The Acer Aspire V3-571G is a workhorse offering some of the most impressive specs seen at its price range for a 15-inch consumer laptop. However, the powerful processor and graphics card come at a cost. The V3-571G may be beautiful on the inside, but it's rather ugly on the outside. Can its inner beauty make up for its poor display and build quality?
It's apparent that Acer wanted to produce a work horse when they made the Aspire V3-571G. It certainly will get the job done with its impressive second generation Intel Core i7 processor and powerful NVIDIA graphics card. However, the relatively high-end spec points of this $850 (price at time review was written) machine comes at a cost. The overall build quality of the machine is questionable, and the display is rather lackluster. Can the Aspire's strong performance make up for its weak visual aesthetics and display? Read the full review to find out.
The Black Glossy plastic exterior of the Aspire 571G initially caught my eye when I took the machine out the box. At first glance it looks sleek, beautifully reflecting light off its surface. However, the second my finger touched the chassis I realized this was a terrible a design choice. The glossy plastic is a fingerprint magnet, as even the lightest touch will sure to result in an unseemly smudge. With only minimal transportation -- usually consisting of taking the notebook to and from work -- the once pristine exterior looked as though someone had viciously whipped their greasy paws all over the device. It's unfortunate that the plastic cover is so easily decremented, as it looked great out of the box; but keeping the machine in that out-of-the box condition appears to be rather unlikely. I fear for the sanity of any OCD consumers (like myself) who may purchase this notebook.
On a brighter note the thin metal coating that supports the keyboard and speakers actually complements the glossy plastic quite well. Furthermore it is fully resistant to fingerprints, it's a shame that the rest of the chassis could not be made of the same material.
Due to how messy the device is sure to become in transport I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but weighing in at only 5.7 pounds (6.7 with adapter), it is more than manageable to use this device on the go. Additionally the device should fit in most travel bags with its dimensions of 15 x 10 x 1 inches.
While the fingerprints are problematic, what really worries me about this device is its structure quality. When bending the chassis I was startled to find the device giving way without much effort on my part. Pressure on the back of the display case employs noticeable rippling on the display. I was actually worried about stressing the display panel too much for fear that it might actually break. Obviously Acer had to save costs somewhere offering its impressive graphics card and processor, but the poor build quality makes me apprehensive about the durability of this machine. Seeing how easily the device gives to even the slightest exertion of force, I seriously question how well this device will hold up in the long-run, especially if it is being transported on a consistent basis.
Input and Output Ports
The V3-571G offers the majority of its ports on the left side of the chassis, including a USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and audio and mic jacks. There are also two USB 2.0 ports on the right side along with the disk tray (which sadly, only feeds into a DVD drive). There are no ports located on the back of the device and only the media card reader is situated in the front, located at the front left corner of the device.
Front: SD card reader
Back: No ports
Left: Power jack, Ethernet, heat vent, VGA, HDMI out, USB 3.0, headphone and microphone jacks
Right: 2x USB 2.0, optical drive, Kensington lock slot
The notebook offers a full size 'Chiclet' style keyboard complete with a dedicated numeric keypad. Thought this keyboard supports all of the bells and whistles, it is a chore to use. The shallow key compression and lack of tactile feedback makes it difficult for users to tell when they have fully struck the desired keystroke. Furthermore, there were several instances where the keypad failed to read my keystrokes at all. Additionally the exceptionally wide keyboard, which almost uses the entire width of the notebook's 15-inch frame, can make entering functions such as ctrl + alt +delete far more difficult than on other keyboards. Also the strangely spaced keys makes it difficult to navigate to some of the more estranged keys, such as the insert key which is not only oddly placed, but difficult to hit due to its reduced size. While this is fine for average use, if you plan on doing something more extensive such as gaming you will certainly want to use an external keyboard.
The touchpad, (which uses Elan drivers in place of Synaptics) is probably the weakest point of the entire machine. The touchpad by design appears sound, offering a scroll section located to right and dedicated right and left click buttons at the bottom of the pad. However, the touchpad is anything but responsive as it constantly lags or even worse fails to read input all together. Furthermore, thought the machine has a quarantined scroll section, I found myself unintentionally scrolling both horizontally and vertically on pages while simply attempting to move the cursor. It's true that most touchpads occasionally misread input such as this, but the pad on the V3-571 G was far too inconsistent to be overlooked. The pad will work for simple pointing and clicking; but if you want to do anything else, such as enlarging images or highlighting text, I'd highly recommend using a USB mouse instead.
Screen and Speakers
Similar to the keyboard and touchpad the Aspire's display is somewhat of a disappointment. The 15.6-inch HD LED LCD display only offers a 1366 x 768 resolution, which is more commonly seen on smaller 13-inch and 14-inch displays. The large display and low resolution combines in a visual experience that is grainy with minimal color contrast. Additionally the glossy display also offers limited viewing angles. While not terrible from most horizontal angles, tilting the screen slightly forwards or backwards will quickly make the screen appeared dimmed.
Light is also proves to be a problem, as the glossy finish is highly reflective. While this of course problematic for outdoor use, strong indoor lighting also significantly catches the glossy screen. Again the display is serviceable; but if you are looking for an optimal viewing experience or want to multi-task, you would be better off using an external monitor.
The speakers on the other hand, which use Dolby Digital Home Theater fare much better. Located at the back of keyboard the two stereo speakers are quite boisterous, only requiring around 50 percent capacity to fill most rooms. At 50 percent the speakers perform admirably offering clear, clean audio; though there is a noticeable lack of bass due to the lack of a subwoofer. However, the sound quality does greatly diminish when the audio is pushed past 90 percent becoming noticeably distorted. The speakers offer better than expected audio quality for a budget lap top. It's great for personal use, just don't expect to be able to crank the volume all the way up and receive the same quality.
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