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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  • Mugur - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    Look at HP or Dell... Same situation. Just try to get an ultrabook from them at higher than 768p. Only Asus seems to move in the right direction. Reply
  • jonup - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    The 15 incher weighs in at over 5lb. This is not an ultrabook. and the Vs don't even get flash cache (granted they are labeled laptops). Isn't this the opposit of what ultrabook should be? Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    Fer chrissake. We just start to convince OEM's to start using matte again, then we get someone saying, "Yeah, glossy makes more sense because..."

    Zip it. Hush your mouth. Don't ever say a sentence starting with that line ever again.

    No. Nah uh. No way. I want matte displays back and you need to keep your mouth shut if all you can say is "Glossy makes sense because..."

    Now go in the corner, put on the dunce cap, and repeat in your head, "Matte is best," a hundred bajillion times and pray that glossy doesn't kill off all matte displays because of your moment of insanity. :P
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    Please tell me how many tablets and smartphones ship with matte displays. Thanks. Now go sit in a corner yourself. The entire comment is: "..at least for touch-enabled displays I find glossy makes the most sense (matte surfaces would tend to show wear over time)." Are you telling me that you think matte would be good on a surface where you routinely rub your fingers around? Seriously, think about that for a second more if you still don't get it. Over time, keyboards and palm rests that start out matte start to show "polished" areas where you touch them, and the same would happen for any matte touchscreen.

    Mind you, I think touchscreens on laptops and desktops are going to be a failure -- you don't want to reach out your hand to interact with a large display, not on a regular basis, despite how cool it might look in movies. If you're getting a tablet, touch is obviously the way to go, but for anything that doesn't work with a single hand holding it while the other controls it (e.g. a laptop) forget it. And in that case, of course I'd continue to preach the benefits of matte panels.
    Reply
  • hemmy - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    And claiming ACER is low balling it while everyone else is throwing in super high res displays on every computer...nobody is doing it. Apple's $1800 MBP comes with a 1440x900 screen, marginally higher than this. (Not to claim they are equally built machines, they aren't).

    That said...should they offer a 1080p version? Absolutely.
    Reply
  • Galcobar - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    Vizio CT-14. 1600x900 IPS screen with a (slower) mSATA 128GB or 256GB SSD and Ivy Bridge in a 14", 3.4 lb chassis for as low as $599.

    It's being done, at reasonable prices.

    It's not up to the standards of the $1200-$1700 Asus Zenbooks or Samsung Series 9 displays, but now we're talking degrees of quality. Similarly, complaints about the keyboard style or the god-awful buttonless trackpad (which is as common on ultrabooks as complaints about bad screens) are almost expected within the ultrabook segment,

    And to top it off, VIzio's not getting the extra revenue from loading these Thin + Light models with bloatware, so other manufacturers have even less of a profit margin excuse for their display choices.
    Reply
  • elitistlinuxuser - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    Why are people complaining about resolution why not just buy an Acer s7 with 1080p resolution or something else with higher resolution. Reply
  • buythiscomputer - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Is ACER V5 11.6 inch the best small laptop now ? Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    First page, spec chart... can't even read any further because they have useless screens. What kind of sense does it make to use a very crappy screen? Especially on a machine that's supposed to provide a "premium" user experience. 1600x900 at 500:1 contrast ratio or higher or don't even bother. I don't care if the screen is 10", that's the minimum acceptable resolution. I'm probably preaching to the choir here on Anandtech, but it simply cannot be stated enough until the stupid laptop manufactuers listen! /rant Reply
  • raok7 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    This is growing in fast way, i just love the acer product its the technology which is for life time...
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