won't work which is crap, and only had one default driver that was badly out of date. The beta drivers work great, and gives me the video support I need.
Minor annoyance with bloatware that comes installed on this machine, easy enough to remove but some things are handy to keep like the registration info ect ect.. Able to play newer games on it very well like Darksiders 2, Torchlight 2, Team Fortress 2, on medium to high settings, plays Borderlands 2 perfectly on medium to high with no issues. It will collect fingerprints but I don't care really because still looks very nice with piano finish. I also don't have an issues with the touch-pad. I have it disabled when I am using an external mouse source, without a mouse if you use correct typing position/posture you won't bump the touch-pad. I love it so far and I have owned it for few months now no issues to report yet. Defiantly would recommend if your in the market for a nice gaming laptop.
It has been noted that it does not come with bluetooth! While this isn't a deal breaker for me it is stated that it does when it does not. Acer probably won't give me any support on this issue, may try anyway.
on September 8, 2012
First of all, this laptop is great for the price $599.
Intel Core i5-2450M
GeForce GT 630M
with 4gb ram and 500gb HD
looks pretty good for a affordable $599 gaming laptop.
It can definitely run league of legends no problem and I can run Diablo 3 with high setting lag free.
But the real problem, like some other reviewers pointed out, is the temperature.
It seems like sandy bridge CPU would definitely go pretty hot under load thanks to turbo boost. And without a good cooling system, it will go above 90 degrees easy. Sadly, I don't think this acer laptop has a good cooling system. Maybe this is where they cut some costs off after the fingerprint magnet cover.
I have Cooler Master NotepalX2 on and my CPU would be at 45-50 idle, and go above 90-95 whenever I'm gaming anything heavier than league of legends. Reapplying thermal paste would probably help. But I don't want to do that yet so my only other choice was to decreased maximum processor state. It will cut down the performance but it works. I decreased it to 80% and my temp while gaming stays around 70-80.
I can confirm that I can still play Diablo 3 reasonably but I'm not sure if this is going to work for more demanding games like Skyrim. Disabling visual themes and desktop composition on properties should help a little if you haven't already.
Overall I'm still satisfied with the purchase. If I wanted a real gaming computer, I should have just went for a desktop. But this laptop is great for regular usage and light gaming. Battery last 4-4.5 hours on web surfing + word duty. Display / speaker quality looks great. Just wish it didn't had fingerprint magnet cover and a better cooling system.
on August 26, 2012
*1st- PRICE! Only $599
*2nd- Great design: discrete, elegant, light, ergonomic and perfect screen size for a laptop.
*3rd- Excellent performance: It's a $600 laptop, the performance that you get for it is even more. I've used Alienware and ASUS as gaming laptops, and this computer can be at the same level for the half of the price (Not kidding).
*4th- Gaming experience for a low price: The 2.4/3.1 Core i5 and the Nvidia 630M make this computer fully capable of a very acceptable gaming experience. So far I have tested Skyrim on high settings, BF3 High-Ultra, L4D2 on Maximun settings and Street Fighter X Tekken also with Max settings and all of those ran perfect! (And only for $600)
*5th- Nvidia Optimus: Allows you to save energy and switch between integrated and discrete graphics just by configuring the software.
*1st- Battery life: I'm not even sure if this is a Con, since the system has so many good thins and can be used as a Middle-High performance computer, but well, battery depending on the Power plan you're using will last between 1 to 2 and a half hours.
*2nd- Possible Overheating: It is a laptop with gaming specs but the design is not that gaming oriented, so the GPU can get really hot if stressed, after playing Skyrim on High settings for about 2 hours just went to 78C degrees, but the overheating can be a possibility, so try to be prepared with a cooling pad or something.
*3rd- Bloatware: 1 hour removing the bloatware that came with the system, a lot of Acer programs that just take space from your HDD.
