Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

A budget Windows 8 touchscreen laptop

Acer Aspire V5 Touch
Windows 8 on a budget on the Acer Aspire V5 Touch

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The Acer Aspire V5-571 Touch has not been designed to be a cutting-edge laptop. This is abundantly clear from its specs list, though that's not to say it's completely stuck with lemons inside.

The processor is one of Intel's newer parts, but it's based on an older design. The Intel Core i3-2365M CPU is actually a Sandy Bridge-based chip, an architecture that was supplanted by the newer Ivy Bridge range. This means it's a less advanced chip, but is also likely cheaper to produce, making it good for budget laptops.

The Intel Core i3-2365M itself is a dual-core chip running at 1.4GHz. It doesn't feature Intel's Turbo Boost feature for automatic overclocking, but it does include HyperThreading, meaning that those two cores can appear as four virtual cores, speeding up some tasks.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

CPU enthusiasts might be interested to note that this new Core i3 chip is manufactured at 32nm, rather than the 22nm of Ivy Bridge, making it not only physically larger than a comparable chip on the more advanced architecture, but also less power-friendly.

Indeed, this CPU is rated at a power draw of 17W, which is the same as the more powerful Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5-3217U used in the only slightly more expensive Asus S56CA.

Basically, this chip is a quick and dirty way to put something with Core i branding into a low-priced laptop. It's compromised in raw power and energy usage compared to higher-priced laptops, but should be powerful enough for simple Windows 8 usage.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

While we're at it, though, we should note that the fact that the CPU is based on Intel's last-generation platform means that its GPU is as well. The graphics core is an Intel HD 3000 unit, which makes it notably less powerful than the HD 4000 GPU in Ivy Bridge chips.

When it comes to RAM, the Acer V5 Touch comes with a healthy 4GB of DDR3 memory. This is fairly typical for something in this price range - you can get 6GB in machines that cost a couple of hundred pounds more, such as the Toshiba Satellite U840, but it's not necessary for most home use.

If you wanted to do something like video editing, more RAM is always advisable, but when you consider the relative lack of power in the Acer V5 Touch's CPU, the amount of RAM is unlikely to be the biggest performance bottleneck for intensive tasks.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

The 500GB hard drive is fairly standard - it's a 5400rpm unit, which is typical for laptops. The amount of storage here is nothing to sniff at, offering plenty of space for movies and music.

There's no SSD - even a small one for the operating system - here, so you won't get the fast wake and boot times that Ultrabooks give you. It's shouldn't be a surprise, since this isn't an Ultrabook, but we've got so used to seeing them on everything - even on the only slightly more expensive Asus S56CA - that we do expect to see them everywhere these days.

The 15.6-inch screen offers a resolution of 1366 x 768, which is again absolutely typical for this kind of laptop at this price. It's multi-touch, though, so you can get hands-on with Windows 8 and its chunky new interface.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

When it comes to connectivity, you're well catered for. There's a DVD drive (but no Blu-ray), two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port, and HDMI output and a weird proprietary LAN/VGA combo port - the adaptor enables you to plug in either of these without the ports taking up space. There's also an SD/MMC card reader on the front

The wireless connectivity is provided by 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

You get a bunch of apps with the Acer Aspire V5 Touch. Lovefilm, Netflix, Cut the Rope, iCookbook, Skitch, Evernote, 7Digital, Kindle, Spotify and some Acer media apps. Oh, and McAfee, because a world without annoying pop-ups is unthinkable.

It's nice to have so many useful apps here out of the box, we have to say. Bloatware is nobody's friend, but we wouldn't call most of this bloat - for a home PC, these are exactly the kinds of things you'll want to pick up anyway, so good on Acer for including them.