Ultra-budget laptops powered by dual-core Intel Pentium processor and 2GB RAM are best suited only for basic everyday tasks such as media playback, web browsing, using office suite and social networking. If you want more power for snappier performance and running demanding applications without spending much, consider models that lie in the sweet spot of Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000—you get at least a second-generation Core i3 processor and 4GB RAM. One such option in this segment is the Acer Aspire V5-571, which we tested thoroughly to find out how much muscle it packs.

Better built and more powerful than ultra-budget laptops

Better built and more powerful than ultra-budget laptops

Features and design

Acer has taken a simplistic approach with the Aspire V5-571—it seems Acer has focused more on functionality than design. Well, it’s slim with rounded corners, but the plain exterior exudes a feeling that it’s absolutely basic. Even the screen frame, palm rest and keyboard have a plain finish. Acer could have added some texture or glossy accents to add a premium feel. The only bits that add some style are the island-type keyboard and the large touchpad. The Acer Aspire V5-571 is available in Matte Black, Misty Silver and Airy Blue colours. We received the Matte Black unit for review, which we feel looks most elegant—the other two colours are too sober.

All the ports are placed on the side for easy access

All the ports are placed on the side for easy access

The V5-571 line-up comprises models featuring a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Features common across all the models include a tray-loading DVD-writer, a card reader, a 3.5 mm headphone/mic combo jack, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port. Except for the card reader that’s placed on the front left, everything else is placed on the sides for convenient access. Next to the HDMI port is a proprietary port for the breakout cable, which adds a Gigabit Ethernet port and D-sub video output. A 4-cell Li-ion battery pack forms the rear of the laptop, but it doesn’t protrude—it’s like a tiny baton that clips on to the rear. This is the reason why this laptop doesn’t have any port on the rear.

The large 15.6-inch display contributes to comfortable viewing

The large 15.6-inch display contributes to comfortable viewing

You can guess the configuration of this variant to some extent by the extension of the model number – 323b4G50Makk. It runs the Intel Core i3-2365M processor (clocked at 1.4GHz) and packs 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive. 

Build quality and ergonomics

The overall build of the Aspire V5-571 is just about good. The quality of plastic used for construction of the chassis could have been much better. The 15.6-inch display paves way for a large keyboard with a numeric keypad. However, it looks like the numeric keypad has been squeezed in—the keys are narrow and elongated, which makes the keypad a bit uncomfortable to use, especially if you have stubby fingers. Even worse are the tiny arrow keys. The tactile response of the keyboard isn’t satisfactory—the keys don’t travel much and feel a bit mushy. Thankfully, the touchpad is comfortable. It’s large and the entire pad is clickable, just like those present in most Ultrabooks and Apple MacBook Pro. Lastly, the hinges are nice and stiff, which helps keep the display steady.

The keys of the numeric pad are narrow and elongated

The keys of the numeric pad are narrow and elongated

Performance

This particular variant comes with Linpus Linux pre-installed, so we installed Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and the latest version of the device drivers available from the support section of Acer’s website. The laptop scored 1638 points in PCMark 7 and 1.35 points in CineBench 11.5—that’s around half the score of an average Core i5-powered Ultrabook and 25 percent faster than a dual-core Pentium-powered ultrabudget-laptop. The same goes for the real world scores. It took 149 seconds to compress 100MB of assorted files to 7-zip format (Ultra preset). Video conversion (1 minute MPEG video to H.264 format) was slightly faster, requiring only 122 seconds.

The lid and palm rest have a smooth matte finish

The lid and palm rest have a smooth matte finish

The battery life of the V5-571 is impressive, considering it runs a 4-cell Li-ion battery pack. A full charge survived for 1 hour and 43 minutes with Battery Eater Pro running in the intensive Classic mode that renders a 3D model in loop.

Verdict and price in India

The Acer Aspire V5-571 uses a second-generation Core i3 processor but has enough muscle to handle medium to slightly heavyweight applications. Rest assured, multitasking (multiple light applications) with antivirus running in the background will be a breeze. However, intensive tasks such as advanced photo editing using Photoshop or LIghtroom will make this laptop stutter.

At an MRP of Rs 30,899, the Aspire V5-571 is quite reasonably priced, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look elsewhere. There are models that offer better value for money, such as the Lenovo Essential G580—it costs almost as much as the Aspire V5-571 but runs the latest-generation Core i3 processor. Also, if you can stretch your budget by a few thousand rupees, your options can include models with discrete graphics and a larger hard drive.

Publish date: February 26, 2013 9:30 am| Modified date: December 19, 2013 8:55 am

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