I'm looking forward to upgrade the system to 8Gb of ram and maybe a Hybrid-SSD HDD, so I can have even more performance than a $1500 laptop from other brands.
100% recommended if you are looking for something that allows you to do the basic stuff and also play video games with no remorse for the money you paid.
I just noticed that the system came without Bluetooth (The advertisement states that goes with BT 4.0), and well I just asked for support at acer.com, but they really suck and just told me to contact the reseller since they are not resposible for such a thing.
At least the Amazon's customer service is great, and they offered me to refund some of the total money for the issue, so I can buy a new BT module.
on August 7, 2012
almost 3 months with the laptop, everything is perfect. tested several programs like autocad 2013, lightroom and photoshop, had no problem. about gaming, skyrim, mass effect and crysis 2, no big deal for the video card. THE FRONT PART CAN GET SCRATCHED PRETTY EASILY SO BUY A GOOD BAG. buy it, it's worthy.*
ok, i'm gonna make it quick...
i searched for months for a laptop that could satisfy my needs; I'm a industrial design student and I needed a laptop that could run 3d modeling programs, like solidworks, and design programs, like photoshop or illustrator, without any problem... and that also could satisfy my gamer side :).
so after a long search I found this laptop and it's awesome so far!.
it's my first laptop so i'm no one to say that "it's cooler than X laptop", but it's an nice machine for the price. it runs photoshop cs6 and lightroom (the programs I've tested so far) smooth like ... butter; it run Skyrim in High quality (not ultra q, but it's not an alienware, so it's great anyway) with barely no lag and that's pretty weird to find on a laptop... at least those that I've tried...
however here is the pro and cons...
- pretty fast with only 4gb of ram... upgrade it to 8gb and I guess it's going to fly!
- run heavy programs without any problem.
- the 2gb video card is a beast!
- no problem with the wi-fi
- nice design, i'm so in love with the keyboard
- the speakers are good as well, haven't tested them in movies yet... so dunno... but good with music, pretty loud :D
- it have a nice weight, i walked from my house to my college with it in a messenger bag, and it wasn't so uncomfortable to carry, of course think about the charger weight also, but only the laptop in your hands is easy to carry, but please mind that it's NOT an ultrabook.
- the touch pad have a pretty good response and have a couple "smart touch" functions.
- i tested the camera through skype and it look fantastic, even with poor light.
- the battery life have been pretty good for me, it last like it says, something like 4 hours unplugged. [the video card, while you are gaming, use a lot of battery, of course. however, I got some lag when I play without the charger so I just play with the charger plugged]
- the screen it's NOT full hd, so if you are use to an apple pc screen or any 1080p definition screen you'll feel uncomfortable with it. don't get me wrong, games, pictures and videos look great, but from some angles the screen will look weird and if you get close enough you will notice the pixels... i have no problem with it but maybe you won't stand it.
- the video card gets seriously hot while you're gaming, i'm a casual gamer, so i play for 2-3 hours and them leave it for later, but it get hot in the process anyway. this is normal thou, it's a powerful video card so it's supposed to do that, but it does't have a proper cooling system so it gets hot(well, I guess so, i dunno XD) but right after you quit the game the laptop returns to a normal temperature really quick, so if you take some breaks the machine will be just fine... of course it's pretty hard to just "stop playing" sometimes XD.
- THE BLACK PIANO PAINT it's so annoying!! I'm not so picky about it but it's not cool watching all those fingerprints all over your laptop and have to clean it time by time.
-the inside of the laptop charger input and the 3.0 usb port have a... "not so cool" blue color :/... however it's not the big deal.
I will update it later if I find anything else.
however it's a great laptop, and you'll not find anything with the same spec at this price, it's a great deal!
(*this is my father account)
on September 8, 2012
After shopping around, I settled on this laptop. Best buy I could find that came with a decent video chipset. Nice boot up time. It has nice cpu power for the price too. I've installed a few games so far like Skyrim. Plays flawless on high graphics. Would recommend.