Acer crammed in more than just a pixel-punching graphics card.
Having known to offer some top-quality specs at a relatively low cost and now stepping into the fragile line of budget gaming laptops, Acer wants to offer Indian gamers a bang-for-their-buck gaming device.
Obviously, the Predator series seems like a more desirable option, but they come at a price. So, what has Acer done with this laptop to stand out? It's definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a casual gaming laptop.
Acer Aspire VX 15: Build and design
As you lay eyes upon this budget lappy, you’ll notice something very familiar. The two lines on the lid can easily be mistaken for an Asus ROG or Acer’s own Predator series laptop. You can quickly deduce that Acer wanted to keep the laptop appealing to the gaming audience and the brushed texture on the back might fool someone into thinking they’ve got a steal with this one for the price.
The trapezoidal profile again hints at its bigger sibling and make it look like sharp and sleek. But it's far from sleek, it’s quite heavy when you have to lug it around. More so when you have to carry that charger around as well. We’ll get to that in a bit.
The keyboard has decent feedback and there’s not much noise while typing. Though the number pad is somewhat squeezed in the corner, it might create some typing problems compared to rest of the generously spaced keyboard.
The backlighting is red and the WASD keys have a thick red border as if telling you what the laptop is designed to do. Again, Acer has dropped subtle hints all over the design of the laptop so that you don’t feel out of place at a LAN party filled with Predators and ROGs.
But RGB fans will feel the sting because Acer hasn't added any disco show for your RGB love here. Personally, I enjoy the LED mumbo-jumbo that most gaming laptops put up, but we will let this one slide since it’s running on a tight budget.
You need not worry about the thick hinge that has the Aspire VX logo embossed on it. It’s pretty sturdy and offers decent flex.
The two vents at the back are red and shaped to sport an aggressive look which we like but the overall body is plastic and that takes away the charm of the design.
Acer Aspire VX 15: Screen and battery
Acer has put in an IPS panel which has great viewing angles but the 15.6inch Full HD display is a bit of a let-down.
The colours are washed out and the screen suffers from lack of brightness. Washed out colors are more noticeable in games like CS:GO when playing the beloved Dust II map.
We even had to turn up the brightness to maximum to avoid squinting. Not to mention the fat bezels around the 15.6inch 1080p display feel like the machine is a bit too late for 2017.
On the horrible side of things, the battery life downright sucks. Be ready to take early visits to your plug point. Gaming laptops and battery life have long been like Mumbai roads and Monsoon, arch nemesis.
During regular usage, we managed to pull around four to five hours of battery life and while gaming, two competitive rounds of CS:GO should drain your battery enough to demand charge. That’s like about two hours of continuous gameplay time.
Acer Aspire VX 15: Features
There’s plenty of space for your games on the 1TB of hard drive. The 128GB M.2 SSD which has the OS booted on, can ease the pain of starting up and shutting down the laptop. The addition of an SD card slot and a USB type-C is definitely a plus point as well.
The ultra-fast wireless 802.11ac antenna has proven that it isn’t just a marketing gimmick. It managed to deliver speeds of up to 9Mbps over WiFi from my 10Mbps broadband connection. Prior to which I thought my internet had an actual speed of 5Mbps and my internet operator was scamming me. I now have new-found respect for my own internet. Funny story.
As for the audio, we were not expecting Dolby-enhanced speakers in this price range. The speakers are facing forward and are quite loud. Not the best ones on a laptop but Dolby software is always welcome especially when you plug in your headphones. This seems to be a major plus point for competitive gamers. Crisp and clear audio is essential to detect every sneaky footstep or flying frag.
Acer Aspire VX 15: Performance
Is there any justification for that bad battery life? Well yes. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Clocked at 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost Upto 3.8 GHz) and GTX 1050 (with 4GB VRAM) can suck the battery life like a little leech lost in a blood bank. But that’s a compromise we’re willing to make for the performance. This bad boy can hold on your gaming framerates well above your meagre expectations.
It scored a 5945 in the graphics score for Firestrike and Physics score was 10162. Sky Diver was 19490 and Physics score was 8457. But these stress benchmarks don’t excite us as much as real life performance. Budget laptops have a bad rep for under performing in real life practice. So we put this one through its paces to find out how much of a gaming laptop it is.
The laptop managed to keep a steady framerate of 60 on medium setting on Forza Horizon 3. It also happens to be one of the most graphically demanding games. Pumping up the GTX 1050 to ultra settings and the framerates drop considerably to an average of 20 frames per second.
Games like FIFA 17 work super-smooth with no framerate drops and with CS:GO, it barely broke a sweat. So expect the laptop to perform brilliantly for your competitive games. Latest games like DOOM, Forza Horizon 3 and Resident Evil 7 will need some dialling down on the graphics but nothing that will make them look like Minecraft or Assassin’s Creed Unity’s zombified faces.
Even softwares like Photoshop run without any hiccups thanks to Intel’s i7 beast and that 8GB DDR4 RAM.
Acer Aspire VX 15: Verdict
The angular design reeks of gaming behaviour but the overall plastic is definitely a let down. The dull screen is a compromise for bagging an Intel i7-7700HQ processor at this price point which more than makes up for it.
Sweet deal is that it can handle most of the latest games at 1080p with playable settings. While the surface heat dissipation is away from the left side of the keyboard where your hand rests. That means you can game on for long periods but only while sitting next to a plug point.
Nifty little features like high-speed WiFi antennas and Dolby-enhanced speakers affect your gaming experience more than you might credit them for. And the near-silent performance under game load is also remarkable.
The Aspire VX 15 is packed, though not a lot, but with features that make sense in a practical way. To keep the machine running games buttery smooth and not cost you a ton of money? Yep, that's the way Acer is headed with this baby.