Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review

Examining this laptop point by point, feature by feature, results in too few pros and many cons. Acer is offering too little laptop for too high a price.
Examining this laptop point by point, feature by feature, results in too few pros and many cons. Acer is offering too little laptop for too high a price.
Examining this laptop point by point, feature by feature, results in too few pros and many cons. Acer is offering too little laptop for too high a price.

Highs

  • Low power draw
  • Inexpensive for a touchscreen laptop

Lows

  • Unpleasant keyboard and touchpad
  • Touchscreen use seems an afterthought
  • Short battery life
  • Lackluster performance
  • Poor hardware value

DT Editors' Rating

While the bulk of press attention has been on touch laptops with high price tags, Acer has decided to make touch available at a much lower price point. The Acer Aspire V5 Touch is another example of this effort. Based on the inexpensive almost-an-Ultrabook V5, this model provides touch functionality for as little as $730.

That’s a full $70 less than the listed retail price of its other cousin, the Acer Aspire M5 Touch, and is $20 less than the Toshiba Satellite S955, an entry-level Windows 8 laptop that doesn’t have a touchscreen at all.

Still, while $730 is an affordable price, it’s a long way from the low end of the market. Without a touchscreen, this model costs as little as $500, saving you a whole $220. Let’s see what, if anything, justifies that price gap.

We hope you like silver

Most of the Acer Aspire V5’s exterior and interior is coated in silver plastic that kind of resembles metal. Or perhaps it is silver metal that kind of resembles plastic. We’re leaning towards the second option, but the point is that that we’re not 100 percent sure. Material quality makes it instantly clear that this is an entry-level laptop.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review lid angle

Thankfully, the laptop’s tawdry appearance doesn’t translate to poor build quality. Though the thin chassis groans when handled roughly, it shows no obvious flex. Panel gaps are obvious, though not excessively large, and the lid is as firm as it needs to be. It’s the very picture of adequate – which, since some competitors don’t manage as well, is fine.

Connectivity comes via a single USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a combo headphone/microphone jack. There’s also a flash media slot and an optical drive. Considering competitors often include two USB 3.0 ports instead of one, this array of options is a bit below average.

A poor interface, plus a touchscreen

Keyboard quality is a low point of the V5. There’s plenty of space in this laptop’s interior (it’s a 15.6-inch model, after all), yet Acer hasn’t managed to squeeze in a full-size numpad. Indeed, a number of keys are downsized, including the left-side Tab, the Caps Lock and Shift keys, Esc, the function keys, and more.

Matters are made worse by key feel, or lack thereof. There is very little travel to each key and almost no tactile feedback besides an abrupt stop when a key bottoms out. Even definition between keys is low due to the squat, flat-face key caps. We found using the keyboard for long periods of time unpleasant.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review keyboard Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review keyboard backlighting
Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review touchpad Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review power button

In terms of backlighting, it’s included in the keyboard, but there are no brightness settings. However, brightness can be turned on and off via a keyboard shortcut. We found the light leak from beneath the key-caps distracting when using the laptop in an extremely dark environment.

Sadly, the touchpad doesn’t offer redemption for the keyboard. It’s flat, un-textured and only moderately responsive. Touch gestures do not work well and the integrated left/right mouse buttons offer poor travel.

Using the touchscreen is far more pleasing but produces another problem. This is a big laptop. Using the laptop in a normal typing position puts the touchscreen too far away for comfortable use. Users are forced to lean forward, which isn’t comfortable; nor is physically shifting the laptop back and forth. The laptop is heavy and kept firmly in place by a set of rubber feet.

Another so-so display

Our tests of the V5 revealed a display almost identical to the one found in the more expensive M5. Normally, that might be a compliment, but the M5’s display wasn’t great. This panel offers low contrast, average black levels, and can render only 60 percent of the sRGB gamut.

This all translates to an experience that’s fine for basic Web browsing and productivity but that sucks the life out of movies and games. Dark scenes appear grayish rather than black, details are lacking, and colors often look washed out.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review display

As with most laptops, a glossy display finish is the only option. Unfortunately, the backlight is not bright enough to defeat reflections in a brightly lit room, which makes the laptop difficult to use in any area where the user doesn’t also control the lighting.

The audio quality is average. There is no distortion at maximum volume, which is just loud enough to fill an office with sound. There is also no bass. The result is a tinny sound that works fine for simple videos and spoken-word podcasts, but falls apart whenever it’s asked to play music.

