Continuing our coverage of Acer’s Windows 8 offerings, we’re nearing the end of the roadmap with the consumer laptop offerings. This time, Acer is announcing the updated versions of their M Series and V Series laptops, with thinner designs than previous models and of course a new OS to go with the hardware. Starting with the M Series, Acer provided details for two new models, the 14” M5-481PT and the 15.6” M5-581T—both are technically Ultrabooks, though they’re obviously on the larger end of the spectrum. Here are the full specs.

Acer Aspire M5 Windows 8 Ultrabooks
Model M5-481PT M5-581T
Processor Core i5-3317U
(1.7-2.6GHz, 3MB L3)
Core i5-3317U
(1.7-2.6GHz, 3MB L3)
Memory 6GB DDR3 6GB DDR3
Storage 20GB SSD + 500GB HDD 20GB SSD + 500GB HDD
Display 14” Glossy 1366x768 LCD
10-point Multitouch
15.6” Glossy 1366x768 LCD
10-point Multitouch
I/O Ports 2 x USB 3.0
HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
Flash Memory Reader
2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
Flash Memory Reader
Extras DVDRW Drive
Backlit Keyboard
Webcam
DVDRW Drive
Backlit Keyboard
Webcam
Battery Up to 8 hours Up to 8 hours
Weight 4.63 lbs. (2.10kg) 5.07 lbs. (2.30kg)
Dimensions 13.39" x 9.65" x 0.81" (WxDxH)
340mm x 245mm x 20.6mm
14.43" x 10.05" x 0.79-0.81" (WxDxH)
367mm x 255mm x 20.1-20.6mm
Operating System Windows 8 Windows 8
Price (MSRP) $800 $700

The core specs are essentially unchanged from the existing M5 models, and the above offerings are apparently Best Buy exclusives (though Acer has a habit of releasing several nearly-identical models with minor changes in the naming, so you’ll probably be able to find the M5 elsewhere). The only major difference between the current M5 and the Windows 8 models—other than the OS, of course—is the addition of 10-point multitouch displays on select models. Sadly, the displays are still 1366x768 TN panels, but at least for touch-enabled displays I find glossy makes the most sense (matte surfaces would tend to show wear over time).

There are a few other items not specifically listed in the specs table that are worth discussing. First, Acer feels there’s a market for larger thin and lights (Ultrabooks) that still include optical drives, and the M series fills that niche. The chassis on the M5 is actually quite nice, with a magnesium/aluminum alloy exterior (the 14” has aluminum alloy covers while the 15.6” uses magnesium alloy covers). Finally, the batteries appear to be better than average, as Acer rates them for up to 1000 cycles and state that they’ll still be able to charge to 80% of their rated capacity beyond 1000 cycles.

It looks like the MSRP is slightly higher than the existing non-touch M5 models by $50 to $100, which may or may not be acceptable. We’re also not particularly keen on the 20GB SSDs, as they’re only used for fast resume—there’s not even a caching benefit to be had! So basically you’ll get standard HDD performance when it comes to loading the OS and applications, but the laptops can resume from sleep/hibernate very quickly. We’d prefer to see pure SSD storage at least as an option on some models, and with high performance TLC SSDs coming out, hopefully the next year will spell the end of conventional storage on the primary drive.

