Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (VN7-591G) review
Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ, RAM: 8GB, Size: 23.9x389x257mm, Weight: 2.4kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Nvdia GeForce GTX 860M, Total storage: 1TB hard disk (with 8GB SSD cache)
Update: This model has been sporadically going in and out of stock, but at the time of this update (23/01), is in stock in at least one online retailer for £850. More units of this model are expected to arrive by Q2 this year.
Acer is known for its down-to-earth, business-friendly laptops, but the Aspire V Nitro notebook line is its first real attempt to capture gamers with deeper pockets than budget-minded family PC buyers.
The Aspire V15 Black Edition (black is the only colour available at the moment) is a mid-range 15.6in model priced at £850, placing itself in a busy and competitive area of the performance laptop market. Be aware that there are many configurations of this laptop on the market including ones with lower specification parts and a few with Ultra HD screens costing more than £1,000. Make sure you know which you've selected before you buy (our review model is NX.MQLEK.002).
Acer has set the Nitro apart from its other, more reserved laptops with a stylish, textured matt black lid and gunmetal hinge accent below the screen with embossed "ASPIRE V NITRO" logo which can be seen both when the screen is open and closed. The soft-touch matt black palm rest completes the look, making it one of our favourite laptops of the year in terms of design.
It's very thin at 2.4cm at it thickest point and pretty light, too, at 2.4kg. This doesn't include the rather weighty power brick, though, which you will definitely need to have on you at all times. You pay for the laptop's svelte build with poor battery life, which we measured at just 2 hours 48 minutes in our general use test, although this is par for the course for similarly specified gaming laptops.
The keyboard has red LED backlighting, although this is a subtle effect in anything other than night time conditions. The keys themselves don't have a huge amount of travel but we found the small distance to be sufficient for long periods of typing and gaming. We never had problems with missed keystrokes, either.
Sadly, the touchpad isn't quite as good as the keyboard. It's an all-in-one design, placing the physical "mouse" buttons below the touchpad itself, with the pad clickable about a quarter of the way down. In itself this isn’t a problem, but we did find ourselves frustrated by the slightly-too-grippy coating on the pad which left some movements such as two-fingered-scrolling feeling juddery and unpleasant for our fingers.
There are four speakers housed in the chassis, and we were astounded by how good they were. They're loud, have perceptible stereo separation and even have some bass presence, which is tremendously impressive. This, combined with how quietly it runs even under load, sets it apart from almost every other gaming laptop we've ever tested.
You get three USB3 ports, HDMI, a gigabit Ethernet connector and a 3.5mm headset jack on the right side of the laptop. Inside, there's dual-antenna MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) Wi-Fi for enhanced throughput with compatible routers with multiple antennae.