This low power consumption should allow the ACER Aspire V5-571G to excel in terms of battery life. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case as Acer has been rather miserly by equipping the notebook with a small 37-Wh battery which negates the potential for longer battery runtime.
In the Battery Eater Reader’s Test, the notebook only managed 5 hours 34 minutes using the Power Saver profile, minimum display brightness, and disabled wireless modules. With the Wi-Fi module enabled and the display brightness set to 150 cd/m2, we achieved a runtime of 3 hours 15 minutes. By comparison, the Asus U56E with its high-capacity A42-U46 74-Wh battery managed over 7 hours in the same scenario.
To determine minimum battery life, we used the Battery Eater Classic Test. Using the High Performance profile, wireless modules enabled, and maximum display brightness, the battery was drained after 92 minutes. A full recharge took approximately 3 hours.
One of the primary factors behind the generally-high price points of current ultrabooks is the use of expensive, high-grade construction materials for the case. To circumvent this premium, Acer instead uses a simple but nonetheless appealing plastic case for the ACER Aspire V5-571G. The black, matte finish found on all surfaces further increases the utility of the case by reducing the visibility of fingerprints even if it falls short of doing the same for dust.
Compared to other 15-inch devices, it weighs only 2.3 kilograms (5.1 pounds) as opposed to the 2.5 to 2.8 kilograms (5.5 to 6.2 pounds) that is typical for this class. Moreover, the 23-millimeter (0.91-inch) thickness stands out at first glance. Despite its considerable footprint, the notebook appears easily manageable and portable due to this slim build. Had the 2-centimeter (0.79-inch) display bezel been a bit narrower, an even more compact exterior could have been possible.
While many ultra-slim notebooks suffer from stability issues, some seem to do worse than others. In our testing, we observed that the case of our ACER Aspire V5-571G depressed slightly in the areas around the optical drive and below the keyboard under strong pressure. Nonetheless, the base unit appeared relatively robust. However, flaws in workmanship gave reason for criticism. Our test sample showed a large gap between two plastic parts at the front and required us to properly set the two pieces together. While this could be an isolated incident, we also observed shortcomings in other areas such as the generally uneven material transitions.
Despite its rather stiff hinges, the display lid can be opened with one hand albeit with a tendency to rock back and forth momentarily after doing so. Even without expensive magnesium or carbon fiber reinforcement, the display lid proved to be quite solid with only marginal twisting. Overall, we consider the build quality to be acceptable but otherwise uninspiring given the price.
At this point in 2012, the faster USB 3.0 specification has become a standard feature even on cheaper notebooks. As such, it is only natural that the Aspire V5-571G also offers such a port. It is accompanied by an additional two USB 2.0 ports and should be sufficient for most users.
Next to the HDMI port is an elongated, proprietary socket which provides Gigabit Ethernet and VGA output via an included adapter. While we would have appreciated DisplayPort and Thunderbolt interfaces, the latter is found almost exclusively on Apple MacBooks and the Aspire V5-571G has neither.
Apart from the 2-in-1 card reader on the front, all other interfaces are located on the left side. This leads to two possible restrictions. Firstly, left-handed users will likely have a difficult time keeping cables and connected devices out of the work area. Secondly, the spacing around the individual ports is rather tight and will create problems with wider USB connectors. Acer could have avoided these problems by placing some of the ports on the rear instead
For the Aspire V5-571G, Acer used almost the entire width of the notebook for a full-sized chiclet keyboard complete with number pad. The 15 x 15 millimeter (0.59 x 0.59 inch) keys are made from a black plastic that does not seem to be of a particularly high quality. On the other hand, we had no complaints regarding the stability and workmanship of the keyboard. All keys are cleanly fitted and firmly attached. The placement of the “<>|” and the “#” next to each other on the German keyboard layout is slightly odd but the layout otherwise conforms to the standard layout.
Acer appears to have responded to previous criticism of their notebook’s input devices and the Aspire V5-571G definitely surprised us with a pleasantly comfortable typing experience. While the tactile feedback was a bit on the soft side, it proved to be precise and uniform across the entire keyboard. The keys have a very low travel and emit only minimal noise even when our fingers were hammering away at the keyboard. This trait qualifies the notebook for use in quieter working environments. Our only suggestion for improving the keyboard would be to use slightly more concave keys, allowing fingers to hit key-centers more intuitively and improve typing feedback. (SAMSUNG AA-PBAN8AB batteries)
The Aspire V5-571G uses a Synaptics touchpad located on the left half of the wrist rest. The touch surface has dimensions of 10.5 x 7.8 centimeters (4.1 x 3.1 inches) and supports modern multi-touch features such as pinch-to-zoom. The touchpad also includes palm detection, a feature dubbed “smart sense”, which is designed to prevent unintended input. The smooth touchpad achieved high scores in terms of precision and ease of movement, provided the user’s hands are dry.
