A Review of the Acer Aspire V15 4K Nitro Black Edition VN7-591G-70TG
With the Acer Aspire 4K laptop we get yet another gamer-oriented 4K notebook that delivers some awesome specs and spectacular gameplay at 100 or more frames per second but only with HD gaming. 4K games are still not supported to a level that is anywhere near ideal with high frame rates and high or even moderate detail levels and this applies particularly to high intensity 4K games.
However, this isn’t to say that the Aspire is anything less than an excellent piece of computing machinery. On the contrary: Acer has packed this ultra slim, sleek black machine with a great GPU, powerful CPU and some very good hardware features across the board. The main problem is simply one of not being able to load the Aspire or most other ultra HD laptops with the kind of genuinely powerful 4K-capable GPU that they'd need to really deliver ultra HD at 3840 x 2160 pixels in a decent way during gameplay.
Overall however, the Acer Aspire V15 is one powerful machine with a larger than normal screen size and superb processing power.
First of all, the Acer Aspire V15 is one very slim, lean little laptop. This is a major point in its favor, even now given that it was one of the earlier ultra HD gaming notebooks to really have been built with serious effort at extreme slimness. Now, of course, many other models exist that are just as slim as the Aspire but this wasn’t the case for many 2014 models built with gaming in mind.
Furthermore, aside from being slim, the Aspire V15 is a sight to enjoy in general. The black, almost wedge shaped body looks elegant and while the design of the Aspire tends a bit towards the simple, possibly even boring side, it definitely looks at home in both a gamer's studio or an office setting. On the whole, this is a good looking notebook.
The 15.6 inch screen in the Aspire delivers a beautiful, powerful piece of display technology whose IPS panels guarantee excellent viewing angles and offer some wonderful brightness and color vibrancy. 4K video and imagery also get displayed on this screen with exquisite detail and vibrancy thanks to both powerful visual specs and some serious processing hardware in the form of a hefty Nividia GTX 860M GPU and an Intel i7 Core 4710HQ CPU that works much more efficiently than expected.
Also, the Aspire V15 includes one remarkably robust audio system. With Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater and four integrated stereo speakers, the Inspire’s sound quality is definitely well above the average in a laptop of any kind.
These are just some of the more notable quality features, we’ll go into others as we proceed with this review.
5.0 - 2 Review
No laptop is perfect and the Acer Inspire has its small share of flaws in an otherwise excellent design.
First and foremost, despite being labeled as a gaming laptop that you can use for 4K PC games, the Aspire really doesn’t deliver on this crucial advertised feature. Yes, it will slam dunk your HD games with excellent frame rates and smooth rendering, but if you do switch over to native 4K resolution in any serious PC game, get ready for some real frame rate slowdown. Only with moderately heavy games on low detail settings might you reach slightly over 30 frames per second.
The Nvidia GPU in the Inspire is simply not built for real 4K gameplay. However, don’t hold this entirely against the Aspire V15. Few full blown 4K PCs with actual ultra HD GPUs of the highest order can manage much 4K gaming at above 60 frames per second. It’s not fair to expect the same from a laptop. The only thorn here is that Acer is definitely implying the 4K gaming angle when it’s not entirely accurate.
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Included OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
Battery life: variable, depending on processor and GPU usage, nominally 5 hours
Processor: Intel Core i7-4710HQ 2.3 GHz Quad Core
RAM: 16GB DDR3 SDRAM
Weight: 5.29 lbs
Storage (Hard drive): 256GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
GPU (Video card): Nvidia GTX 860M 2GB
Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI 1.4, Headphone/microphone jack
The display on the Acer Aspire V15 is definitely an impressive part of the notebook’s overall hardware. While it doesn’t have the fancy quantum dots of the ASUS Zenbook’s screen. This is still a very solid display we’re talking about here. The 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels spread across only 15.6 inches of screen space results in an excellent pixel density that will leave you unable to see actual pixelation with your naked eyes even if you squint in really nice and close. While 4K on such small screens is hard to distinguish from HD, you’ll at least know that you’re looking at 8.2 million pixels instead of the 2.1 million of Full HD.
Furthermore, the IPS panel technology in the Aspire lends itself extremely well to off-center viewing. Thus, clarity and color vibrancy both get preserved relatively well even from off angles of 30 degrees or more. On top of this, IPS display means great color saturation in general. In the Inspire the color range is superb, with an excellent Gamma of just 2.1, which is very near perfect. We should also mention that the display’s maximum brightness is great at 300 to 340 cd/m2. However it can vary a bit too much across the screen.
