on November 11, 2012
Acer made a good name for themselves by providing reliable desktop computer components, and that reputation carried over when several years ago, the company advanced into providing laptops. Now after owning three of them, I have never been disappointed in the operation or reliability of any of them. This one is very small and solidly built and it has a brushed aluminum finish I really like in contrast to the nice shiny metallic finishes usually associated with Acer laptops.
So now we enter into a new era of Tablet computing and Windows 8, and it is a definite change from the previous computing we learned so well. Advancing cautiously with the help of Acer's desktop, Windows eventually revealed that it is still the same old Windows inside with a new graphical sugar coating and some new enhancements that make it very appealing for use with the new Touch Screen Tablets that are steadily gaining in popularity.
Windows 8 has your back if you still find better use for a computer than a Tablet, so this Acer has the familiar touchpad mouse built into its keyboard, but I still prefer using a BlueTooth mouse whenever possible. Additionally, many Android users may find Windows 8 is very similar to using the data provisions of their cell phones, complete with an endless number of available apps.
This little 11.6 inch wonder in electronic wizardry will always remain readily available whether I am at work or travelling. Sized the same as the newer Tablets, I consider this laptop to be better provisioned, and best of all, it sells for about half the price of a top-rated Tablet. It is provisioned with the least expensive version of a set of three new CORE Intel processor configurations that increase in cost at each level of complexity, but really don't provide enough in additional abilities to warrant a higher price over what I already have in this very basic laptop computer. This i3 runs very cool and is built into the smallest laptop frame Acer provides, and I even have a little accessory carrying case for it.
This laptop is too small to accommodate a mounted optical disk drive, but that is easily fixed since there are several external CD/DVD RW drives available at a nice price, all provisioned to plug into a laptop's USB ports for immediate use. Regardless, Acer Support provides a Recovery Flash Drive for this computer that can be plugged into one of its USB ports if a recovery to factory specs ever becomes necessary.
With a little more time researching some of the other similar laptops available from Acer before purchasing this one, chances are I would have also seriously considered the Acer Aspire One laptop. That would have saved another couple hundred $$ since it is a very close duplicate to this one. The only real difference is its slightly slower Intel processor, but it also has a smaller but more practical 320 Gig hard drive, which for all my needs is still HUGE. Either one of these laptops is perfect for students who must store and do their work on a fully provisioned computer, and there are also some AMD provisioned 11.6 Acer laptops as well at an even lower price.
on December 3, 2012
Okay - this is a pretty capable little notebook computer. The i3 CPU will make it considerably faster than the older generation Intel Atom chips. The quality seems decent for a $450 part.
Now here's some information that can save you some grief:
1. The BIOS is set up from the factory so that you can only reach it from the Windows 8 environment. I spent the better part of an hour trying different keys and combinations in a futile attempt to reach the BIOS - aggravating. The following is courtesy of user "gr8stapeoftx".
From the Windows 8 Sidebar:
Change PC Settings
UEFI Firmware Settings
Personally, I don't like this setup. I Like the Bios to be agnostic of the operating system. What happens if someone decides to downgrade to Windows? Fortunately, once you reach the BIOS screen from Windows 8, you can set the bios to work in legacy mode. After that, the F2 key will get you into the bios upon bootup.
2. Getting to the internals is incredibly easy. I think it is literally just one screw to remove the bottom chassis plate. Upon removing the plate, the RAM is a breeze to upgrade. There are two slots, and one of them is populated by a 4 GB chip. You can add another 4 GB chip for a total of 8 GB. Doesn't get easier than that.
3. Hard drive - now this is much more tricky. If you are looking to replace the conventional hard drive with an SSD drive like I was, pay attention. Many of the SSD drives on the market will *not* work with this computer (Sandisk Extreme, Kingston, OCZ Vertex, Crucial M4, etc.) Why? Because they are all a tad too tall at around 9.5 mm. They must be of the 7 mm variety. The Samsung and Transcend drives seem to work because they are around 7 mm.
All in all, this is a pretty good computer for your money. I wish the battery life was more like 6 or 7 hours, but the battery is not sealed, so you should be able to buy aftermarket batteries down the road.
on December 7, 2012
This is a nice, solid, basic laptop. I've only had it for about a week, so can't speak of its longevity. Physically, it is very solid. I've noticed some laptops out there have a little bit of wiggle in the screen or keypad, but this one is solid, which is impressive for being so small and thin. They keyboard is easy to type on for me, but I have tiny hands... my larger-handed husband has some trouble, but its not his laptop. The mousepad is OK, I would prefer dedicated left and right click buttons rather than pushing the pad itself for this, but I'm getting used to it. There are a lot of USB ports for being such a small computer. I also appreciate that the screen is very clear and bright... so bright, I even had to turn it down. The screen is also wide-screen, so even though the laptop is 11 inches, it is almost just as wide as my 15 inch... I was concerned it would be difficult to read being so small, but this was not the case. The sound is weird, the speakers are on the bottom of the laptop, so if its on my lap, my lap mutes a lot of the sound... when its on a hard surface, its fine. But, I don't plan on using the speakers, I use headphones if I ever REALLY need to listen to anything anyway. Its no bother for me, so it wasn't a negative, but others might find that info useful. The computer was super easy to set up, its processor is VERY fast, websites pop up quickly. I personally don't like Windows 8, but there were plenty of websites out there (CNET mostly) that helped me download some free programs to bypass some of the annoying Windows 8 features (start screen, start menu, hot corners, etc.)... but this is to no fault of the laptop. Solid laptop and a great price. Highly recommended.
