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The Acer Aspire V7 is one of the lighter 14-inch laptops around, weighting in just 4.41 pounds. It's also fairly compact at 13.4 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches. The Lenovo Y40 is just as thin, but its rounder plastic body makes it a tad larger overall, at 13.7 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches and 4.85 pounds.
Of course, the Aspire V7 can't compete with the portability of the Asus Zenbook UX301LA. The smaller 13.3-inch Asus Ultrabook tips the scales at 3.08 pounds and measures 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches.
Here is the Acer Aspire V7 configuration given to TechRadar:
- CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.60 GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT 750M (4GB DDR3 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 4400
- RAM: 8GB DDR3L RAM (2x 8GB, 1,600MHz)
- Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 Glossy IPS Touchscreen
- Storage: 500GB (5400 rpm with a 16GB SSD cache)
- Ports: HDMI, 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, mini-VGA, SD card reader, combination mic/headphone jack
- Connectivity: Intel Wireless-N 7260 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 + HS
- Camera: 720p HD webcam
- Weight: 4.41 pounds (2,000 grams)
- Size: 13.4 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches (W x D x H)
The Aspire V7 isn't decked out with the latest components, but what the notebook lacks in bleeding edge hardware, it makes up for in value. For $899, users will get a gorgeous 1080p touchscreen and sizable 500GB hard drive with a SSD cache speed boost in addition to the aforementioned parts.
Sadly, the V7 as specced above isn't available to other parts of the world. If you live in the UK, you will only be able to pick up the Aspire V7 with a lower-spec Intel Core i3 chip and a 1366 x 768 resolution screen for £469. Australian folk, meanwhile, can only chose the larger 15.6-inch version of the notebook, which also comes with a disappointingly low resolution 1366 x 768 screen for AU$1,299.
The Lenovo Y40 follows the Aspire V7 very closely, with better specs and a marginally lower $849 (about £526, AU$921) price. The Y40 is also equipped with a very similar 1080p 14-inch – albeit non-touch – display, plus the same amount of RAM. The bonuses of picking the Lenovo Y40 include a faster 2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB of storage and an AMD Radeon R9 M275X GPU (fairly equivalent to Nvidia's GT 770M).
If a fully decked out Ultrabook is what you desire, and you have the cash to burn, the $1,789 (£1,095, AU$1,907) Asus Zenbook UX301LA might be perfect for you. Between the 2560 x 1440 quad-HD 13.3- inch display and dual 128GB SSDs paired together in Raid 0, the Asus is a high-end machine. The only thing it lacks compared to the Y50 and Aspire V7 is a dedicated graphics chip for serious gaming.
Despite running with average internals, the Aspire V7 had plenty of power handle my daily work load. It did not hitch at all, whether I was browsing through the web across 20 tabs or tweaking images in Lightroom for this review. It even held its own playing modern games like Wolfenstein and Grid Autosport. Although the Aspire V7 can just barely be considered a gaming machine, I was impressed with its performance.
- 3DMark: Ice Storm: 45,720; Cloud Gate: 5,865; Fire Strike: 1,465
- Cinebench CPU: 227 points, Graphics: 55 fps
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,306 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 36 minutes
- BioShock Infinite (1080p, Ultra): 16 fps ; (1080p, Low): 50 fps
- Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 6 fps; (1080p, Low): 22 fps
The Aspire V7 put up some surprisingly good scores that more than kept in step with the better equipped Lenovo Y40. In the GPU stressing 3DMark test, the Aspire V7 completed the Ice Storm run with 45,720 points, crushing the Lenovo Y40's marks of 22,839 points. The Acer only trailed the Lenovo in the most taxing Fire Strike test, with scores of 1,465 and 1,533 points, respectively.
While playing an actual game, the Acer was able to render BioShock Infinite at 1080p – with all the settings turned up – at 16 fps, beating out the Y40's 14 fps showing. The Lenovo and Acer were neck-and-neck in the Metro: Last Light benchmark, albeit for a terrible score of 6 fps on average.
