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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Cinebench R10: 4743
3D Mark 06: 1590
Battery Eater 05: 2h 2m

Well, these aren't super-healthy numbers for the Acer Aspire V5 Touch, we have to say. From the specs page, you might have gathered that the processor was going to be a bit behind the curve, and indeed that's the case.

The benchmark score puts it at about two-thirds the power of the Asus S56CA, which is only slightly more expensive. It's subsequently less than half as powerful as the likes of the Asus Zenbook UX32A, which costs about £200 more.

What does this mean? Well, we're basically talking about something that's fast enough. General Windows 8 use is slick, and the new interface scrolls without stutter.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

It's more a case of some apps taking a long time to load once you've selected them. The lack of power does mean that intensive tasks such as exporting photos or editing video will be a pain, but the Acer Aspire V5 doesn't feel like it's struggling day-to-day - there's just some extra waiting.

Having just a regular hard drive does mean it's slower to wake than an Ultrabook such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U310. But again, it's actually not too bad. We found it typically took about 10-11 seconds to come on from sleep, which is about twice what you'd expect from a cheap Ultrabook, but not too terrible overall (of course, our machine is new and clean - the wait may increase over time).

With HD 3000 graphics, this is one of the laptops least suitable to be a gaming machine that we've seen. The score in 3D Mark tells you what you really need to know - the score just over a third of what you'd get from an Ivy Bridge chip (the low-end Ivy Bridge i3-3217U chip gets a little over 4,000 in benchmark tests).

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

That said, it too is fine within its limits. The pre-installed copy of Cut the Rope is perfectly smooth. OK, the game runs that smoothly on weak smartphones too, but the point is that if you like simple casual games, the Acer Aspire V5 Touch is still plenty powerful.

If you pick up the new graphical hotness from Steam, don't expect to enjoy the results. But, as a baseline, it's just about at the minimum spec to run the new SimCity game.

Before we move onto the more disappointing elements of the Acer V5 Touch, let's finish with the other good parts. The trackpad is one of the best we've used at this price - it's smooth, easy to click and gestures are easy to invoke intentionally and hard to do accidentally. Spot on.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

The touchscreen also works perfectly. It's responsive and smooth, and isn't too bad for picking up fingerprints. The actual display is pretty middling - again not bad, and it's easy to find a good viewing angle, but it's hardly vibrant.

However (and now we move onto the bad stuff), Windows 8 at this resolution and at this screen size is not hugely pleasant to use. The desktop and its apps are reasonable (though hardly beautiful), but the new Start Screen and its apps look really blocky in the lettering and icons. It's far from unusable, but it definitely isn't ideal.

The keyboard is another low point. It's backlit, which is good, but the keys are too soft, offering minimal feedback, and they wobble and rattle when you press them. The panel beneath flexes a lot, too, so every time you get serious about typing you can feel the body shifting under your fingers. It's not a good way to type.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

The Acer Aspire V5 Touch felt a lot heavier to use than you'd expect for its size, which we think is partly down to the weight distribution - it's much heavier at the back than the front. It's actually barely heavier than the Asus S56CA, but when you lift it from the front (which is what feels natural) it comes across as extra heavy.

So, if there's lots of weight, you'd maybe hope that it's being used to house big batteries. You'd be wrong, though.

The battery life of two hours and two minutes on our benchmark is not great, especially when you consider that this isn't a powerful laptop. More powerful, thinner, lighter Ultrabooks often achieve a longer battery life, so this is a disappointment, though it stops short of being a total disaster.

Acer Aspire V5 Touch review

One other small irritation for us was the Acer Aspire V5 Touch's power plug - it comes out a bit easier than with most laptops. It doesn't fall out, but if we got it caught on something, it seemed all too ready to disconnect. It's not a problem we've had with any other laptops, so it surprised us. But it's just something to keep an eye on, rather than a real problem with the machine.

The speakers are Dolby Advanced Audio Surround Sound and so on - in practice, what this means is that they offer impressive stereo separation for the sound, but it's tinny and gets rough really quickly at any decent volume.