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Acer Aspire V3 review

Verdict

Blistering application pace, but this giant laptop can't compete on any other front

Review Date: 11 Jul 2013

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £666 (£799 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Next to the latest crop of high-power laptops, the Acer Aspire V3 (part code: NX.M9VEK.001) looks dated. It's a beefy laptop, with a huge 17.3in display and a cheap-feeling champagne-and-black plastic chassis – it isn't a patch on the svelte Apple MacBook Pro or the excellent Samsung Series 7 Chronos.

However, there's no doubt this 17.3in desktop replacement is a machine from 2013: it includes one of Intel's factory-fresh Haswell processors. In fact, it's the first big laptop we've seen with a Haswell chip, and the Core i7-4702QM packs a punch. It's a quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading, so it appears to the operating system as eight virtual cores, and its 2.2GHz stock speed rises dynamically to 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost.

Acer Aspire V3

This particular Core i7 CPU is one of Intel's weakest quad-core Haswell parts, but that wasn't obvious in our performance tests. The Acer's application benchmark score of 0.94 is exemplary: it's slightly quicker than the Samsung Series 7 Chronos, which scored 0.9 in the same tests.

The Haswell processor is partnered by a discrete graphics core – an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M. This returned an excellent score of 63fps in our 1,600 x 900 Medium quality Crysis test, and at the Acer's native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 it returned a just-about-playable 28fps – enough gaming power for anyone.

The rest of the specification is suitably high-end. Twelve gigabytes of RAM is more than we see in most desktops, let alone laptops, and there's a Blu-ray drive – an increasingly rare commodity in laptops. Connectivity is handled by dual-band 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4 and Gigabit Ethernet, and the 1TB hard disk provides ample storage. There's only one downside – it isn't an SSD. The drive's sequential read and write speeds of 95MB/sec and 93MB/sec are sluggish compared to the MacBook's 256GB SSD.

Acer Aspire V3

We expect powerful laptops to suffer away from the mains, but Haswell processors are designed for efficiency as well as power, and the Acer put in a surprisingly good showing in our tests. You probably won't want to lug the 3.2kg V3 around much, but when you do, you'll get reasonable battery life. Despite its high-power components, the Acer lasted for 5hrs 54mins in our light-use test.

The 17.3in, 1,920 x 1,080 panel isn't as impressive. There's no touch support, and quality is mixed. It's bright, at 392cd/m2, but despite decent contrast of 712:1, the overall impression isn't great. The biggest problem is poor colour accuracy: the Acer's average Delta E of 7.5 is way off, and makes images look flat and insipid.

The Acer's ergonomics are equally mixed. The Scrabble-tile keyboard has a solid base, and there's plenty of consistent travel on each key. The keys are full-sized, too, and there's room for a number pad. The touchpad is average, however, lacking the premium feel of the Samsung's, and Windows 8's edge-swipe gestures worked inconsistently.

Acer Aspire V3

On the positive side, there's plenty of connectivity, with pairs of USB 2 and headphone connectors on the right-hand side, two USB 3 sockets on the left-hand edge and both D-SUB and HDMI display outputs. The front edge houses an SD card slot, and there's enough upgrade potential to keep tinkerers happy.

The battery can be removed and replaced, and removing the large panel on the Aspire's underside reveals two SODIMM memory modules, the Wi-Fi adapter and a 2.5in hard disk. All of these can be replaced, and there's even room to expand, with a second 2.5in hard disk bay and one free mini PCI Express slot.

That's one reason you might consider the Acer Aspire V3 over the Samsung Series 7 Chronos. The other is the price, which at £799 is reasonable for such a powerful laptop. On every other count, though, it lags behind, with poorer display quality, shorter battery life and a cheaper design.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

It is a ....

17" desktop replacement laptop we expect it to be large and heavy. The price point is pretty strong. You say its fast, how about getting £50/60gb worth of SSD. Bung it in that spare bay, reconfigure and get back to with just how really fast it is and how much longer the battery life is.

By davidk1962 on 11 Jul 2013

?

"The drive's sequential read and write speeds of 95MB/sec and 93MB/sec are sluggish compared to the MacBook's 256GB SSD."

That's a bit unfair comparing an SSD to a hard drive!

By rhythm on 11 Jul 2013

seems like a decent investment. the chassis looks okay and for the price point given the internals you'd expect something to be compromised. It isn't going to be lugged about too much so should be sturdy enough for desk usage.

By mr_chips on 16 Jul 2013

pricing links are for wrong model

Is there any chance the pricing links can reflect the model reviewed?

By sherlock62 on 21 Jul 2013

Acer windows rip off

I purchased an Acer laptop just over 2 years ago, also purchasing Windows 7 operating system already installed.
As instructed I created a recovery disc of Windows 7 for use in case of the need to re-install.
Recently the hard drive failed (after only 2 years!) which I replaced at my own cost. I used the recovery disc to re-install Windows 7, but a short way into the installation, the process abruptly stopped, popping out the disc and giving me the message that files are missing or faulty on the copy of Windows 7.

I have asked Acer to provide me with a copy of Windows 7 to replace the faulty copy they provided, and have been told that there is a charge of £51. I pointed out that I've already paid for Windows 7 and their response is "Unfortunately we would not be looking to offer free of charge recovery discs", basically just telling me to **** off. Acer have sold me a shoddy product, and are not providing any form of customer service, on a product costing £500. My impression is that they have deliberately provided a faulty copy of Windows 7, in order to extort more money from customers a couple of years down the line.
Be warned, if you buy Acer, you are buying an expensive product without the quality, and you will receive zero customer service. You will also get a faulty copy of Windows so they can rip you off when you have to re-install.

By simonfha on 26 Sep 2013

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