Laptop makers can rarely afford to stand still if they want to compete with the myriad of new devices popping up on a weekly basis, even less so in the immediate aftermath of a new Intel CPU hitting the market.
With the mid-range Aspire V7, Acer claims to have trimmed 9% fat compared with previous generations while adding Intel's latest Haswell processor, and a healthy dose of brushed aluminum. It's a smouldering, grey and black concoction of moody tones that comes off as quietly classy.
We got our hands on the 14-inch version running Windows 8, which sports a brilliantly crisp and vibrant 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution IPS display with deep colours and impressive viewing angles. It may not reach the giddy heights of Samsung's stunning 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution Ativ Book 9 Plus display, or even the panel on Apple's MacBook with Retina, but it still went some way to providing a visual feast.
Our model featured a touch screen, allowing us to swipe and navigate Windows 8's Modern UI without a hitch. If you're more of a mouse and trackpad person, you can opt for a non-touch version that cuts down the V7's weight from 2.0kg to 1.85kg. The laptop felt fairly weighty to hold in one hand even for short periods, but it's certainly not too heavy to slip into a backpack for frequent travelers.
The V7 is offered with an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, and up to 12GB RAM. Its graphical grunt can be increased up to a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M GPU. Storage ranges from 320GB to 1GB, and Acer is claiming up to eight hours use from its battery.
We found the trackpad and its two buttons to emit a satisfying click when pressed, and Acer's decision to carry over the brushed aluminium texture from the laptop's body worked to good effect.
The keyboard seemed fairly springy and responsive, and the backlit keys give off enough light to make sure you'll hit the correct keys when bashing out documents in the dark. Additional features found on the Aspire V7 include a 720p front-facing webcam, USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI and Wi-Fi connectivity options.
Acer's Aspire V7 is available from the end of June starting at €699. No word yet on UK pricing.