The touchscreen. That's the crux of this laptop. The Acer Aspire V5 Touch exists pretty much entirely as a low-end touchscreen laptop, and its creation really seems to have been geared purely to that end.

For a small amount more, you could get the Asus S56CA, a Windows 8 Ultrabook with a more powerful processor and an SSD for fast boot/wake times. You'd even still get an optical drive with that model. But you wouldn't get a touchscreen. Here, you pay a little bit less, you get a weaker processor/graphics combination but you get a touchscreen for Windows 8 - which isn't something to ignore.

But it's not our first choice for a touchscreen laptop priced at £400 (about AU$603/US$628). The Asus VivoBook S200 is a great 11.6-inch touchscreen laptop, which weighs half what the Acer Aspire V5 Touch does. Its big brother, the Asus VivoBook S400C is a 14.1-inch touchscreen laptop for around the same price, and it's more powerful. If you want a bigger screen than that, the V5 is your man, but otherwise, we think it's just a bit too middle-of-the-road.

We liked

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Windows 8 review
Windows 8 review

As far as Windows 8 interaction goes, this is a top laptop. The trackpad is excellent, and the touchscreen works perfectly. It's rather larger than your average touchscreen, of course, but if that's what you want, it's hard to fault. It all responds smoothly and works well.

The screen quality itself isn't bad for a laptop of this price, though the resolution is a let-down.

The main thing here really is getting the touchscreen at this price. It's good that Acer is offering the option, even if it takes a lot of compromises to get it there.

We disliked

You can really feel the price-point groaning here. The lack of high-end power isn't a problem in light use, but it does mean a bit more waiting around, and it means there's not much room to get into something like video editing.

But the real issues are the low battery life and the soft, bendy keyboard. Both are easily improved on by other machines without spending much more money at all.

And the weight issue is an odd one, and annoying. It's not that much heavier than comparable machines, but we noticed it much more in this, seemingly because of how it's distributed. Little details like this are what separate the better laptops from the average, and it's just another reminder of the sacrifices made for the price.

Final verdict

The Acer Aspire V5 Touch is a laptop of compromises. Low power, low battery life and a poor keyboard in exchange for a budget price and excellent Windows 8 support with a good touchscreen and trackpad.

It's not the best touchscreen laptop for under £500 by any means - we'd definitely be inclined to go for one of the Asus VivoBooks. But if what you want is a 15-inch touchscreen Windows 8 laptop for the home, it'll work. It's just a shame about the horrible keyboard.