on February 27, 2013
The computer itself feels and looks fantastic. I have been using this since early December 2012 and I would give it 5 stars except for the following reasons:
1. Acer support (out of India?) is incompetent. They don't take time to read the description of the problem and just send you cut and paste solutions that have nothing to do with the issues. If you are unfortunate enough to have to deal with their support demand to have the issue escalated as that was the only way I was able to get a resolution.
2. Windows 8 without a touch screen is not a good combination in my opinion. Some people like it but I don't. Windows 7 is not an option for this computer. Acer support (see above) initially told me that I could buy the Restore DVDs to downgrade the computer to Windows 7. So I paid $35 for an external DVD and $20 for the disks from Acer and then embarked on a week long test of patience because the DVDs would not install and Acer Support just kept sending me unrelated documents on how to install the disks. After demanding that someone actually read what I had written, looked at the screen shots, etc. I was finally advised that they do not offer Windows 7 for this computer. What happened to the $20 for the restore disks? Acer kept it.
3. When seated at the desk, I use external speakers for better sound. If I am using Skype and I disconnect the external speakers the internal speakers take over as one would expect BUT the internal microphone quits working. To get it working again, I have to end the call and start over again. What does support have to say? Well, the sent me cut and paste responses that have nothing to to with the problem and in the end, the supervisor said something like "That there is nothing wrong - that is the way it works."
4. The wireless connection seems to enjoy randomly dropping the connection with my 802.11 N router. I don't experience this problem with my Dell laptop or my Asus desktop connected with a wireless adapter and I have also substituted two other routers but it still drops connection even when it is in the same room as the router.
Super light, the battery lasts a long time and recharges quickly. The display is excellent and the keyboard, while compact, is easy to use. It feels sturdy, is compatible with all of my legacy hardware and software once I added software to restore the Windows 7 type of menu.
By the way, if you want to restore the Windows 7 menu functionality then Google "Windows 8 menu add-on" and read the CNET review. I tried both Pokki for Windows 8 (free) and Start8 ($5) and either one is up to the job.
Would I buy this again? No.
on February 15, 2013
I'm really impressed with this purchase. I wanted something ultra portable to use as a secondary computer to my desktop. In spite of the core i3's very low clock speed and the graphics card being one generation out of date, this computer does it all. Web browsing and videos are fine of course. What really impressed me is the laptops ability to play games. I've managed to get it to run Dirt2, Grid, and Kerbal Space Program. The settings were most of the way down, sure, but not all the way down. There was room to breath and get steady frame rates.
The weakest point in the computer performance is very obviously the hard drive. It's a bit of a throw back even hearing a hard drive that clicks while it's in use. Having a spinning hard drive makes for a delay when opening any kind of application. It's by no means annoying though. Boot times are still quite respectable. It boots in the 30-40 second range.
I have to give the computer high marks for being cool and quiet. If it weren't for the hushed hard drive clicks, the computer would be completely silent. If you have it on your lap for web browsing or movies, you will just barely be able to perceive it's warmth. For gaming, it does get noticeably hot but not alarmingly so. It remains plenty safe for your lap.
I love how light and portable the laptop is. I should caution people who might be looking to get this laptop as their primary computer. This is a very small form factor for every day use. It works fine at a desk or on a table but you'll find yourself straining your neck to use this laptop on your lap for prolonged periods of time. Also, you'll find the keyboard to be quite small. There's not an issue of having your fingers press multiple keys by accident. The issue is that there isn't enough laptop to properly rest your wrists/palms. As a result, you'll find your fingers coming straight down at the keys which can be a bit awkward, especially with how shallow the key presses are. I wouldn't want to write papers on this. My hands never bump the touchpad though. And that's impressive. I'm 6'1" with some big hands. Props to Acer for figuring out a way to prevent that from happening.
The only disappointment I have with this laptop is battery life. The description advertises up to 5 hours. This is fiction. I get between 3 and 3.5 hours on a charge. It could maybe manage 5 hours if you were word processing on the minimum brightness setting the whole way through.
Pros: light, sturdy, surprisingly powerful.
Cons: battery life, shallow key press.
