While I like small form factor devices like the Surface Pro 3 or Acer’s Switch for some situations you want a bigger laptop. Acer’s Aspire 15 is very much in the style of a traditional laptop and the version of the V15 I have for review has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics chip with a 1TB hybrid drive which has a 8GB SSD.

This is a very traditional designed laptop it’s chunky (about 3cm thick) with a 15.6 inch screen and a fairly large bezel. It weighs 2.4KG so it is certainly not a light device! The screen runs at 1080p (1920 x 1080) which does look a little basic compared to the Dell XPS 15 or a Surface Pro 4 but it’s clear and bright and not to glossy or reflective. This model doesn’t have touch but other editions of it do offer that as an option.


The advantage of the large size is that it has a full sized keyboard complete with number pad, the keys have a solid feel to them and certainly the keyboard is one of the highlights of the device. I found it very comfortable for typing on and as the keyboard is also backlit it is good for low light situations. It also has a nice large trackpad that support gestures like two finger scrolling and I found it very accurate. The large size of the V15 is party down to having a DVD drive built in (which DVD writer) and there is a full size RJ45 network port, HDMI port, VGA, 2 x USB 3 ports and a single USB 2 port with a full sized SD card slot on the front.


My review unit came with Windows 8.1 and there is a big sticker on it saying it’s ready for Windows 10, if I was keeping the laptop this is the first thing I would do. It has been a while since I used Windows 8.1 and it is amazing how much better Windows 10 is over its predecessor, anyway back to the review.  The discrete graphics chip should be of interest for gamers, I am not much of a PC gamer any more but I did run 3D Mark on it to see what performance I could get out of it. It had a disappointing 1484 with the Fire Strike score which is less than I expected but it should be ok for games that aren’t to taxing. Having an Intel i5 processor means it should handle processor intensive tasks pretty well. It should be able to handle tasks like photo editing, video rendering or large spreadsheets without any issues. The hybrid SSD makes disk access quicker than a traditional drive but not as good as a full SSD drive. It comes with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater for optimising the sound which is actually really good with plenty of volume.

I found that battery life comes in around 4-5 hours depending on what you are running on it, light use will get around 5 hours while watching a DVD gives you about 4.

One think I don’t really like is amount of “extra” software that ships with the V15. Some of it is useful, some of it less helpful and just annoying. The useful apps include Cyberlink Power Director 12 for creating videos and PowerDVD for playing back DVDs. The somewhat useful app are Acers abDocs, abFiles, adMusic and abPhoto which are Acers cloud storage apps and can be useful, personally I would rather use Dropbox (included) and Onedrive. What I am not a fan of is McAfee’s AV apps I would rather use Windows Defender there is also Avast SecureLine installed. I really wish laptop makes would just stick to Microsoft’s offerings not trial versions of security software.There are also loads of mediocre games, apps like Spotify, PDF readers and a lot of installed 3rd party Windows Store apps. I would rather have a clean install without any additional apps but this seems to be the norm with many systems.

There are a lot of variants of the V15 with different processor models and the version I had for review comes it around £529 on Amazon. That price is close with other i5 powered machines like the Lenovo YOGO 500, ASUS X555UJ and Lenovo Ideapad 300 which are all around the £500 mark. If you want a traditional style laptop with DVD drive and large storage this is a device worth looking at, personally I was rather underwhelmed with the V15. I prefer smaller lighter devices, the battery life is average and it is a bit chucky but for some people this would be ideal as a standard laptop without touch and reasonable specs.
Here is my video review:

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