Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)stars
Thanks to new Intel CPUs and upgraded components, the 15-inch MacBook Pro remains a high-end...
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Toshiba Chromebook 2stars
For its second Chromebook, Toshiba shaved off as much chassis as possible without sacrificing...
Acer's keeping things traditional with the V3, with black and silver the order of the day. As seems to be the trend with laptop vendors at the cheaper end of the spectrum, inside is a last generation Intel Core processor, the Core i5 2450M.
- USB 3.0: 1
- USB 2.0: 2
- Optical: DVD±RW
- Video: VGA, HDMI
- Ethernet: Gigabit
- Wireless: 2.4GHz 802.11n, Bluetooth
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as performance is fine and you do score rather well in other areas, with 8GB RAM, a 750GB mechanical hard drive and Nvidia's GeForce GT 630M. At the time of writing, four SKUs are available at different price points, with our review model coming in at AU$899.
The keyboard is pleasant to use, and while the touch pad surface isn't the nicest we've used, it does use Elan technology, meaning a dual-finger tap can be set to bring up the right click menu, a feature we sorely miss from the Apple side.
The 15.6-inch, 1366x768 TN LG display does the job, and while Acer does have a "Dolby Home Theater" logo, the speakers are terrible, as laptop speakers often are. Karnivool's Scarabs had zero bass definition and became an ill-defined series of noises as everything seemingly flattened to mid-range. Beyond system sounds, you'll want to use headphones.
Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11n and Bluetooth handle networking, with dual band a rarity in something of this price range. Acer has included a single USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports, in an age where two USB 3.0 ports are the norm. VGA and HDMI perform video out duties, and headphone and microphone jacks, along with an SD card reader and DVD&plusm;RW drive complete the connectivity options.
Handbrake encoding (in seconds)
- 352HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
- 353Asus K55V (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
- 378Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
- 380Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)
- 386Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
- 541HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
- 763Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
- 766Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)