Customer Review

312 of 334 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value if you can live with its compromises, December 2, 2012
This review is from: Acer Aspire V5-571P-6642 15.6-Inch Touch Screen Laptop (1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U Processor, 6GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, Windows 8) Silky Silver (Personal Computers)
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On paper, this laptop has a lot going for it - a 3rd generation Ivy Bridge i5 dual core processor, 6 GB RAM, a 15.6" multi touch screen, a 5GHz wifi adapter (Atheros AR5BWB222), 3 USB ports (1 USB 3.0), 5 hour battery life (as per the product specs - in reality this is about half that), and a modern design aesthetic.

Unfortunately, the more I used it, the more I ran into its limitations, and hence my 3 star (It's Okay) rating.

1. Performance.
Its Windows Experience Index numbers (on a scale of 1 to 7.9) are:
Processor (6.9), Memory (7.1), Graphics 4.5, Gaming (6.2), Hard disk (5.9)

The V5 is really hurt by its anemic Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip (only 128MB of dedicated video memory); as well as by its 5400 RPM hard drive.

2. Construction
This is a handsome laptop, but its cut corners soon become apparent with use - it feels plastic-ky and less well finished than my other laptops.

3. Usability - Touchpad
The touchpad is located too far to the left making left clicks a challenge, has a stiff click action, and tends to lose sensitivity when performing click-drag operations (when closing Modern/Metro apps, touch pad drags were often ignored.)

It supports Win8 actions such as invoking the Charm menu, but these were easy to trigger inadvertently yanking me out of my thoughts.

4. Usability - Keyboard
The keyboard is firm, full sized, and backlit. However, some keys are simply too small, and the Caps/Num Lock keys provide no indication when active.

5. Usability - Touch screen
The touch screen is the perfect complement to Windows 8's Modern/Metro interface, and is natural to use. However, right click and click drag actions were harder to pull off, and I kept resorting to the mouse.

Reaching across the keyboard can be an uncomfortable action depending on user position.
Touching the screen can also be sacrilegious for those sensitive to screen smudges :)

6. Screen
The display was sufficiently bright, with adequate color reproduction. Its 1366x768 resolution is measly for a 15.6" screen, but has the benefit of making text easier to read and icons easier to click - since each pixel is larger.

7. No built-in Ethernet/VGA ports
In a tragic design decision, these ports are only available using a separate adapter cable. That means I not only have to pack this itty bitty connector each time, but I also have to worry that I will misplace it :(

8. Battery life - even with light use, the battery ran down in 3 hours. This is too short for mobile use.

9. Integrated Optical Drive - a nice touch, but as expected at this price point, Bluray is not supported.

10. Software
This unit was surprisingly clear of bloatware (except for NTI Media Maker). Even the trial Windows Office 2010 is a download link. Unfortunately, Acer was just as sparing with useful software.

Who is this for?
###########
This laptop seems to be aimed at users with light to moderate usage needs - it should be adequate for Internet browsing/streaming, general home use, and for school homework. The larger pixels at this resolution and screen size should also be easier on older eyes.

However, gamers, road warriors, developers, and other power users will likely be better served elsewhere.

Conclusion
#######
While this may seem to be a lot of laptop for the money, I found that there were some material compromises.

How satisfied you will be with this laptop will depend on which of these compromises matter to you.

Happy Computing!
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 6, 2012 10:18:57 AM PST
swac870 says:
Thank you for your excellent review!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 12:53:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 9:52:28 AM PDT
yw - and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Much appreciated

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 5:21:32 AM PST
Observer says:
Damodar:
Is the touchscreen intuitive enough for a neophyte?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 9:46:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 9:52:38 AM PDT
As far as the hardware itself is concerned, I found the touchscreen to be an integral part of the Windows 8 experience. In fact, this laptop's touchscreen is much more reliable than its touch pad. The low screen resolution also means that you rarely miss your target.

If you are going Windows 8, a laptop with a touchscreen will be more fun than one without.

That said ... the neophyte aspect might be a bigger issue because of the laptop/tablet mishmash that is engendered by the schizophrenic nature of Windows 8. For example, the touchscreen was only marginally useful for Desktop mode applications.