The Aspire's Intel Core i5 processor also did surprisingly well in the Cinebench CPU test with marks of 227 points. Comparatively, the i7 chips in the respective Lenovo Y40 scored 191 points and the Asus Zenbook UX301LA trounced everyone else, with 240 points.
Bigger isn't better for battery life
While the Acer put on an impressive show of gaming and computing power, it has the shortest battery life of all. The Aspire V7 only lasted for 3 hours and 36 minutes on the PCMark 8 battery test, falling short of the Lenovo Y40's 3 hour and 54 minute performance. The Asus Zenbook UX301LA' battery life lasts well past the two 14-inch machines at 5 hour and 32 minutes, likely thanks to its lack of a dedicated graphics chip.
While the battery test revealed some disappointing results, the Acer does a bit better running real world applications. Over the course of 4 hours and 49 minutes, I managed to stream Judge Dredd on Netflix and write up a portion of this review, while dabbling in some fact checking across 15 tabs split between Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. For my real-world battery test, I also had Google Music playing in the background with the speakers set to 15 and turned the screen brightness up to 35%.
The Aspire V7 will never meet the 6 hour and 45 minute time set by the Zenbook UX301LA. But you will have enough battery power to make it through a long business meeting or work on projects during a long commute.
The biggest highlight of the Acer Aspire V7 is its perfect IPS screen. After a few seconds of looking at it, the screen proves to be vibrant with saturated colors – but not too much so. Excellent viewing angles produce a very clear picture even if you view the display from an oddly skewed angle.
The screen's accurate colors and wide dynamic range make the Acer an excellent machine for working with photos. Meanwhile, those who are less photography-oriented will enjoy the screen for viewing everything from webpages to movies. The laptop's multimedia experience is further bolstered by the tonally rich speakers designed with the help of Dolby.
The only gripe I have with the Aspire V7's display is it suffers the same glaring issue that prevents glossy screens from being viewed in sunlight. The problem isn't too prominent when indoors and can be somewhat amended by turning up the screen brightness, but this sacrifices battery life. The sad truth is glossy screens help produce richer colors, but at the cost of usability in more lighting scenarios
Acer falls into the guilty party of laptop manufacturers that gorge on an abhorrent amount of bloatware, and it's unforgivable with the Aspire V7. Below are just a few of 13 pieces of "bundled" software that come preloaded on the laptop. While most are simply chaff, these are the highlights – everything else should be just uninstalled.
- AcerCloud - Acer has developed it's own cloud service allowing users to store access their PC files remotely from a mobile device.
- Acer clear.fi Photo - A client to upload your photos to Acer's Cloud. While it's a bit obsolete thanks to Flickr, Facebook, Google+, Dropbox and the myriad ways of sharing photos, the silver lining here is Acer's cloud photo app has no limit on file size.
- AcerCloud Docs - Potentially one of the more useful apps giving users an alternative option to buying Microsoft Office, but in reality this docs app only syncs Microsoft Office files to the user's personal cloud.
- Cyberlink MediaEspresso - A free video, music and photo converting app with a slight hint of annoying advertisements.
- Acer Power Management - A power management tool that combines a battery life meter with an activity monitor.
- Acer Recovery Management - Just in case you run into a bad patch or install some faulty drivers, Acer Recovery Management will help you restore the Aspire V7 to factory settings. A useful tool to keep around.
- Acer Crystal Eye - Take selfies with the Aspire V7's webcam adding special effects and other modifications.
- Acer Theft Shield - An useful little application that will help prevent the theft of your notebook through detection with either your Wi-FI network or Android phone.
- Acer USB Charge USB Charge Manager - Setup the Acer Aspire V7 to charge your USB connected devices when sleeping, plus the option to set limits when the laptop's battery level is low.
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Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.
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