Surprisingly cool

Ultrabooks tend to produce high heat temperatures, and while the V5 is not an Ultrabook, it’s not far from sliding into Ultrabook territory. We had expected the V5 to come close to an Ultrabook in terms of heat, yet it remained cool during our testing. At idle, it warmed to only 89.9 degrees Fahrenheit; and at load, we didn’t measure a temperature above 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of this heat was focused in one spot on the bottom of the chassis. The keyboard and touchpad area were rarely warmer than 90 degrees.

Sound testing didn’t reveal that any compromise had to be made to keep temperatures low. The maxim reading of 46.2 decibels is just barely louder than that of the Aspire M5 and quieter than other laptops we’ve recently tested. The whir of the fan is noticeable but usually isn’t distracting.

My, what a small battery

Though a big laptop, the 15.6-inch V5 ships with a small battery. Its tiny 37Wh unit is about as long and thick as four AA batteries laid end-to-end, which predictably resulted in lackluster battery life. Battery Eater’s load test emptied the battery in 1 hour and 22 minutes, while the light-load Reader’s test lasted just a hair over 4 hours. Web browsing tests consumed the battery in about 3 hours. These results are the worst we’ve encountered in some time.

It’s not as if a large battery would make the V5 an able travel companion, however. Its 15.6-inch frame and weight of just over 5 pounds makes it a poor choice for frequent jaunts across town or country. Acer offers this laptop in smaller sizes without the touchscreen, though those variants also suffer from poor endurance.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review acer logo screen

Power consumption, on the other hand, proved light. Our testing showed this laptop using as little as 11 Watts at Idle (with display at 50 percent brightness) and only 24 watts at load. It also used 23 watts while charging. All of these results are better than average.

No bloat

Our review unit was received with nary a bit of bloatware in site. There’s no built-in third-party antivirus, and no desktop or Start screen apps of any kind, excluding those installed by Windows 8.

We found this unusual, but the laptop we received ran through a first-boot setup sequence when we unboxed it. That indicates it arrived as would any other shipped versions of this laptop. We certainly hope our review unit is representative of products sold to consumers. Acer’s bloatware situation was getting out of hand.

Typical performance

We received our V5 with a Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It’s worth noting that these specifications partially excuse the higher price of the V5 Touch. Base models of this laptop come with second-generation Core processors and smaller hard drives.

Our performance testing revealed nothing unusual. SiSoft Sandra’s Processor Arithmetic benchmark reported a score of 37 GOPS, while 7-Zip turned in a combined score of 7,211 MIPS. Both figures are in line with the scores we’ve extracted from similarly equipped competitors.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review ports
Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review logo lid Acer-Aspire-V5-Touch-Review-web-cam

PCMark 7 produced a score of 2,338, which is low and representative of the laptop’s reliance of integrated graphics and a standard mechanical hard drive. Most laptops that we’ve recently tested have scored higher.

Once again, graphics testing went as expected with 3DMark 06 and 3DMark 11 turning in respective scores of 3,931 and 553. This is in line with similar competitors and indicates a laptop that can play most modern 3D games only at low detail.

Conclusion

The Acer Aspire V5 is only competitive as an entry-level laptop. Jacking the price up to $730 without addressing battery life or performance has predictable results.

Touch is the justification for this model’s unusually high price, yet Acer hasn’t made any effort to integrate the touch experience into the laptop. The screen is too far away to reach comfortably, and the laptop is too large and heavy to constantly move about. Using it proved a chore rather than a pleasure.

Other negatives further soiled our impression. The keyboard is poor, the display unflattering, and audio quality is lackluster. Examining this laptop point by point, feature by feature, results in too few pros and many cons. Acer is offering too little laptop for too high a price. We simply have no reason to recommend the V5 Touch.

Highs

  • Low power draw
  • Inexpensive for a touchscreen laptop

Lows

  • Unpleasant keyboard and touchpad
  • Touchscreen use seems an afterthought
  • Short battery life
  • Lackluster performance
  • Poor hardware value
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

Russian hackers behind ‘world’s most murderous malware’ probing U.S. power grid

A hacking group linked to the Russian government has attempted to breach the U.S. power grid. Security experts tracked the hackers, and warn that they were probing the grid for weaknesses.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.
Computing

15-inch laptops come with extra power, but which of these wields it better?

HP's latest "gem-cut" Spectre x360 15 adds powerful components to make it the fastest 2-in-1 we've ever tested. Can it take on the equally fast and incredibly svelte Dell XPS 15?
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!