- Review Date: 6/23/2014
- Bottom line: With discrete graphics, diverse port selection, excellent performance, and a reasonable price, the Acer V7-482PG-6629 is a top pick for midrange ultrabooks.
- Pros: 1080p HD touch screen. Discrete graphics. Full set of ports. Speedy wake-from-sleep and reboot times. Excellent multimedia and 3D benchmark results.
- Cons: Only one USB 3.0 port. Some bloatware.
The Acer Aspire V7-482PG-6629 ($899.99 as tested) midrange ultrabook delivers excellent performance along with a top-notch 14-inch 1080p HD resolution In-Plane Switching (IPS) touch screen. You also get discrete graphics and a diverse selection of I/O ports. The V7-482PG-6629 justifies its price premium over the entry-level ultrabooks we've seen recently, and it has the goods to satisfy the widest possible range of power users. All of this helps it to earn our Editors' Choice award for midrange ultrabooks.
Design and Features
The 14-inch screen dictates the system's size and shape. It measures about 0.9 by 13.5 by 9.5 inches (HWD), which is close in dimensions to the entry-level ultrabook Editors' Choice Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch and the Toshiba Satellite E45T-A4300. At 4.18 pounds, it's imperceptibly lighter than either system. The chassis is a bright silver color that mimics the look of brushed aluminum (Acer calls it "Cool Steel"). The panels are actually made of plastic/polycarbonate, allowing Acer to invest more on the discrete graphics card and a 1080p HD screen.
The 10-point touch display is bright and clear, with a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, matching other midrange ultrabooks like the Lenovo Yoga 2 13. The one-piece touchpad is as wide as the space bar, which is quite convenient if you don't want to move your hands from home position to use the touch screen. The backlit, chiclet-style keyboard is comfortable to use, with a solid key feel. The Backslash key is flush with the Enter key, the result of of Acer repurposing the same keyboard deck cutouts with other markets that use a larger Enter key.
Four speakers built into the bottom of the chassis pump out good-volume audio. It could use a subwoofer for low notes, but in general you'll be happy with sound from games and videos in everything but cavernous rooms. You can, of course, connect a pair of headphones or external speakers for better sound.
There are two USB 2.0 ports on either side of the chassis and an SD card slot on the right. In the back, you'll find an Acer Converter port (for the included VGA dongle), an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a Kensington lock slot, and a single USB 3.0 port. Rear-mounted ports are rarer on ultrabooks and other laptops these days, but are more convenient if you need to semi-permanently connect your laptop to wired Ethernet and/or an external display. One minor drawback is that the two USB ports on the sides are both USB 2.0. Having a least one extra USB 3.0 port on the side would be more convenient for faster data transfers with equipped peripherals.
There's a bit of bloatware on the 500GB hard drive, including apps like Amazon, eBay, Hulu Plus, and Wild Tangent games. The 24GB mSATA caching solid-state drive (SSD) ensures that the ultrabook reboots and wakes from sleep quickly. The system comes with a standard one-year warranty.
Multimedia test results were quite good at 1 minute 23 seconds on Handbrake and 4:59 on Adobe Photoshop CS6. Contrast this with the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite, which took more than twice as long to run Handbrake (3:09) and couldn't complete the Photoshop test. This shows that the Intel Core i5-4200U CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M GPU in the V7-482PG-6629 are a better bet than the custom AMD X4 and Radeon HD 8250 graphics in the Samsung Book 9 Lite. The HP Spectre 13T-3000 has the same processor as the V7-482PG-6629, but only integrated graphics and 4GB of memory, and it lagged slightly behind on Handbrake (1:33) and way behind on Photoshop (13:50). The Lenovo Yoga 2 13 (1:23 on Handbrake; 5:05 on CS6), the Toshiba E45T-A4300 (1:24 on Handbrake; 5:54 on Photoshop), and the Lenovo U430 Touch (1:25 on Handbrake; 6:13 on Photoshop) were a bit more competitive.
On the 3D gaming tests, the Nvidia GeForce graphics helped the V7-482PG-6629 gain playable numbers on Aliens vs. Predator (39 frames per second) and Heaven (34fps), both at medium-quality settings. None of the other ultrabooks with integrated graphics could score more than 16fps on the same tests. The V7-482PG-6629's frame rates are competitive with the Gigabyte U24T-CF1, a high-end ultrabook that also uses an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M GPU, albeit with less graphics memory (38 fps on Aliens vs. Predator, 44 fps on Heaven). Note that the Gigabyte U24T-CF1 is limited to 1,366-by-768 resolution because of its LCD panel, which explains its higher scores on the maximum-quality 3D game tests. It's not enough to call either system a hardcore gaming rig, but the V7-482PG-6629 puts on a good show for the occasional gaming session.
Eight hours of battery life is our standard for all-day computing. The V7-482PG-6629 doesn't quite get there, but turned in a very good 7 hours 17 minutes on our rundown test. This assuredly trumps the Samsung Book 9 Lite (5:23) and the Gigabyte U24T-CF1 (6:19). The Toshiba E45T-A4300 fared slightly better at 7:32, and the HP 13T-3000 delivered 8:58.
It has been a long time since we've awarded an Editors' Choice for midrange ultrabooks, because the space has been evolving over the past three years. Systems like the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch have moved down in price with lower-resolution screens and spinning hard drives, while high-end ultrabooks, like the Editors' Choice Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, have moved upmarket with QHD+ (3,200-by-1,800 resolution) screens, all-day battery life, speedy SSD-only configurations, and lofty price tags. The Acer Aspire V7-482PG-6629 excels in the middle, with a 1080p HD screen and discrete graphics balancing the price savings from its hybrid-drive configuration. It's an excellent choice for the user who needs power more than ultimate portability, and it replaces the venerable Toshiba Portege Z935-P300 as our Editors' Choice for midrange ultrabooks.