Acer joins the Windows 8 party with touchscreen Aspire notebooks and ultrabooks

Acer M5-481T Front and Rear

Vizio isn’t the only PC manufacturer making news today by adding Windows 8 powered devices to its range, as Acer has now joined the fray with ultrabooks and notebooks using Microsoft’s new operating system. There’s lots to go through here, so make yourselves comfortable.

We’re starting with Acer’s Aspire V5 Series laptops, of which there are three new models — the 11.6-inch Aspire V5-171, the 14-inch Aspire V5-471 and the 15.6-inch Aspire V5-571. Information on the 11.6-inch Aspire is thin on the ground at the moment, with the press release concentrating on the two larger PCs.

This is probably because they both have touchscreens to accompany Windows 8, complete with 10-finger multi-touch support, plus an oversized trackpad beneath the keyboard, in case you don’t feel like a stretch. They’re equipped with either an Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processor, all of which are third-generation chips, and the screens are all 16:9, backlit LED panels.

Acer V5-571P FrontThe 14-inch and 15.6-inch notebooks come with the option of a 500GB or 750GB hard drive, plus a built-in DVD burner, and other features such as a 1.3 megapixel webcam, DLNA connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Acer also boasts of a feature called Acer Instant Connect, which allows the computer to join a Wi-Fi network in 2.5 seconds; four times quicker than other methods.

While not as thin as an ultrabook, Acer says the new V5 notebooks are 30-percent thinner than “previous value-based notebooks,” but fails to provide an actual figure. Even the weights are estimates at this point, with the 11.6-inch V5 being “about” 3 lbs/1.36 kg.

If the 14-inch or 15.6-inch Aspires have caught your eye, then you’ll be pleased to know that prices start at $749, but expect to pay considerably more for the 15.6-inch model with a speedier chip inside. Non-touchscreen version will also be sold, and they start at $499, but no price has been provided for the 11.6-inch Aspire V5.

Acer M5 ultrabooks only at Best Buy

Next, Acer has two new Aspire M5 ultrabooks, but you’re going to have to work harder to find these, as they’re exclusive to Best Buy stores. You’ll be able to choose between the 14-inch Aspire M5-481PT and the 15.6-inch Aspire M5-581T, both of which are constructed from aluminum and have a “minimalist and modern look.”

Again, no dimensions are provided, but the 14-inch M5 weighs 4.6 lbs/ 2.08 kgs, the same as the 14.6-inch V5 mentioned above. Battery life is said to be 8 hours on a single charge, and the PowerSmart cells will last three times longer than regular notebook batteries, thanks to their ability to maintain a high level of capacity, even after a thousand cycles.

The 14-inch M5 has a touchscreen and like the V5 models, it recognizes 10-finger gestures, while the 15.6-inch M5 has a standard non-touch screen. Inside each one is a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, along with a 500GB hard drive and a 20GB SSD for a 2 second wake-from-sleep time. Other features include a backlit keyboard, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out and a DVD drive.

If you want the touchscreen, 14-inch Aspire M5, it starts from $799, while its larger, non-touch sister machine is slightly cheaper at $699. All Acer’s new Windows 8 machines will be on sale across the US from October 26.