Unboxing the Aspire V7, we were pleasantly surprised to find a thin (22 mm), not too heavy (2.2 kg) laptop with lovely finish in a mix of plastic and aluminium for the palm rest and lid. It's a well-assembled device; we didn't feel any play anywhere in the body and the hinge seems sturdy.
Click to the see the backlightingThe chiclet keyboard has blue backlighting with just two levels of intensity: on or off. The keys are well sized and arranged, with a numeric keypad and the usual shortcuts on the top row. They offer an agreeable, supple stroke, but maybe lack a little resistance. The spacious touchpad is located left-of-centre on the palm rest and provides fluid, fast swiping. Naturally, it recognises all of the Windows 8 touch gestures.
The majority of the connections are located in the rear, which is a debatable place to put them, considering that you have to reach around the back of the machine to plug and unplug things. Here you will find a USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, a mini-DisplayPort (with VGA dongle included) and an HDMI output.
There's also a USB 2.0 port on either side of the machine, plus a headphone/microphone combo audio jack on the right side. The wireless connectivity consists of Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi b/g/n with a steady signal that we measured at -46 dBm from 10 metres away and -52 dBm from 20 metres away.
As you might expect, with a body this thin and rather beefy components inside, the Aspire V7 has its heat dissipation issues. We measured a high of 48.9°C on the underside and 42.5°C on the top. That's pretty hot, and forces the fan to produce up to 40 dB(A) of noise.
This model's display is a 15.6" IPS touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 pixels. We measured the brightness at 308 cd/m², which helps counter a certain amount of reflections, and the contrast is a superb 1,164:1.
Grey colour temperature
The colours aren't quite as perfect. The colour temperature is quite good (6,475 K, close to the ideal 6,500 K), but the fidelity is a bit off with a Delta E of 5, whereas the laptops with the most faithful colours go below 3.
The sound quality through the headphone/microphone combo jack is adequate, with a satisfactory amount of power, no interference and acceptable spatialisation.
The built-in speakers follow in the same vein, with a clean sound that only starts to saturate when you push the volume up to max, but with a certain imprecision and lack of bass.
Note: The model we were sent to review (V7-582PG-54208G25tii) features an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 8 GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics card and a 256 GB solid-state drive. The comments above refer to all versions of the Acer Aspire V7, whereas the sections below apply only to the model we tested (see inset below). Available configurations may also vary depending on the country/region in which you live.
The Intel Core i5-4200U processor delivers satisfactory overall performance. Naturally, with our model's SSD and 8 GB of RAM, it performs better than on competing laptops that have the same chipset but only a mechanical hard drive and 4 GB of RAM.
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The Nvidia GeForce GT 750M doesn't perform as well here as it does on other laptops we've tested, like the Acer Aspire R7 and Gigabyte U24).
It will run a good number of games in the screen's native resolution, but only if you lower most of the settings. For games like Crysis 3 and Hitman Absolution, you'll have to drastically lower both the settings and the resolution in order to get fluid gameplay.
MOBILITY / BATTERY LIFE
The Aspire V7 held out for 6 hours and 45 minutes in our standard battery test (continuous video playback with the Wi-Fi turned off, the brightness at 100 cd/m² and headphones plugged in). That's great for a 15.6" laptop, making the V7 an excellent travel buddy.