Acer Aspire V3 £480
28th Jun 2012 | 08:30
A great home laptop for the whole family
The Acer Aspire V3-571 is an excellent all-rounder, which marries top performance, decent build quality and a vibrant screen. It's suitable for the whole family, and shows the type of bargain that can be picked up as manufacturers look to the next generation of hardware.
The Aspire V3 is a 15.6-inch laptop, with an attractive looking black plastic chassis that does a great job of looking classy and keeping the cost down. It's not too weighty either, and at 2.5kg it's light enough to carry when needed, just maybe not all day.
Under the Aspire's hood you'll find a second generation Intel Core i5-2450 2.5GHz processor, which is an excellent model that's rarely to be found on such a low cost laptop. The processor scored extremely highly in our lab tests, with top end performance. A laptop double the price would struggle to top this in terms of raw grunt for photo editing, dealing with large files and multitasking.
Graphics on the Acer Aspire V3 are distinctly mediocre though, and the V3 uses the Intel integrated chip, which posted a low score in our lab tests. That said, all 1080p full HD content played seamlessly, and we were even able to play some basic games as well.
Elsewhere, the theme of more for less carries on. There's 6GB of RAM, which is above average and kept the system responsive while we used it for day-to-day office tasks and web browsing. There's 500GB of storage, which is standard for laptops at this price, and is enough for large collections of media.
Battery life was distinctly average and our stress tests killed the V3 in three and a half hours of looping high-definition video. This is a solid performance, and you could watch a movie on the go, or get more than four hours of 'normal' web surfing without using the charger.
Battery life: 227 minutes
3DMark 2006: 4,462
The 15.6-inch screen is great for movies and while the 1,366 x 768 resolution isn't exactly pin-sharp, Acer has jacked up the contrast, which makes colours feel deep and luscious. The upshot of this is that often the outside of the screen will appear darker than the middle, but on the flip side, excellent viewing angles and good colour vibrancy makes movie watching a pleasure.
There's also a reflective coating on the V3's screen, which makes it hard to use in direct sunshine, and even bright overhead lamps caused distracting reflections.
Elsewhere, the build is solid and there's no real flex on the lid or chassis. One small niggle is the keyboard, and the keys have a very low travel, and sound noisy when typing. We were able to type quickly, but if you do a lot of long essays or work, you may want to seriously consider a laptop with more comfortable, cushioned keys.
The Acer Aspire V3 is a solid capable laptop with power that belies its price. The keyboard is the only let down, and if you're looking for a good family laptop, this is seriously worth considering.