With Windows 10 having released officially, we will be seeing a lot of Windows 10 based laptops in the coming months. The first laptop to sport Microsoft’s latest OS which graced our labs is the Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro - Black Edition. Acer is generally known for its budget oriented laptops, but with the Acer Aspire V Nitro we have a 4K display sporting gaming machine. And if Acer’s IFA presentation is any indication to go by, the Taiwanese computer maker will be going all out with its laptop launches across categories. So is the Aspire V Nitro really a laptop worth considering? We will find out in our review.
Build and Design: 7/10
Acer Aspire V Nitro comes in an all-black body with the hinge portion having a chrome finish. The top flap has a slightly rubberised textured design with the Acer Logo placed on the right hand side. A slight protrusion in the front portion eases opening the laptop. The laptop has a tapering design on all sides, which gives it a sleek look, but in fact the thickness is around 24mm and weighs around 2.4kg. It is not exactly the kind of laptop that you will carry around with you daily as it not portable by any yardstick.
The hinge mechanism stands out from the rest of black bodied V Nitro. It sports a dark gray colour and has the Aspire V Nitro branding along its length. On the other side of the hinge, you have the air vents for the laptop. The laptop rests on four sturdy rubber feet, which ensures that the laptop stays fixed in one position. The hinge mechanism isn’t the sturdiest as we noticed that the monitor wobbled on mild tapping.
On the right hand side, you have the power power at the top, followed by a retractable LAN port, an HDMI port followed by three USB 3.0 ports and an audio jack. On the front, you just have the SD card slot and on the left hand side, you just have the Kensington lock.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 6/10
The Acer Aspire V Nitro sports a 6-row full size keyboard with isolated keys which have a good feedback and travel. The keys have a red backlight which gives a nice red glow around them in the dark. Typing for long durations does not lead to fatigue, thanks to the respectable palm rest area, which has a slight rubberised finish on it. But as good as the the keyboard is, the trackpad is equally mediocre. You don’t really understand if your tap has been registered as a click or vice versa, when you are using the lower half of the keyboard. Since it is a single slab of plastic, on a lot of occasions we ended up right clicking when we wanted to left click and so on. Also thanks to the placement of trackpad, left of centre, in case when you just want to use the trackpad and your palms are in the typing position, you end up right clicking instead of left. It may seem like nitpicking, since the trackpad is placed in the centre, if you leave out the numpad area, it does take some time getting used to.
Acer has positioned the Aspire V 15 Nitro - Black edition, as a gaming laptop and it comes with impressive specs. For starters it has the Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, which is a quad-core hyper-threaded processor clocked at 2.6GHz with the Turbo frequency reaching 3.6GHz. The processor is supported by 12GB of RAM which is one of highest RAM configs we have tested on a laptop in a long time.
On the storage front, you get a 1TB HDD. Since this is a gaming laptop, it has a dedicated Nvidia GTX 960M graphics solution. The Aspire V Nitro comes bundled with Windows 10 out of the box. Acer has refrained from adding its own software or bundling unwanted apps along with the laptop, which is a blessing considering there has been a lot of bloatware with its Windows 8.1 laptops. If you are new to the Windows 10 operating system, then there is a slight learning curve associated with it.
Acer has gone all out with the display giving you a 4K UltraHD display with a matte finish on the screen which really helps. The reflectivity if the screen is under control and thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angles are quite good on the monitor. We did not observe any sort of colour shift when viewing sideways or from the top. The bezel on the monitor is thick, but the monitor section of the Aspire V Nitro is quite slim. The contrast levels are good for watching movies and the black levels are impressive.
In the Lagom.nl tests, the display performs quite well in the contrast test, gradient banding test shows a smooth transition from black to white level without any visible banding. While the white saturation test shows all the checkered boxes separately, the black level test tends to merge the top two rows of black boxes.
The 3D Mark 11 benchmark gave a score of 5590 on the Performance preset. Asus' G551JK was the only other laptop which came close with a score of 4557. In terms of gaming laptop Metro: Last Light gives around 34FPS and 38FPS for full HD resolutions on high (16X AF, High Tessellation, Adv PhysX activated) and low (4X AF, Normal Tessellation, Adv PhysX deactivated) settings. With 4K resolution, the gaming scores took a hit, falling to 12FPS and 22FPS respectively for high and low settings. Bioshock Infinite gave a more respectable 57FPS for Ultra settings and 81FPS on Medium settings on full HD resolution. For 4K resolution on Bioschock Infinite we got around 18FPS and 23FPS respectively for Ultra and Medium settings.
Battery Life: 5/10
Considering that the Aspire V Nitro comes with a dedicated graphics card and has a 4K resolution, we were not expecting great numbers in terms of battery life. And the laptop gives about 1 hour 35 mins on PC Mark 8 battery life test, which is certainly not impressive. Gaming continuously will naturally bring it down further. But then, the Nitro isn’t a laptop that is portable anyway, and if you are planning to go on the road with it, ensure that you carry the charger along.
Verdict and Price in India
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro is priced at Rs 1,10,000 and going by the prices charged by gaming laptops the pricing is at par, considering you are getting a 4K display. Most gaming monitors offer a full HD display. The Nitro offers a good display with excellent viewing angles. Of course, the gaming performance at 4K resolution with heavy games such as Metro: Last Light was not impressive at maxed out settings. You will need to keep settings low to get playable frame rates at 4K resolution. Games such as Bioshock Infinite are playable with settings maxed out at full HD resolutions. The battery life could certainly have been better. Ensure that you always have a charging point around you. It is certainly a laptop worth considering if you are looking at a Windows 10 based work cum entertainment machine for your home or office, which also lets you play games every once in a while. In case you are cool with a full HD display and a generation older graphics solution, then you can check out the Asus ROG G551JK.
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