Acer Aspire V3
The Acer Aspire V3-511-8664 is a bit of a hidden gem.
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The Acer Aspire V3-551-8664 is an inexpensive laptop that offers a wide array of features. At $529, the V3 covers all the bases, at least marginally. It classes things up with a jet black exterior and silver interior––though the casing was a fingerprint magnet. The 15.6-inch screen provided a comfortable viewing experience. The keyboard is a little cramped, but it has every key under the sun including a numeric pad. Most surprisingly, this laptop rocked our gaming tests with its impressive graphics capabilities.
Good things aside, the V3 lags behind in processing power, and its ability to handle applications like Photoshop and Excel leaves a lot to be desired. While it may not be the most powerful kid on the block, the Acer Aspire V3-551-8664 is a good laptop for anyone with leisurely pursuits or word processing in mind.
Design & Usability
The black on silver design puts us in mind of a laptop tuxedo.
The screen on the V3 was fairly bright, not to mention highly reflective. As much as we may admire ourselves, seeing our faces while we typed or watched movies on this laptop became too much of a good thing. In any case, its 15.6-inch screen places this laptop in the XL category of modern machines. That leaves plenty of room for the keyboard. Ironically, the keys do feel a little cramped––a result of the oversized enter, right shift, and back space keys. However, the cramped conditions can be forgiven, since the V3 carries a numeric pad. The model we tested also had an Alt GR––allowing access to symbols while typing, such as a U with an umlaut––which is always useful. Despite the keyboard's cramped nature, typing on the V3 felt good, with keys offering good bounce and responsiveness.
The V3's touchpad has a textured service and two click buttons at the bottom. Additionally, it has an area to the right side devoted to scrolling. Overall, we are satisfied with the touchpad experience. Though the textured surface provided a good tactile sensation, our work with it left an impression. The thing was a fingerprint magnet. In fact, the outer shell was covered in fingerprints after only one use.
Performance & Features
For a price point under 600 dollars, the V3 comes with an impressive set of features—and gaming abilities you wouldn't believe.
We reviewed the cheapest version of the V3, which features an unimpressive 1.9 GHz A-Series Quad-Core A8-4500M. In our tests involving applications like Photoshop and Excel, this laptop performed below average.
Based on its hardware, we pegged the V3 as an underdog, yet it astounded us all with its gaming abilities. The programs that were used in the applications testing round are more likely to be encountered in a typical work environment. Those who want to use their laptops for more leisurely pursuits will be pleased to know that we also implemented a gaming test. To whittle away our free time, we played some Portal 2 and recorded how many frames per second the machine could churn out on high and low settings. The V3 surprised us; on low settings it managed 190.58 frames a second. On high it got 87.26 frames per second. That places the V3 second in the gaming ranks, behind only the Macbook Pro with Retina Display, which costs four times as much.
A bargain gaming machine
The V3 is powered by a quad-core AMD A8-4500M with 6 GB of RAM and 750 GB of storage. All this hardware comes in at 6.31 pounds when combined with the charger. Given the price––we managed to find this model for $529––the V3 is an impressive laptop. The biggest boon that the it offers is its AMD Radeon HD 7640G with 512 MB of allocated memory. It allowed the V3 to score a P3766 on the 3D Vantage Mark test, which tests the laptop's theoretical ability to slog through resource intensive graphics.
The V3 has some low points, too. Its PC Mark score of 1860 places it second to last in overall performance. That story repeats for the Excel and Photoshop tests. Weighing 6.31 pounds makes it the heaviest laptop we've tested thus far, too, and limits its portability. While using this laptop, we found the keyboard felt cramped. After using the V3 for a day, the exterior and the touch pad became grubby. Two days later, the V3 looked like it had been passed around a class of third-graders.
Among the lower priced laptops, the V3 proved itself to be a good contender. Based on the numbers, we recommend this machine for anyone looking for a cheap gaming laptop.
The V3 is hidden gem. For the right price, you'll get a good gaming machine.
Not this laptop's strength
The V3 displayed decent performance in our gaming tests, but lagged behind in the applications round. In the first test we used PC Mark, which tests the laptop's performance in typical user applications like web browsing, image manipulation, and video playback. The V3 model we tested scored 1860.
It isn't a math whiz, either. To see if this generation of laptops are as good at math as the last one, we ran a Geekbench test, and the V3 scored a 4715. In absolute terms, that's a fairly low score. The Samsung Series 9 achieved a close sore of 5511. Though the Series 9 is half the size of the V3, it's more than double the cost.
A decent performance when dealing with real world situations
The V3 was slow and steady in all our applications tests. We understand simulated examinations in virtual work environments are all fine and dandy, but we decided to do some real world tests. In an attempt to cover the widest variety of tests, we used Excel, Photoshop, and the video converting software Handbrake.
In each test we timed how long it took for the laptop to finish a standard set of challenges. In the first test, we noted how long the Aspire needed to go through five thousand lines of calculations in an Excel spreadsheet. Five thousand lines of foiling and checking primes took the V3 10.3 seconds. The next test had the Aspire apply a list of filters to a standard image in Photoshop. This laptop finished in 24.02 seconds. Our final test required the V3 to convert a high definition video to standard definition. It converted the last frame after 196 seconds.
Time to relax
The V3's Radeon graphics are not put to waste. During our 3D Vantage Mark test––used to determine how well a computer renders complex graphics––the V3 scored P3776.
This is a surprising result, as it places the V3 right behind the Macbook Pro with Retina Display in our graphics rankings. Wow.