One problem that the Aspire V15 display does present however is the way in which it drains the battery profusely. This might be because this laptop originally sold as an HD model from what we can tell, with Acer later tacking in an ultra HD screen. Those extra pixels are apparently more than the already not so excellent battery can easily handle and thus even new, the Inspire often dies out after just a couple of hours without a charge.
The sound system on the Aspire V15 is truly superb. There might be better in other laptops and the ASUS Zenbook would definitely give this notebook a run for its money but you still get an excellent and genuinely powerful package in the Aspire. Acer has installed a total of FOUR speakers and while their underside positioning slightly distorts sound quality at times, the overall experience with listening to audio is one of balanced, rich sound that doesn’t need external speakers unless you want something truly powerful.
In terms of design, the Aspire is one handsome laptop. It’s not only wonderfully thin, it’s wedge shaped build also looks stylish enough to work for both gamers and professionals who want a work laptop that isn’t too showy. The mix of a rear hinge with silver plating and an otherwise entire matte black body (lid, sides and underside) looks good and feels sturdy despite its relative thinness at 0.95 inches. This thickness looks even thinner thanks to a tapering underside.
On the other hand, unlike some of the other 4K laptops we’ve reviewed, the Acer Aspire is made entirely out of sturdy plastic. The lack of metal in at least the lid makes for a slightly weaker overall design.
As for the keyboard, its well sized and built with constant use in mind. Plenty of space is provided for comfortably resting the wrists and the keys themselves are evenly and brightly backlit for easy identification in the dark.
Because it’s a gaming laptop, the three key pieces of hardware in the Acer Aspire are its GPU, RAM and its CPU processor. All three are almost standard issue in most of the 4K laptops we’ve reviewed and while all combine to make a machine that can run exquisitely fast for all normal use and for most HD gaming, the GPU in particular is simply not built for 4K gaming.
This is Nvidia’s GTX 860M graphics card with its own dedicated GDDR5 VRAM 2GB RAM. While definitely an excellent performer for virtually any level of detail and intensity when it comes to HD gaming on this laptop, this particular card simply doesn’t hold a candle to much more powerful GPUs like the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti or the Titan graphics cards. These are what you’d really need to make 4K PC gaming work and they simply wouldn’t fit inside a laptop of this size.
On the other hand, the 16GB DDR3 RAM is more than powerful enough for all sorts of heavy use on the Aspire V15 and the Intel i7 4710HQ CPU offers a very strong, robust performance.
Finally for hardware, the Inspire comes with both a 256GB SSD hard drive for overall rapid functionality to its OS and general programs and a 1TB HDD mechanical hard drive for bulk storage of plenty of videos, media, games and whatever other files you need to keep on the machine.
Last of all, we move onto the connectivity and ports in the Acer Aspire. What you get with this machine is a pretty standard and robust package of 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI 1.4a port and Ethernet, WiFi and microphone/speaker jacks. The extra USB 3.0 port is a nice bonus since most 4K laptops on the market seem to go with only two of these and a third, weaker, USB 2.0 port.
The Acer Aspire V15 comes with Windows 8.1 64 bit built into it. This operating system is excellent for a normal HD laptop and works decently for a 4K display but you might want to later go ahead and install Windows 10 in your Inspire, it’s definitely the more 4K-friendly OS.
The Aspire has a sadly weak battery life that will drain down in less than 5 hours even if the machine is being used idly. If you plan on running games on this notebook, forget about doing it with just the battery, it will probably die on you within less than 50 minutes.
Furthermore, the overall brightness of the screen on the Aspire, while great across the board, can vary more than we’d like to see between sections.
Finally, despite being a powerful HD gaming laptop, the Acer Inspire is certainly no 4K gaming powerhouse. FPS of even 30 frames will be hard to reach and even that’s only possible if you’re running lighter 4K-capable games at their lower detail settings.
The Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition VN7-591G-70TG 15.6-Inch Ultra HD Laptop is currently selling on Amazon.com for just $959.99. This certainly makes it one of the more affordable 4K laptops on the market right now and this is definitely a great price for what this machine will give you.
5.0 - 2 Review
• Excellent IPS display
• Solid connectivity options
• Superb price
• Well designed for constant use
• Good brightness
• Low battery life
• No metal in body
• Color spectrum coverage could be better
• Not a 4K gaming laptop
• Uneven brightness