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Windows 8 is full of touch-based gestures and big, colourful live tiles just begging to be poked. New laptops are therefore going to need to boast touch-enabled displays if they want to be taken seriously.
Acer's V5-571P offers just such a display and doesn't charge the world in exchange -- far from it. It's on Amazon now for only £430. That price only nets you an old Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM though.
It might be affordable, but is it worth it?
Should I buy the Acer Aspire V5-571P?
With an asking price of only £430, the V5 is a very affordable entry into the touchscreen world of Windows 8. It will demand that you make some serious compromises for that price though.
The screen for one is very low resolution for a 15-inch machine. Colours look pretty awful on it too, and are only slightly remedied by tinkering with the display calibration.
The processor too is one of the older-generation Intel Sandy Bridge models which doesn't offer much in the way of performance. It'll handle the essentials adequately but that's about it. For £30 less, you can snag a Core i5-packing HP laptop with 6GB of RAM.
If you desperately want a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop on the cheap then it's an option worth consideration, but it's far from perfect.
Design and build quality
Outwardly, the V5 is really nothing to write home about. The lid is simply a wide expanse of grey, broken only in the middle by the Acer logo. That same grey can also be found under the lid, and is only offset by the black keyboard tiles.
It really is a very dull design, but it is at least functional. If you're after something a bit more stylish to show off in a coffee shop,with its white glass lid will be much more suitable -- although it will cost you many hundreds of pounds more.
The V5 measures 386mm wide and 254mm deep, putting it at the larger end of what you'd realistically describe as portable. It's only 23mm thick though, so it should slide easily into a sleeve and isn't heavy enough to be a drag as you carry it around.
The chassis has an all-plastic construction, which makes it feel somewhat cheap -- although I'm happy to forgive this given the very reasonable £430 price tag. There's not much in the way of flex in the lid or the keyboard tray and it feels as though it could take at least a few knocks inside a bag.
Around the edges you'll spy an HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's also an odd, slim port which turned out to be a combined Ethernet and VGA port -- courtesy of an adaptor that you'll find in the box. That's fine, but those adaptors aren't common, so if you lose it, you'll struggle to replace it. I'd prefer those ports to be built into the computer itself.
There's also a DVD drive tucked into the side. It doesn't take high-definition Blu-ray discs, but the screen doesn't have the resolution to cope with Blu-ray anyway. Considering the price, DVD is a perfectly acceptable option.