Also note that the "reach-across-the-keyboard"-usage makes touchscreen use more uncomfortable than when using a tablet. I found myself settling into different ergonomic patterns to take advantage of the touchscreen particularly in non-traditional postures (e.g., having it propped up on my chest whilst in bed.)

HTH

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 3:12:49 AM PST
Michael Kass says:
Thank you for this awesome review, do you think it will work with note taking for school? If i had to draw out say math equations on stylus or something along those lines? (and a quick switch between note taking by typing and touch screen for drawing graphs/writing equations)?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 9:53:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 9:52:49 AM PDT
Thanks for the warm words - they were very much appreciated.

I'm a traditional pen-and-paper style note taker, but I'll take a shot at answering your question.

I've used the free trial version of the Note Anytime Windows 8 Store app (Microsoft's official name for Modern/Metro applications) - and found it to be fairly functional and usable for quick notes.

However, while the V5 can open up almost horizontally, your arms will be held outstretched while writing (unless you rest your arms on the keyboard.) Depending on how much writing you do, this may not be physically tenable. You can simulate this fairly easily by pretending to write on the screen of any 15" laptop you have handy.

I'd also imagine that hopping between a note app and a word processor will make it harder to keep pace with the lecture, and be distracting to boot.

Have you considered something like the Livescribe smartpen?

Alternatively, the Lenovo Yoga or the Inspiron 15z might be better suited for your needs.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 7:04:23 PM PST
ErikW says:
I am wondering if you returned this notebook since you were pretty negative on it's construction.
If so, what did you get instead?

I just saw this at BB. Also looked at Asus 11.6. I've heard better things about Asus construction and support.
The small dimmensions at first was appealing, but I found it hard to touch small targets on screen correctly.
I ended up zooming in to enlarge to make it work.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 6:37:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 9:52:58 AM PDT
I agree with you about the size - I am not a fan of laptops smaller than 13.3 inches, and 14 is my new sweet spot.

However, a more important factor than sheer size is the native resolution of the screen.

The Asus 11.6" Q200E seems to have a resolution of 1920x1080 (based on the fact that it claims to be a HD display, though it doesn't explicitly state it on the product page) vs. the 1366x768 pixels on the 15.6" Acer V5. In other words, the Acer fits in about twice the pixels into a much smaller screen area - forcing icons and text to be tinier making it harder to launch programs and click controls on the touch screen. The low resolution on the larger V5 (which would normally be annoying) actually works better for touch screen use.

*Side note:* You can imagine drawing a picture by shading in squares on graph paper. A pixel would be each box on the grid, resolution would be the number of vertical to horizontal boxes, and the display size would be the size of the sheet of paper (letter or legal). The V5 fits in 1366 horizontal pixels set up in 768 rows, giving about 1 million pixels spread out over its 15.6" display. With bigger pixels, you get larger icons and text, but you end up with coarser detail and a smaller viewing area.

Regarding the construction: I expect it will stand up to normal use, but it is something you will likely notice as soon as you pick it up. Interestingly, I have also begun to notice some slight play with the battery - and have avoided carrying it by the battery edge to avoid damage to the connectors.

The point I was hoping to make with this review was that the "you get what you pay for" maxim is alive and well with the V5.

Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase decision,

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012 10:55:12 AM PST
David Loring says:
I found your review and responses helpful. In fact, you sound pretty familiar with different products. So, my question is, if you were going to go with a 14"-15.5" touch, i5 processor, 6 GB memory, 500 or so harddrive, optical drive built in, at least one 3.0 usb port, etc., and want good build quality, what are the good choices out there?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 6:50:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 9:53:07 AM PDT
I think that it is awesome that you able to identify the key characteristics that matter to you. If there's one thing I'd add, it would be battery longevity. Yes, we're often close to power sources, but there's a comfort to knowing you can work untethered if necessary.

Also - I'd strongly recommend that you try out Windows 8 and the touch screen to see if this is something you would truly grow to love. My personal usage patterns tend not to favor it, and I'm not sure if this is a cool idea that I'm just not getting, or whether it's a marketing gimmick.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough direct experience with the other choices out there to make specific recommendations.
However, I'd point you at - http://www.pcworld.com/category/laptop-computers/ for current options.

Good luck!
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