On any given day in the office, there’s at least four to five laptops sitting on my desk. I have to comb through them like I would a deck of cards, going over the features and specifications until I can pick one to review for the week. So my selection this week happened to be the Acer Aspire Q5WV8, a rather humble looking laptop that I hoped would have plenty to impress me with under its hood. Unfortunately, all I got in the end was nothing more than a rather oversized paperweight.
Build quality & Design
The Aspire continues on the recent trend of laptop manufacturers covering everything in glossy plastic, and while this laptop looked great the first time I took it out of the box, within minutes it had my glorious fingerprints all over it. Apart from the Acer logo emblazoned on the top cover, there’s little here in terms of design aesthetics.
To the left of the laptop is the power input, Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI, a single USB 3.0 port, and audio jacks. The right side sports two regular USB 2.0 ports as well as a slim DVD-multi drive and a Kensington lock. There’s no memory card reader or other faster transfer ports, but given the laptop’s later performance results, I think this is a good thing.
Screen and Keyboard
The Acer Aspire has a 15.6” HD CineCrystal LED LCD, running at a resolution of 1366x768. This is fairly decent, and the slightly larger display is easy to appreciate when web browsing or doing a bit of photo editing (emphasis on the ‘a bit’ part). They keyboard is a standard chiclet style which while spaced out well and features a full numpad, has tiny buttons for the directional arrows, which I absolutely hate on laptops. The trackpad is also somewhat glossy, and has been sized up as large as possible in relation to the size of this unit. Oddly enough I wasn’t able to get the side scroll feature to work no matter how many times I reinstalled the drivers or checked my settings, but hopefully this is just a software glitch. The buttons at the bottom sadly only click towards the ends, so if you try to click anywhere else on the button you’ll get nowhere.
The specifications on the Aspire Q5WV8 are basic at best, and their limitations really show during our later tests.
Oddly enough, there was zero bloatware or applications installed when this laptop arrived for review, which was a pleasant surprise. Not even the trial version of Microsoft Office was in sight, which was a welcome change. I’m hoping that the apps weren’t uninstalled before I got the unit, as I certainly think any extra baggage on this system would just be an overkill. Even with no extra software installed, the laptop took at good 48 seconds to go from a fully powered down state to the Windows desktop.
Performance / Battery life
The Q5WV8 was not built for doing anything more than word processing, and I should have realized this looking at the Windows Experience Index of 2.4. Still, I pressed on with my regular benchmarks in the hope that I could get some decent performance out of this unit, but it was not to be. PCMark 7 managed to just pull through the tests, with a grand score of 905. 3DMark came up with a score of 2243, running at about 8-10fps during most of the tests. Passmark gave it a score of 398, which is probably the lowest score I’ve seen so far on a benchmark. Forget about playing any PC games post 2007 on this unit, as it’s clearly built for nothing more than web browsing (though I think playing a Flash game might completely kill it).
Battery life on this was also disappointing – from a full charge at medium brightness it took just two hours and twenty five minutes for the device to beep and warn us to plug in a charger. Ten minutes later I was staring at a blank screen in disbelief as the laptop called it quits and shut down on its last breath.
The Acer Aspire Q5WV8 can’t do much. In fact, I wonder really who would buy something so heavy and so large if all they could do on it was watch YouTube clips and send emails. There are certainly more well designed laptops out there that would sail past the Aspire in terms of performance, so there’s very little reason tor recommend this laptop.