Acer V5-122P Laptop Review

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Acer V5-122P Laptop

The Acer Aspire V5-122P ultra-portable laptop looks like an old-fashioned netbook, but it has a quad-core AMD A6-1450 processor and build quality that's a cut above your average cheap small laptop. Admittedly, the processor only runs at 1GHz and scored just 20 overall in application benchmarks, struggling with both multitasking and video encoding. However, it's powerful enough to produce a relatively smooth Windows 8 desktop experience when using most standard desktop applications such as web browsers, word processors and even image editing software, although we wouldn't advise multitasking with several processor-intensive applications or encoding high-definition video.

The laptop has 6GB of RAM, which helps with tasks such as working with big images, as well as with overall responsiveness. The V5-122P also has comparatively good 3D graphics capabilities, thanks to the processor's on-chip AMD Radeon HD 8280 chipset. It's still not powerful enough to run Dirt Showdown test, which we run at High quality, 4x AA and a resolution of 1,280x720, at a measurable frame rate, though. Dropping the quality to Ultra Low, however, brings the average frame rate all the way up to 32.1fps. That's incredibly good for a compact, low-cost laptop, although the screen is still rather too small for comfort. You might be able to keep yourself entertained with a game of Portal 2, but that's about as far as it goes for games.

The 11.6in touchscreen might be tiny but it has an outstanding contrast ratio of 935:1 and deep black levels of 0.21cd/m2. Calibration device also rated it as able to display 66.9% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is pretty good for a laptop, particularly an ultra-portable that costs just £350. Bear in mind that the screen is glossy, which means it can suffer from glare and reflections under bright light. Its sensitive touchscreen is also excellent, making it easy to zoom into web pages or flick through photos, and to make the most of Windows 8's full-screen apps.

The V5-122P also has a rather good keyboard and touchpad. Its keys are the widely-spaced type you usually find on modern laptops, but they give you a bit more feedback than we've come to expect from this style of keyboard. The keys are mostly large and easy to strike accurately while touch typing, although the hash key is cramped up against the skinny enter key and the page and up and page down keys are right above the left and right cursor keys, making it a bit too easy to hit them by accident when navigating around a document. The touchpad is small but gains a bit of extra space by having its buttons integrated into the lower part of the pad itself. The pad is centrally located, so there's plenty of room to rest your wrists on either side of it.

The laptop has a 500GB hard disk, so there's a decent amount of space to store data and install software. There's no room in the small chassis for a disc drive, but there's an SDXC card reader and two USB ports, one of which is USB3. There's a 3.5mm headset port which can alternatively be used to connect a normal set of stereo speakers. If you want to listen to music you should do this, as the internal speakers are really only suitable for system sounds. Music played through them sounded tinny and echoed strangely. There's no Ethernet port in the laptop's standard configuration, but there is a proprietary Acer converter port, which looks like a mini Display Port. It's actually a connector for a breakout box, sold separately, that gives you extra USB, VGA and LAN ports. Unless you get one of these boxes, the laptop can only be connected to a network via its built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor.

Although the V5-122P's chassis superficially resembles Acer's cheapest netbook-style low-power laptops, it feels much sturdier. Its brushed-metal effect lid and interior look quite sharp, too. It measures just 20x290x202mm and weighs 1.4kg, which means you can easily throw it into almost any bag and take it around with you. This makes its sturdy build quality even more welcome. It's small enough to comfortably use while commuting and did well in our battery tests, lasting for five hours and 21 minutes in light usage test.

This is by no means a powerful laptop and is only suitable for light use, but its small size and solid build quality make it worth buying if you need a really small computer to use on the move. However, given that you can get much more powerful laptops for the same price, such as the Toshiba Satellite C50-A-156, you'd really have to value portability above all else to justify buying this lightweight laptop.
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