The first thing you will notice about the Acer Aspire V15 is its dark brushed aluminium cover which, on closer examination, reveals a textured pattern that adds a touch of class to a mundane laptop.
It also comes with a plastic palm rest that looks like it is made of brushed metal. Still, this laptop is unlikely to win any design awards. It is mostly plastic and, while fairly slim, is not exactly lightweight at 2.4kg.
I like the generous touchpad, which has plenty of space for touch gestures. These gestures include tapping with three fingers to trigger a search with Windows 10's Cortana personal assistant; using four fingers opens the Action Centre.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce 940M 4GB DDR3
SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: HDMI, VGA, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, audio jack
BATTERY: 37 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
BATTERY LIFE: 2/5
The laptop uses a precision touchpad designed by Microsoft and these touch gestures, along with other mouse-related settings, can be adjusted in Windows 10 settings.
It feels comfortable to type on the laptop's backlit keyboard. The keys are well-spaced and there is decent key travel.
The screen, however, is a letdown. While its 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution is standard for a 15.6-inch display, the screen has poor vertical viewing angles that result in distorted colours. From the sides, the screen looks washed out as well although, in both cases, text remains clear and sharp.
At $1,448, the Aspire V15 is affordable enough. But as is often the case with laptops in this price range, it comes with a 1TB hard drive rather than a solid-state drive (SSD). Those who are used to the SSDs and their near-instantaneous speeds may find the hard drive intolerably slow.
Fortunately, the rest of the hardware is pretty good. The processor is a brand-new sixth-generation Intel chip, while its mid-range Nvidia graphics chip can run recent games if you lower the resolution and graphics settings. Acer has also equipped the laptop with 16GB of memory, making it suitable for memory-intensive tasks, such as image or video editing.
In PCMark 8, the Aspire V15 scored 2,628 in the Home test. This is a higher score than that of a much more expensive laptop such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which costs over $2,000.
The Qualcomm wireless adapter in the laptop supports the latest 802.11ac wireless technology. More importantly, this adapter has an advanced wireless feature (MU-MIMO) that enables smooth video streaming and fast transfer speeds over Wi-Fi with a compatible 802.11ac Wave 2 router.
If you are still relying on DVDs for your movie fix, the Aspire V15 is perfect as it still retains a DVD drive, which many PC vendors are removing from their new laptops.
In our video-loop battery test, however, the Aspire V15 lasted a disappointing 3hr 50min. The battery is non-removable, so you do not even have the option of a spare.
•This laptop fails to deliver on battery life, but is versatile enough for both work and play.