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Acer Aspire V3-371 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £430
inc VAT

The Acer V3-371-380A has a pleasing design and great battery life, but the screen is below average


Performance is otherwise fairly sprightly. The V3-371 is powered by a low-voltage Intel Core i3-4158U processor, with 4GB of RAM, which is enough for basic tasks. This may not be enough if you open lots of web browser tabs or run multiple programs at the same time. There’s one free RAM slot beneath the plastic base, meaning you can easily double your RAM to 8GB if you want to boost performance.

Challenge the dual-core processor to a web page with lots of elements such as video, adverts or animated gifs and you’ll need to wait a few seconds, but this is true of all cheap laptops and most websites are just fine. In our benchmarking tests the Aspire V3 managed an overall score of 38, so if you want to do image or video editing you’ll definitely need to buy a more powerful laptop.

One upshot of this low-power processor is battery life: in our moderate use test, which involves scrolling through web pages and playing video, it lasted 11 hours, well above the seven hours claimed by Acer. In real terms, you should be able to get a full day of work out of this machine without having to worry about plugging in.

You get a 500GB hard disk in this model, which surprisingly also comes with 8GB of SSD cache. This is a small amount of SSD space, but it helps Windows 8.1 to boot relatively quickly; we measured it at 13 seconds from a cold boot to the Windows Login screen. A further 16 seconds are required to log on and finish the startup process. As usual, Acer is guilty of loading this machine with an embarrassing amount of unsolicited bloatware. There are media apps, links to Netflix and Lovefilm, an intrusive McAfee client and some Wi-Fi tools. This continues to be a major irritation, and we wish Acer would stop clogging up its budget machines with wasteful software.

Unusually for a low-end processor, the Core i3-4158U has an Intel Iris Pro 5100 graphics chip, which deviates from the usual 4000-series HD Graphics we see on all other budget laptops. While this more powerful hardware doesn’t make a huge difference when playing modern games – in our Dirt Showdown test it could only muster 19.4fps – it should help make the laptop a little more sprightly when playing HD videos and running very basic 3D games such as Halo: Spartan Assault.

We always stress the need for a 1,920×1,080 pixel display if you’re looking to multitask with windows side-by-side, but unsurprisingly that’s out of reach for budget machines like the VS-371. While we can forgive the 1,368×768 pixel resolution, we can’t say the same of the panel’s viewing angles. There’s a very narrow range in which the screen is easily legible, with dramatic contrast shifts if you move out of this sweet spot. This won’t necessarily be a problem if you’re sitting in a room that’s not brightly lit, but if you’re outside or under bright interior lights, adjusting the screen to reduce glare results in a compromised viewing experience. Colour performance, meanwhile, is average for a laptop at this price. In our tests the screen was able to display 65.1 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. We would have liked slightly higher contrast, though: the 235:1 we measured was a disappointment, and high quality images and video will certainly lose some clarity, particularly in darker scenes.

The Acer V3-371 is a decent budget laptop with a reasonable processor and great battery life. Our main gripe is with the screen; we can forgive its low resolution but the terrible viewing angles and contrast make it noticeably worse than other budget laptops. If you’re willing to spend £250 more, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (Group test, Shopper 323) is a more powerful 13in laptop with a Full HD screen.

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Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 2GHz Intel Core i3-4158U
Memory slots (free)2(1)
Max memory16GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Screen size13.3in
Screen resolution1,366×768
Graphics adaptorIntel Iris Pro 5100
Graphics outputsHDMI
Graphics memoryShared
Total storage500GB hard disk, 8GB SSD cache
Optical drive typeNone
Ports and expansion
USB ports1x USB3, 1xUSB2
Networking802.11n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet
Memory card readerSD
Other portsNone
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionWindows 8.1 recovery
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyOne-year RTB
Price inc VAT£430
Part numberNX.MPFEK.052

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