First look: Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition

Processor

The latest Intel Core i7 processor powers this gaming laptop, supplemented by 8GB to 16GB of RAM. The $1,798 15-inch model uses an ultra-low voltage chip that sacrifices performance for battery stamina, but other variants will use a full-strength Intel Core i7-4710HQ chip. Another difference: this model has a GeForce GTX 850M graphics chip while the other models use a slightly faster GeForce GTX 860M chip.

Keyboard

Like many gaming laptops, the Nitro has a reddish-orange backlight that switches off automatically to conserve power when no activity is detected. Personally, I wish that the backlight is brighter. The keyboard is not as shallow as those in ultrabooks, but falls short of a proper gaming keyboard.

A "Black Edition" logo is engraved on the touchpad to denote that it is the high-end version. The touchpad itself is responsive and accurate. It is a pity that most gamers would probably be using a mouse for better performance.

Storage

All models have a 1TB hard drive, though some versions come with an additional solid-state drive (60GB or 120GB) to improve performance.

Screen

Unfortunately, the unit I received has a mediocre 1,366 x 768-pixel matte screen. But Acer will sell the full-HD versions here. These screens will use IPS (in-plane switching) technology to ensure good viewing angles. For those who desire even more pixels, Acer also offers a 15-inch model with a 4K (3,840 x 2,160-pixel) display.

Ports

There are three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI and an Ethernet port on the Nitro. It also has an SD card slot, but overall, it has relatively few ports compared with its competitors. An optical drive (DVD or Blu-ray combo) is available on some models.

Design

As gaming laptops go, the black-clad Nitro looks fairly reserved. There is no glowing logo and none of the LED lights that its competitors use. The metal lid has a soft-touch striped finish while the palm rest and keyboard area are matte and smooth. Unique to the 17-inch Nitro Black Edition is a high-speed metal fan that Acer says is meant to prevent dust build-up inside the laptop. As my review unit was the 15-inch version, I could not try it.

This article was published on Aug 27 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.

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