December 5, 2012
- Attractive aluminum chassis
- Responsive touch screen
- DVD optical drive
- Good overall performance
- Display quality could be better
- Some minor clickpad issues
Acer Aspire M5-481PT is a new 14-inch Windows 8 touch screen laptop that has a solid metal chassis, a DVD disc drive, solid performance and good battery life all for a competitive price. The quality of the display could be better and we had some issues with the clickpad, which are both disappointing.
The rush of new Windows 8 laptops has been overwhelming. Just in the last month, we've reviewed almost a dozen new laptops, most of which have a touch screen to take advantage of the new touch-friendly interface of Windows 8. This Acer M5 is a Best Buy-exclusive offering that looks to play it traditional by keeping the laptop look and feel.
One thing that we really like about the Acer Aspire M5-481PT is the smooth brushed aluminum metal finish. It looks absolutely polished and sexy (for lack of a better word). It measures 13.4 x 9.7 x 0.8-inches and weighs 4.4-pounds, so its definitely portable too.
When you open the lid, the M5 looks eerily similar to the Apple MacBook Pro with a silver keyboard deck, black chiclet-style backlit keyboard and large multitouch clickpad. We really like the look of the interior and we think most users will too. The keyboard is comfortable to use and offered a good amount of click. One thing we didn't like was the placement of the power button, which is stealthily placed on the front edge.
We did have some minor issues with the multitouch clickpad, especially when we tried multitouch gestures. There were times that these gestures worked flawlessly and other times where they didn't work at all or were choppy. We aren't sure why but it definitely made us notice.
The 14-inch 1366 x 768-pixel display is framed by a narrow black bezel and features a multitouch panel. The display's quality could definitely be better as it lacks wide viewing angles and sometimes the colors get a bit washed out. The display lays flat a nearly 180 degrees for touch-friendly use. The touch screen aspect to the display worked great and made up for the issues we had with the clickpad.
In terms of connectivity, the Acer Aspire M5-481PT has two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, Ethernet, a headphone/microphone combo jack and an SD card reader. There is also a tray-loading DVD+/-RW optical drive, which is something uncommon on new Windows 8 touch screen laptops. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The only configuration for this Best Buy-exclusive laptop includes an Intel Core i5-3317U 3rd-gen 1.7GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, a 20GB solid-state drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. The choice of CPU is extremely common among all other similar laptops making their way onto the market but the 6GB of memory is a little more than the typical 4GB. During our use, we found the M5 to be zippy and had no performance-related issues. Performance is definitely on-par with about every other similar 14-inch Windows 8-powered laptop.
The integrated Intel graphics mean that this laptop isn't for any 3D gaming, but most users that would be looking to buy this laptop won't miss that.
Battery life with the Acer Aspire M5 tapped out at around 6-hours, which is about average for the 14-inch laptop category.
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