Acer Aspire V5 Windows 8 Laptops
Model V5-171 V5-471P V5-571/571P
Processor Core i3/i5/i7 Core i3/i5/i7 Core i3/i5/i7
Memory 4GB-8GB DDR3 4GB-8GB DDR3 4GB-8GB DDR3
Storage Hard Drive Hard Drive
Optical Drive
Hard Drive
Optical Drive
Display 11.6” Glossy 1366x768 LCD 14” Glossy 1366x768 LCD
(10-point Multitouch on 471P)
15.6” Glossy 1366x768 LCD
(10-point Multitouch on 571P)
I/O Ports 1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
Flash Memory Reader
1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA (via adapter)
Gigabit Ethernet (via adapter)
Flash Memory Reader
1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA (via adapter)
Gigabit Ethernet (via adapter)
Flash Memory Reader
Extras Webcam Webcam Webcam
Battery 4-cell, 5 hours 4-cell, 5 hours 4-cell, 5 hours
Weight 3.04 lbs. (1.38kg) 4.63 lbs. (2.10kg) 5.07 lbs. (2.30kg)
Dimensions 11.2" x 8.0" x 1.1" (WxDxH)
284mm x 203mm x 27.9mm
13.5" x 9.6" x 0.9" (WxDxH)
343mm x 244mm x 22.9mm
15.0" x 10.0" x 0.9" (WxDxH)
381mm x 254mm x 22.9mm
Operating System Windows 8 Windows 8 Windows 8
Price (MSRP) $450 $750 $500/$700

The Aspire V5 Series is targeted more at the value end of the spectrum, though the touch-enabled offerings push the limits of what I’d consider “value”. It’s also not clear if all of the V5 laptops will use ULV CPUs, but that appears to be the case as the two models where we received specs (V5-571P-6642 at $800 and V5-517P-6437 at $850) but use the i5-3317U processor.

The overall system design for the V5 looks similar on some levels to the M5 models above, but Acer foregoes the use of metal alloys here and instead uses plastic shells. The port layout is also different, so at the very least they’re not just reusing the design. The larger offerings include optical drives while the 11.6” model is slightly thicker but doesn’t have DVDRW or touch options, but it also has the lowest point of entry at $450 for the base model (presumably with a Core i5 CPU).

The other two models are basically the same hardware options, but the 14” 471P is only available with multitouch (for now) while the 15.6” offering comes is standard and multitouch flavors. Acer quotes the starting price of the 571 at $500 compared to $700 for the touch-enabled 571P, but there are likely other hardware differences as well. Interestingly, both the 14” and 15.6” models use a special Y-cable adapter to provide VGA and Ethernet support whereas it’s integrated into the chassis on the 11.6” model.

Availability of all the Windows 8 laptops will coincide with the October 26 launch date.

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  • Zodiark1593 - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Love how the tablets are getting good displays, but laptops still get poo for displays. -_- Reply
  • SigmundEXactos - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Actually, the palliative care nurse taking care of my wife's grandmother has been looking for a light, inexpensive laptop with a DVD drive. She watches shows and movies in her home language (it's one of the less common African ones). Right now her options are either expensive or heavy. So this is not what YOU or I would want, but there is a market. I'm glad there are options. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Given the $25-$50 price delta between the low-res displays and the higher res ones, the manufacturers have no excuses other than laziness or incompetence. The 768p laptops should be reserved only for 12" or smaller displays or $299 laptops. Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    it's not incompetence or laziness at all... making an additional $25-$50 per laptop sold is huge margins Reply
  • lo2dk - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    1366x768.

    Forget it Acer...
    Still no progress in display resolution. Stuck in the stoneage, at least give ppl option to pay for better display.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    "at least give ppl option to pay for better display"

    This I really dont get. It used to be fairly std on 16x10 laptops a 1280x800 laptop standard, for $50 extra you got 1440x900 and another $50 would get you 1920x1200. Since moving to 16x9, alot of models stopped offering upgrades. It wasnt until this year it started getting better, except for a few stragglers like Acer.
    Reply
  • relztes - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    This is what I don't understand. I doubt it even costs that much more for a decent screen. Give me a Trinity APU and use the savings to add a decent screen at the same price. Finally you'd have something to differentiate yourself from the 500 other 15" laptops with 1366x768 screens. I'd happily wait 2 seconds longer to make a zip archive if I could actually have some space to work on the screen. Why does no one do this? Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Please go fuck yourself Reply
  • mrdude - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Just what I was waiting for: a heavy, mediocre battery life Ultrabook with nothing to offer but an inflated price tag. Reply
  • retrospooty - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    That's not entirely true... if you have really bad eyesight, the rediculously low res screen is good :-) Reply

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