Starting early this year, Acer was one of the very first to launch Ultrabooks in the Indian market. The company, however, doesn’t seem to have forgotten the segment that might still be looking for a notebook. In a series of recent launches, Acer has also included the Aspire V5, a mid-range laptop that aimed at serving productivity as well as multimedia needs well.

Design

The Acer Aspire V5 weighs in just shy of 2.5 kgs. The laptop sports a massive 15.6-inch screen and despite it doesn’t feel too bulky. Not unlike Ultrabooks, you can easily carry this one around your house although taking it to your workplace everyday might be a bit of a stretch (no pun intended)! The notebook has a HD LED display - Acer constructs most of its laptops models with this display and has also integrated the proprietary CineCrystal technology.

At first sight, the V5 does look well-built or rather well-designed. The shiny Misty Silver body looks neat however; the entire body is made up of plastic. And sadly, you are constantly reminded of this while you put the laptop to use.

Keyboard

The island-style keyboard on the laptop is well laid out. However, the keyboard, like on many other budget laptops, is not backlit. This is a bit of an inconvenience if you want to access any of the functions while you are comfortably tucked in bed and watching your last episode of The Vampire Diaries for the day! So, if you want to, for example, reduce the volume levels you have to turn to your phone’s flash light or lower the lid to illuminate a bit of the keyboard.

The full-blown section to the right of the keyboard hols the dedicated number pad and the usual Home, Page Up/Down and End buttons. Owing to the fact that most typing and clicking was way to the left, I barely ended up using these set of buttons. One aspect of the Acer Aspire V5’s design that I found a little annoying was that the multitouch keypad is positioned a little off-centre. The fairly large trackpad on the V5 supports basic multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom. It looks sleek but seems like it's acting out every once in a while – detecting multi-touch gestures when you didn't intend any. Thanks to the wide screen, the laptop has enough space for a full-fledged keyboard with a separate number pad like you would find on PC keyboards. But because the QWERTY bit is what people would use most, the touchpad is located right below it, giving the touchpad an overall left-skew in the laptop’s design.

Multimedia

The default aspect ratio of the display is 16:9, ideal for watching movies on. We had the chance to watch an entire season of the Office, the US mockumentary on the Acer Aspire V5. While there’s no problem whatsoever with the image quality, the viewing angles on the Acer Aspire V5 are pretty average. Some of the Acer Aspire models that we had reviewed earlier this year didn’t pack in great acoustics but the Acer Aspire V5 is a surprising deviation from the norm.

Equipped with Dolby Advanced Audio v2, the speakers streamed music superbly well. With most laptop speakers failing to perform either on volume levels or sound quality, the Acer Aspire V5 was one of the very few that managed to deliver excellent audio. You definitely don’t need an extra pair of speakers to go with this one!

The Acer Aspire V5 comes with an optical drive. Hallelujah! At a time when most manufacturers have been opting out of the DVD-drive option either to save space or cost or both, seeing one on the Acer Aspire V5 was a big relief.

One of the biggest pluses of the Acer Aspire V5 was the fact that it barely had any heating issues. I used it for hours on end but it never felt like that laptop was any warmer than it should ideally be. The vents are placed to the sides thus taking all the heat away from the components inside. They have also enabled venting throughout the keyboard to keep the system cool. And, the vent-free bottom allows it to be used comfortably on a lap or pillow without obstructing air flow.

Performance

The Acer Aspire V5 runs Intel's Core i3 – 3217U processor. The graphics capabilities are taken care of by Intel HD Graphics 3000. The laptop has a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of memory.

Connectivity options are aplenty on the Acer Aspire V5. Three USB ports, an HDMI port, a microphone jack line up the left bezel. An SD card reader is placed at the front bezel, which also houses the battery indicator. The optical drive tray and a Kensington lock slot are the only functionalities found on the right. The Acer Aspire V5 managed to deliver a decent number of hours over the days that we used the laptop. At minimum brightness, Wi-Fi connected and multimedia playing, the laptop gave us company for close to five hours before we had to plug the power source in.

Love – Good display, connectivity options, excellent sound

Hate – Plasticky build, average keypad

Rs 32,083

mahananda.bohidar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 14, 2012)
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