Traditionally associated with the budget end of the
market, Acer is making a concerted push into the premium PC space, with
a focus on gaming and design. One of the company's most recent launches
in India is the Aspire V3 series of premium laptops, which come with
some pretty impressive specifications. This is Acer's entertainment and
performance series, so there's none of the usual race to the bottom in
terms of shaving every rupee off the price tag.
When trying to
understand the laptop market, it's easy to visualise a spectrum with
thin-and-light ultraportables at one extreme and desktop-class
powerhouses at the other. While the former sacrifice power for style and
convenience, the latter are never really going to leave their desks and
so designers are free to go overboard. The Acer Aspire V3 series is
right in the middle - not really ultraportable, but not outrageously
powerful either. It will be interesting to see whether Acer has found
the right balance and can give us the best of both worlds.
Look and feel
idea of premium is to use metallic accents. The body is still largely
plastic, but both the lid and the keyboard deck have been accessorised
with aluminium panels. The lid is dark with an interesting dashed
textile-like pattern, while the inner deck has a more common brushed
finish. The silver notched hinge is a nice touch too. The look is pretty
good, but doesn't exactly scream high-end indulgence.
Aspire V3 does win points is in its sturdiness. The hinge is
reassuringly stiff and unlike many other laptops today, the entire upper
half doesn't shake when you're doing your work. There's very little
flex to the lid and the screen doesn't ripple badly when pressure is
applied to the frame from the sides or rear.
We also like the
fact that the screen isn't glossy. You don't get touch capability, but
that really isn't important for everyone. At 2.4kg and nearly an inch
thick, this laptop is also still convenient enough to carry around every
day. On the other hand, we aren't a fan of all the stickers around the
screen and wrist rests.
of the ports are on the left - going from front to back there's a
single 3.5mm headset socket, two USB 3.0 ports (one of which will charge
devices when the laptop's off), an HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet,
old-school VGA, and a Kensington lock slot. On the right, there's only a
single USB 2.0 port and the power inlet, along with the 8X DVD-RW
drive. There's also an SD card slot on the front, nearly hidden under
the laptop's lip. We would have liked a few more USB ports, or at least
for all of them to be USB 3.0.
Keyboard and trackpad quality are
areas where lots of budget laptops trip up, and while Acer has done a
good enough job with this premium model, they are by no means perfect.
The keyboard keys are crisp and travel well, but the layout is cramped,
especially the bottom row and the arrow cluster. It's nice to have a
backlight but there are only two settings - on and off. The power button
is way too easy to hit, but as a safety mechanism it doesn't do
anything unless you hold it down for a few seconds. The trackpad is a
bit wobbly and imprecise, though it does support Windows 10 gestures.
Specifications and software
sells the Aspire V3 in a number of configurations, starting with an
Intel Core i3-5005U processor and 4GB of RAM. Our review unit had a much
more powerful Core i7-5500U with 16GB of RAM. Most of the other
hardware is common across the lineup, including the Nvidia GeForce 940M
graphics, a 15.6-inch full-HD screen, and a 1TB hybrid hard drive with
8GB of flash. Acer refers to this as an SSD, but honestly 8GB isn't even
enough to hold the OS or flush the RAM and let the laptop hibernate
quickly, so it's really more of a cache.
You also get Bluetooth
4.0, Wi-Fi ac, a 2500mAh 4-cell battery, HD webcam, and Dolby Digital
Plus Home Theater sound enhancement. The DVD-RW drive supports M-Disc
media for long-term archival, which is a nice little bonus.
says its products ship with Windows 10 but our review unit came with
Windows 8.1. You're eligible for a free update to Windows 10, but at
this point you shouldn't have to do it yourself. Acer also ships a whole
ton of pre-loaded software, very little of which is useful. There are ads for a few Web services in the form of links right on the
desktop. Spotify, for example, will be of no use to most
people in India. Of course the Microsoft's Office and Intel's McAfee LiveSafe
trials are also preinstalled.
Skype, Foxit Phantom PDF and the CyberLink
trio of PowerDirector, PowerDVD and PhotoDirector are at least
potentially useful for some. Then there's Acer's own Help and Care
Centre apps, plus a suite of apps called Acer Portal, abDocs, abFiles,
abPhoto and abMedia which all require you to sign up for an Acer ID.
