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Rating: 4/5Excellent value and quality...held back by a horrible screen
This review is from: Acer Laptop Aspire V5-561-9410 Intel Core i7 4500U (1.80 GHz) 8 GB Memory 500 GB HDD Intel HD Graphics 4400 15.6" Windows 8.1
Pros: I waited a few months before writing a review of this notebook. I decided that something like a notebook deserves a longer review and therefore a longer review period. I was looking for a fast, well equipped, Windows 8.1 notebook that I could upgrade at least the hard disk and RAM. Acer's notebook fit the bill perfectly, and at the right price. So, here are the pros:
1. Nice finish...albeit all plastic, but has a faux brushed aluminum lid. Still, nice to look at. 2. Light for its size. 3. Long battery life* 4. A/B/G/N dual band MIMO wireless adapter...an excellent and wise move on the part of Acer. The chipset is Atheros. Another wise move. The only better one would have been an Intel adapter. 5. Fast Haswell Core i7-4500U dual core, quad thread CPU. 6. 8 GB of DDR3-1600 RAM. Another wise move by Acer. 7. Island keyboard that is actually pretty solid and comfortable to type on. 8. USB 3.0 port 9. HDMI/VGA port 10. Broadcom card reader and Gigabit Ethernet. 11. Hard disk and RAM can be changed and upgraded by the end user! This is a big deal! This was Acer's wisest move of all. 12. Decent Elan touchpad, which works well but has the caveat that it cannot be auto-shut off when a external mouse is attached. The Synaptics touchpad provides this option, but not the Elan.
Cons: 1. Only 1 USB 3.0 port. The rest are USB 2.0. I was forced to buy a USB 3.0 hub. Not a good move on Acer's part. 2. VERY SLOW WD Scorpio Blue 5400 RPM 500GB hard disk installed. Very bad move. This drive suffers from a double hand-cap. First, the rotational speed. Second, the platter density. The drive can just barely break 100 MB/s on reads/writes according to ATTO.
I nearly removed an egg for the hard disk selection in this thing. You just don't saddle a otherwise fast notebook with the slowest hard disk on the planet. For $15 more they could have put in a Spinpoint M8 1TB drive and had 188 MB/s read/write speeds due to platter density. The only reason I did not remove the egg was due to the fact that I could switch out the hard disk for a SSD which I did first thing.
However, what led to the loss of an egg is the screen. the viewing angles horizontally are pretty good...about 30 degrees off center before significant washout of colors occur. The vertical viewing angle is 0 degrees. What I mean by that is that no matter what angle you put the screen it will have washout of color at the top or bottom to some degree. This is by far the worst notebook screen I have ever seen or used. The screen also suffers from input lag and has poor pixel response time to boot. This screen is OK enough for limited use on the road, but DO NOT think it will suitable for everyday table-top use. I am using an external monitor connected via HDMI for everyday viewing at home.
Other Thoughts: I installed a Crucial M500 240 GB SSD without issue into this notebook and used my own copy of Windows 8.1 I had laying around. Now this notebook is FAST. Really fast.
* The battery life is 5 hours or more while doing moderate web surfing no peripherals hooked up to the ports and Windows 8.1 power profile set to the default Balanced. I had to stop testing at 5 hours with 30% battery left because I had other things to do, but suffice it to say with a SSD this notebook is going to rival ultra books for battery life.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
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