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Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition Review

Rating: 8.0.

It takes a bit of detective work to figure out the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro. The stumbling block is that V15 Nitro is actually a series of laptops that cover a wide spread of specifications and prices, rather than a single laptop.

The starting model is priced at £599 while the top-of-the-line costs £1,299.95 and comes complete with 4K panel, SSD and 16GB of RAM.

The model you see in the video falls somewhere in the middle with its Full HD panel, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive. It will cost £849.99 when it becomes available in Q1 2015 at Amazon.

Graphics are provided by Nvidia with its GTX 860M chip and the networking has been farmed out to non-Intel partners as Atheros handles the 802.11ac Wi-Fi while Realtek controls the Gigabit Ethernet. This suggests that Acer was looking to save money as the default choice would surely be Intel hardware.

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In terms of appearance the chassis looks good with a sleek matt black rubberised finish. On the downside this covering acts as a magnet for fingerprints and rapidly looks less than pristine.

On the face of it the only question mark over the specification and layout is that the three USB 3.0 ports are in a line on the right hand side. It always feels better to have at least one USB port on the other side to make connection easier.

In the video we say there are no connections on the front of the laptop. This is quite correct however it is only fair to point out there is an SD card reader on the front of the chassis.

Aspire VN7-591G

  • Operating System Windows 8.1
  • Processor Model i7-4710HQ (Quad Core 2.5ghz)
  • Standard Memory 8 GB
  • Maximum Memory 16 GB
  • Number of Total Memory Slots 2
  • Memory Card Reader Yes
  • Memory Card Supported Secure Digital (SD) Card
  • Hard Drive Capacity 1 TB
  • Hard Drive Interface Serial ATA
  • Solid State Drive Capacity 128 GB
  • Optical Drive Type No
  • Screen Size 39.6 cm (15.6″) Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD (1080p)
  • Graphics Controller Model Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M
  • Wireless LAN Atheros 802.11ac
  • Ethernet Technology Realtek Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI Yes
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports 3
  • Operating System Windows 8.1
  • Keyboard Backlight Yes
  • Battery Capacity 4450 mAh
  • Maximum Power Supply Wattage 135 W
  • Physical Characteristics
  • Height 23.9 mm
  • Height (Front) 21.90 mm
  • Height (Rear) 23.90 mm
  • Width 389.6 mm
  • Depth 257.5 mm
  • Weight (Approximate) 2.40 kg

Upgrading the Aspire V15 is a tricky task. To gain access to the inside you remove a number of screws from the rear of the chassis and then lift the keyboard. This requires you to unclip three ribbon cables, and is a fiddly process.

With the keyboard, touchpad and mouse removed you can clearly see the coolers on the CPU and GPU, as well as the large flat battery and the hard drive. A ribbon cable passes across the top of the hard drive which won’t make future upgrades any easier.

Perhaps this layout explains the clicky feel to the mouse buttons as the top deck of the casing is less substantial than some other laptop designs.

Testing

3dmark fire strike
pcmark 8
Tomb Raider
Gaming performance is exactly as good as you would expect from a 2.5GHz Core i7 that Turbos to 3.5GHz and which is backed up by a GTX 860M. There is no denying this is a good gaming laptop at Full HD although the graphics lack the out-and-out grunt of GTX 970M. You might find you have to reduce image quality settings to keep the frame rate nice and smooth.

Thermal Dynamics
It is very satisfying to note that the plastic casing of the chassis remains cool to the touch although the area in the centre near the back gets warm when the CPU is under load. By any standards this is a trivial matter and the cooling fan (while audible) isn’t the least intrusive.

Battery life
Continually looping PC Mark 8 throws up a battery figure of two hours and 20 minutes. You can double that figure for a real world life so it is reasonable to expect about five hours continuous use.

Closing Thoughts

Acer has done a fine job with the Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition and the styling is very pleasing on the eye. The Full HD panel looks good and doesn’t have a maddening shiny coating that reflects light like crazy. Performance is good, battery life is very acceptable and the keyboard feels good when you type. On the other hand the mouse buttons don’t feel especially solid and the rubberised coating attracts greasy fingerprints.

This is a decent laptop that combines an Intel CPU with Nvidia graphics and there is no doubt it will keep mainstream gamers happy.

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Pros:

  • Solid Core i7 performance.
  • 8GB of RAM.
  • GTX 860M graphics.
  • Decent battery life.
  • Smart styling.
  • Reasonable weight for the size of chassis.
  • 1TB of storage

Cons:

  • The design of the chassis makes upgrades and battery renewal rather tricky.
  • Three USB 3.0 ports on one side of the chassis and none on the other.
  • An annoying amount of bloatware software that nags you to create an Acer profile.
  • Price seems a touch high for the specification.

KitGuru says: Overall we like the Aspire V15 Nitro but struggled to find anything unique that would blow our socks off.
WORTH BUYING

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Rating: 8.0.

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