When writing a review of a new Ultrabook or notebook computer, I always start with the basics. What does this “new” Ultrabook or notebook bring to the table? Why would I ever consider ditching my nine-year-old laptop— which has served me fairly well despite having an ancient 320GB hard drive and no Wireless N capability—for something else? Convince me that what you have to offer is better than my wheezing rust bucket, which weighs just slightly less than my newborn children did? Convince me that faster is better, lighter is better, and newer is better.
Acer is warming up in the batter’s box, trying to convince me with the Acer V7-582PG-9478. Besides using a name that sounds like a villain in an old James Bond movie, the proof is literally in the pudding, and what they're putting into the machine is a new Intel® Core™ i7 Haswell 4500U dual-core processor running at 1.8GHz, with a maximum turbo frequency of 3.0GHz and a 4MB L3 cache. The Haswell processors maintain the speed and power of Intel Core i7 processors, but boost the battery life with low voltage requirements. With the advent of these Haswell chips, older processors are going the way of disco, and quickly becoming phased out of manufacturer’s inventories. Acer has one of the first mass-market, Haswell-chip laptops priced at less than $1,000. Good for them. That little bit of convincing hits a solid single into center field.
Next up is the display. This Acer V7 uses a 15.6” HD widescreen CineCrystal LED backlit display with 10-point capacitive multitouch. Although the multi-touch screen is a definite solid hit, the 1366 x 768 resolution is a swing and a miss. The era of HD should be laid to rest. Consumers want sharper screens, higher resolutions, and breathtaking clarity. Although HD is great for everyday mobile computing, outfitting this notebook with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen would have knocked this one out of the park. Instead they bunted, but still make it to first base without getting tagged out.
Next up is the storage. Again, Acer opted for tradition and cost maintenance here by installing a 750GB, 5400 rpm hard drive, and a solid-state drive for caching programs that you constantly access, like Windows 8. This is like seeing a grizzled baseball veteran take the plate, and watching a newcomer in the batter’s circle right behind him. Together they make a great team, but without each other they are average at best. Both score, but only because they bat after each other in the order. If the newcomer weren’t in the box, the older player would have a hard time making it around the bases. If the newcomer didn’t have the storage capacity of the vet to back him up, he wouldn’t have the strength to lift the bat.
But wait—what’s this? Stepping up to the plate is a dedicated graphics card (a rarity in Ultrabooks—see our article about Gaming with an Ultrabook here). Acer has included an NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M graphics controller with 2GB of discrete memory. This should be enough power to run mid- to high-level processor-munching games like Bioshock Infinite and Guild Wars. Suddenly, the batter stands at the plate ready to bring in the winning run.
The rest of the team rises from the bench in anticipation... 8GB of RAM (upgradable to 12GB), a solid middle-fielder with potential; The Connectivity Triplets, Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth, waiting for their chance to shine; the newcomer, WiDi, which brings wireless digital display capability and compatibility to bridge your Ultrabook with your home entertainment system; and rounding out the lineup, the glossy and established team player: not two, but four high-definition built-in stereo speakers featuring Dolby Home Theater v4 technology.
Waiting for their chance to bat are some other enhancements that make this Ultrabook complete. They include an SD media card reader, integrated dual-array microphones, and a 720p webcam. As for the ports, well, this team knows its ports. Installed is one USB 3.0 port (featuring Power-Off USB charging to charge your devices even when the Ultrabook is turned off), two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port with HDCP support, an Acer converter port (dongle needed for VGA-connected displays), and a Kensington lock slot.
Acer uses Windows 8 as their coach and it’s a case of perfect synchronicity with the multi-touch interface. Players and coach work hand-in-hand to deliver the ultimate touchscreen experience. Even the Acer ZoomPerfect touchpad pitches in, with support for two-finger scroll and pinch, and swipe access to charms, application commands, and previous applications. For those who appreciate the coaching style of Windows 8, this could very well be one of the best Ultrabooks to highlight the Windows operating system.
Sitting quietly at the heart of the system is the team manager, a 4-cell lithium-polymer battery (rated at 3560 mAh) rated at up to 6.5 hours of battery life. To keep the team running smoothly, the manager provides a suite of software, including Acer Power Management and Recovery, Microsoft Office Trial, Norton Online Backup, Skype, and Netflix.
So did Acer play well, and turn out a solid job of convincing me to ditch my old team for this team of new and sleek upstarts? They did, and you should be convinced as well. This is not a player to be named later—this is a solid performer in a compact, light, and versatile frame, a player that will go quickly in the draft of first-round, Haswell-inspired Ultrabooks. Even if you don’t like baseball (and annoying baseball metaphors), you’ll appreciate the way this team comes together to hit for the cycle, scoring on graphics capability, raw processing power, and Ultrabook amenities.
For more information on the Acer Aspire V7, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.
|Processor||1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U Dual-Core Haswell|
|Memory||Type: DDR3 SDRAM
Installed: 8GB (1x 4GB Onboard, 1x 2GB)
|Graphics Card||Type: Dedicated
Installed: NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M with 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
|Native Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Hard Drive||Installed: 770GB (1x 750GB 5400 rpm; 1x 20GB SSD)
|Ports||1x USB 3.0 (A) (Power-off USB Charge)
2x USB 2.0 (A)
|Display||1x HDMI Port with HDCP support
1x Acer Convert Port (with dongle for VGA)
|Audio||Integrated Stereo Speakers
1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Combo Headphone & Audio Out
1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Microphone Input
|Flash Media Slot||SD Card Reader|
|Network||10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45)|
|Webcam||Yes (1280 x 720)|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|Security||Kensington Lock Slot|
|Keyboard||Type: Standard Notebook Keyboard
Features: Numeric Keypad
|Pointing Device||TouchPad with Pinch, Two-Finger Scrolling|
|Battery||4-Cell Lithium-Polymer Providing up to 6.5 Hours per Charge (3560mAh)|
|Power Requirements||Not Specified By Manufacturer|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||15.0 x 0.9 x 10.0" / 38.1 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm|
|Weight||4.85 lb / 2.20 kg|