Is a touchscreen worth it on a budget laptop?
Street price: $575 | By: Acer
Rather than the usual array of Core i3 and i5 processors, buried inside the V5 Touch is a Pentium 2117U. It’s an ultra-low-voltage CPU running at 1.8GHz, with dual cores that are single-threaded. For those who are unfamiliar with this chip, it’s similar in performance to the Core i3-3217U, though with a lower price, slightly lower power consumption and fewer features. The V5’s also equipped with 4GB of RAM and a standard 5,400rpm 500GB HDD instead of an SSD.
The V5 manages to squeeze in an optical drive and while it’s only a DVD drive (not Blu-ray) it’s still a very useful inclusion for those who have to regularly deal with optical media. The keyboard is well-spaced, easy to type on and has minimal flex. The trackpad is responsive and has a great tactile feel.
The V5 has an unexcitingly average 2 hours and 49 minutes of battery life, and is actually a pretty heavy laptop at 2.6kg. It’s therefore not the ideal choice if you’re after always-on-the-go portability. Connectivity is good though, with two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 socket, HDMI output, card reader, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Via an included adapter you can also easily add a LAN port or VGA output.
The 15.6-inch screen had good viewing angles, but the colours are a little muted. The 1,366 x 768 resolution is lower than we would like, but it’s a necessary trade-off to keep the price down. Fortunately, the 10-point multitouch display is excellent and we had no problems navigating our way through Windows 8.
If we had to accuse the Acer of anything bad, we would have to say it’s a little boring, albeit in an affordable, practical Toyota Camry kind of way. Shopping online, the Acer can be found for under $600; at that price, it’s an excellent buy.
Pros : Very affordable, optical drive, 15.6-inch screen.
Cons : Average battery life, boring style, heavy.
Rating : 8 out of 10.