Note: I did have the issues people have described with wireless internet dropping. I tried new drivers and all kinds of device settings with no luck. As it turns out, the wireless card doesn't like WPA2 encryption (the most popular encryption). I switched my router to an open network since I live in a rural area anyway and haven't had trouble since. It's possible that WEP might have worked. I didn't try.
PS: Windows 8 is pretty dope but if you don't like change, you probably won't like windows 8.
on December 9, 2012
The laptop is great when plugged into a wired network, but is honestly hopeless on wifi.The wireless card drops internet connection every 5 or so minutes, and sometimes it comes back on its own, sometimes you have to open and close the wireless adapter, sometimes you have to reboot the laptop to fix it. I have two other laptops in the same room, a dell and an asus, both work great on wifi without problems. The wi fi signal is great. I have looked online and read a few reports, wifi problems appear fairly common with Acer laptops with this qualcom wireless adapter.
Because I purchased and installed office on this machine, I am now stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can return the laptop for credit and lose the $120 I paid for office because I have to buy a new copy, or I can keep the laptop without working wireless. Some choice that is! 2 stars is generous. Dont buy this laptop if you need reliable wi fi connection.
on December 6, 2012
I am a college student, and the V5 is a perfect choice for me. the laptop is only about 2 lbs. I can hardly feel it in my backpack. The battery life is about 3 - 4 hours, I don't have to worry about bringing the power cord. For a 11.6 inch laptop it feels really good when I'm typing. The material that its made out of doesn't get dirty easily. The CORE I3 processor is amazingly quick. This laptop does more than what I need.
The reason why I'm giving it a 4 star is because I dislike Windows 8. it suites better for a Ipad, tablet or a smart phone, but it's a pain to work with on this laptop. The speakers are placed under the laptop, so to me the sound is a bit muffled. (I usually use ear buds, so it's not a problem) The battery is difficult to remove because you have to insert a small object (like a paper clip) into the release latch while your pulling it out.
on January 12, 2013
I like this computer, so far, very much. I like how it is small and lightweight. The sound is not great, a little "tinny", and I listen to Pandora most of the time. But considering the small size and low price, I figure that goes with the territory. I have adjusted. It has Windows 8, which I am getting used to. Really, I don't use the majority of the options, never even took the time to figure them out. I just click on my desktop icon and cruise from there. I read a lot of reviews for a lot of computers before I chose this. Then I read the Amazon customer review for this and was impressed enough to decide this computer was close enough to what I wanted, and bought it.
on December 24, 2012
She's been occasionally borrowing my laptop and installing stuff I don't want on my laptop, so, I figured it time for her to get one to find out why not to install those things ;)
Anyhow, she's pretty happy with it. I opted for this model in the hopes the lighter CPU would eat up less battery, but still get about 4hrs out of it, so in that sense, I wish I'd gone up to the i5.
Also installed an 8GB RAM Kit, and a 120GB Intel 520 Series SSD, and changed the OS to Win7ProX64. That's what really makes this system better, and bumps the battery time to around 5hr...
As I said, she's happy with it.
4 stars because something in this class should have 1.5-2x more battery life, and from what I've seen, you can't get an extended battery.
Update: After having it for just a few months, the headphone jack is dead, and the USB ports on the right are intermittent at best. Can't wait to see where it's at after a year =/
Update, 11-2015. Eventually all the ports on the right side quit working, so I pulled it apart and reseated the ribbon cable going to that sub-board. This got the USB ports working again, but the headphone never did start working again. A few months later, the trackpad stopped working for clicks. Would move the mouse, but couldn't click or right-click on anything. Time to give up on this POS. -1 more star...
on July 13, 2013
First of all, I ordered this with the explicit desire to start changing everything RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. I have an Aspire One, and I installed a 500GB HDD in it and installed Netwalker OS Enigma, and I discovered everything was recognized just about right out of the box. Touchpad control needed an app installed, but, other than that, it worked beyond what I was expecting. So, I ordered this little guy because of the better hardware.
ANYWAYS, of course, I never even boot this to WINDOWS. I go into the BIOS and switch the boot to LEGACY, then restart with my USB drive with 64bit Netrunner, and don't even give the Windows 8 a fighting chance. Netrunner recognized just about everything! The BT, won't seem to turn off, however, at least it is not set by default, to be discoverable. BTW, after putting the NETRUNNER on it, the Wi-Fi has NOT DROPPED AT ALL. NOPE NOPE NOPE! So, this might be a Windows issue.
NOW, this whole 4GB thing...Most laptops I have purchased within the past 3 or so years have been maxed out when I ordered it (and was not advertised as such). I thought this was the case for this guy. I removed the bottom panel, and lo, and behold, an EMPTY SLOT. and, well, I had some of these sticks, unopened, lying around. This V5 is now 8GB.
So, thought there's software out there that is not made for Linux, and I need my Windows laptop still, overall, I am happy with this. Very satisfied.