The Aspire line follows the current trend of integrating the mouse buttons into the touchpad itself. While clicks are meant to be detected only on the lower edge, the firm buttons can be activated on almost the entire surface if sufficient force is applied. We are not entirely happy with this particular solution and would have preferred a classic-style touchpad with dedicated buttons.
Features & Specifications
This very slim notebook is powered by the Intel Core i5-2467M processor clocking at 1.6GHz, and is paired with 4GB of RAM. This has Intel’s HM77 chipset (Panther Point), and yes, supports USB 3.0 natively. On the power front, this is pretty much an ultrabook-ish spec. The power package doesn’t end there. The Femi family Nvidia GeForce GT 620M with 1GB dedicated video memory is hiding in there somewhere, and more than separates it from the conventional ultrabooks. The GT 620M is paired with the Intel HD 3000 graphics in switchable mode.
Quite clearly, the idea was to keep this as slim as possible, offer basic computing without even remotely sacrificing performance but not forget the casual gaming demographic as well.
As with the Aspire V3 launched at the same time, the V5 also gets a 500GB hard drive. This is a conventional HDD, and not an SSD as the form factor would probably betray. We would prefer a smaller capacity SSD any given day, considering the performance boost it offers. However, the masses still would prefer 500GB on an HDD over lets say 128GB on an SSD, and Acer is rightly appealing to the wider demographic. (ACER AL12A32 batteries)
Most users also seem to prefer a bigger 15.6-inch display to a 13-inch one these days, probably because the machine then doubles up as a multimedia consumption device as well. Same is the case with the Aspire V5, with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. We quite like the brightness levels on this one. For most usage scenarios, you will ideally turn down the brightness quite considerably before it reaches the comfort zone. Crispness of the display, again something we really appreciated in the Aspire V3, is carried through here as well. Black levels aren’t very good, and that is probably the only niggle. But then again, this will only be a niggle for those movie buffs who are a bit finicky.
The Aspire V3 comes with Dolby application preloaded, but we really didn’t find any difference in the audio quality, with the same content playing back! This is the same thing that we noticed with the Aspire V5 as well, but we can’t blame the Dolby system for not doing its job, but it is probably the small laptop speakers that cant really punch out the difference.
A whole bunch of preloaded apps on the ACER V3 – backup manager, games, webcam software and user guide, plus some third party utilities which include Cyberlink’s MediaEspresso and MyWin Locker. We prefer laptops with a clean Windows out of the box, and even for testing we remove all software or just re-install a clean copy of Windows.
Speaking of which, the ACER Aspire V3 comes with Windows 7 Home Basic (64-bit) preloaded. That is a bit of a surprise, and we expected the Premium version to be the basic one, of not the Ultimate. We understand that the Aspire V5 and even the Aspire V3 are on a budget drive, but limiting the most critical thing (at least for user experience and functionality) is not the correct way to go about it.
The Acer Aspire V5-571G allows the manufacturer to fill a gap in the market. The unique combination of 15-inch form factor, ULV-hardware, the notebook an interesting alternative to similar models such as the Asus U56E.
The use of both the Core i5-3317U and GeForce GT 620M provides a sound basis for decent power and moderate power consumption. Most current 3D games ran smoothly even though the Aspire V5-571G lacks the overhead of a more powerful gaming notebook. The sleek ultra-slim design also houses other integrated assets such as Bluetooth 4.0.
While the fact that the case is made from plastic rather than metal is not of significant concern to us, the flaws in workmanship found in our test sample certainly do. The highly reflective, low-brightness display and the relatively tiny battery remain our primary criticisms.
As a result of the above, the notebook seems unsuitable for mobile use. This certainly raises a question as to whom the Aspire V5-571G is targeted. Those working from home or office are likely better off with the Aspire V3 Series. While it may be somewhat heavier and bulkier, it offers a better overall package for the same price.
More info: laptop-batteries.com.au , laptop-battery.org.uk , battery-store.eu