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The Acer Aspire U5 is a mid-range system through and through. Basically, this machine is perfect for general internet use, mild business applications, but namely acting as a family's computer entertainment hub.
- CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-4200M (dual-core, 3MB cache)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM: 8GB DDR3
- Screen: 23-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS, LED backlit display with 10-point multi-touch control
- Storage: WD Blue 1TB, 5400 rpm hard drive
- Optical drive: DVD-RAM; ±R; ±RW drive
- Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports (1 side, 1 rear), 3 USB 2.0 ports (rear), HDMI-in (side), HDMI-out (rear), 1 headphone jack (side), 1 SD card reader (side)
- Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 1,280 x 720 HD webcam
- Size: 22 x 15.7 x 1.4 inches (H x W x D)
The Aspire U5's performance won't blow anyone's mind, but this mid-range system gets the job done. This PC performed fairly well on benchmarks, but predictably choked on the higher-end 3D graphics tests.
- 3DMark: Fire Strike: 697; Cloud Gate: 5,234; Ice Storm: 52,772
- PCMark 8 Home: 2,502
- Cinebench: Graphics: 27.97 fps; CPU: 292 cb
See yourself in movies
The large 23-inch touch screen LED display is very responsive, and the fingerprint resistant surface works surprisingly well. While most other touch screens would be covered in fingerprints after a day of use, the U5 barely showed any smudges. It was only over a period of a few days that they started showing up, but they still remained few.
The U5's bright HD screen serves well for watching movies and video, but the bad news is that the mirror-like glass produces a high amount of glare. Seeing your own reflection in the screen, along with everything that's going on behind you, is distracting. Reflections also show up while video is playing, which means you'll have to watch your movies in the dark to get the most enjoyment from them.
I plugged a PlayStation 3 into the HDMI port to watch Blu-ray movies, and the system performed wonderfully. Glare aside, the screen is great for watching movies and playing games. There's even a manual volume knob behind the right side of the screen. I also watched a DVD using the U5's included drive. The movie came out looking sharp, but the drive itself is far too loud. It's best to stick with streaming videos or external devices.
The computer's speakers are remarkably loud and clear, even though the bass leaves a little something to be desired. There's also surprisingly good stereo separation, and the software-based Dolby sound effects work well to add virtual surround sound effects to movies and music in Windows.
Apart from some annoying screen glare, some difficult to reach ports, and an absurdly loud DVD drive, there isn't too much to complain about. Acer's Aspire U5 is a solid mid-range performer that sells for a reasonable price. The U5 is certainly not for the power user or heavy gamer, but it's excellently fitting for both light work and casual leisure.