Acer Aspire V3 is a solid machine with no major usability problems. The
screen is not as crisp as some of the high-res ones we've seen
recently, and if you can see the pixel grid even at normal viewing
distances which results in a somewhat grainy texture. Viewing angles are
good but colours aren't very rich and blacks aren't very deep. That
might be the tradeoff for a screen that isn't glossy.
were smooth and so were most of our 4K samples. On the other hand Aspire
V3's sound reproduction was underwhelming. The stereo speakers are on
the bottom of the laptop, firing down so sound bounces off flat tables,
but they just weren't very loud or engaging.
Benchmark scores for our
review unit indicate hardware capabilities that are well above the
mainstream mark but not quite at the level of purpose-built gaming
laptops. We were happy to see a CPU score of 269 in Cinebench R15, and
POVRay's internal benchmark rendered in just 7 minutes, 50 seconds.
These can be attributed to the fifth-generation Core i7 CPU.
scores for the Home, Creative and Work run-throughs were 3,260, 3,663,
and 2,913 respectively. The Nvidia GeForce 940M isn't quite a
gaming-grade GPU, but should suffice for older titles or new ones at low
settings. We managed to get 1,429 points out of 3DMark's Fire Strike
test which is less than half of what the HP Omen with a GeForce GTX 960M
managed. This indicates that the Acer Aspire V3 delivers enough power
for entertainment and work that involves heavy processing and
multitasking, but not games.
Sure enough, game tests didn't go
very well. The Unigine Valley showcase ran at an average of 6.3fps with a
maximum of only 11.5fps at 1920x1080 with 8xAA and Ultra quality
settings. Turning AA off gave us an average of 14.7fps and a maximum of
26fps, and it was still quite jerky. Similarly, Star Swarm at default
settings ran at a very inconsistent rate with an average of 17.64fps.
Raider scales well to mid-range hardware, and we found it just about
playable at the Normal quality preset at 1080p. The frame rate averaged
36.5fps and didn't dip below 26.4fps when using the internal benchmark.
also tried Far Cry 4 at its low preset with pretty much every
enhancement turned off. The Aspire V3 gave us an average of 21fps which
definitely dipped during heavy action sequences. Frame times were
irregular, with the average of 47.3ms dipping to 62ms at the 99th
percentile. Crysis 3 also needed settings turned down to the Low preset,
and we still averaged only 18fps.
Battery life was a little
disappointing - the Aspire V3 lasted only 1 hour, 6 minutes in Battery
Eater Pro's standard test. In ordinary usage (not including gaming) with
Wi-Fi on and brightness set to 50 percent, we got four to five hours on
While the fans never got louder than a dull thrum,
we were surprised to feel uncomfortably hot air at up to a foot away
from the vents on the left of the laptop. The centre of the keyboard got
a bit warm but not uncomfortable, and the wrist rests stayed reasonably
cool to the touch throughout.
The specific version
of the Acer Aspire V3 we tested is not available in India just yet. A
variant with all specifications the same, except for a step down to 8GB
of RAM, is priced at Rs. 71,999 (MRP). We expect the one we tested to be
priced approximately Rs. 5,000 higher. If you're sure that you don't
require high-end graphics capabilities, this laptop offers quite a bit
of value. It's versatile and powerful, without cutting corners in the
name of style and without going overboard either.
If you can't
spend so much money, you might consider the Core i3 or i5 versions of
this laptop. Acer says the RAM is upgradeable to 16GB no matter which
one you buy, so you can upgrade somewhere down the line. It will involve
opening the body and most likely voiding your warranty since there's no
access flap, but at least it can be done. For Rs. 45,490 (MRP), the
lowest-end model will have a Core i3 and only 4GB of RAM, but you still
get the discrete GPU, 1080p screen and great build quality, which makes
it a great option to step up from entry-level models.
Aspire V3 is a workhorse which has all the bases covered. It isn't the
prettiest and won't turn heads for any reason, but it has more than
enough power, flexibility and headroom to serve buyers well for at least
a few years. Price (MRP): 8GB RAM: Rs. 71,999; 16GB RAM: TBA
- Good materials and construction quality
- High-end specifications at a reasonable price
- Good overall performance
- Not enough USB 3.0 ports
- Keyboard and trackpad could be improved
Ratings (Out of 5)
- Design: 3.5
- Display: 3.5
- Performance: 3
- Software: 3.5
- Value for Money: 4
- Overall: 3.5