Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition Review

17-inch Gaming Laptop With an Amazing Display

Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition.
Photo from Amazon

Acer is not known as a company that makes high-performance gaming systems, rather, they are best known for their value-priced PCs. However, the company seems to be trying to change consumer attitudes with the Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition. This is a 17-inch inch laptop featuring a one-inch profile with solid performance for any gamer. It's most closely related to the MSI GS 70 laptop, though thicker and heavier at 6.6 pounds. Still, it's very portable compared to many on the market. Style-wise, it's not very flashy, with a black matte finish and a standard Acer logo on the lid. There are some silver accents and red lighting underneath the keyboard.

Processor Power and Performance

Powering the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition is the Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor. This is an extremely popular processor for just about any desktop replacement class laptop as it provides it with an extremely high level of performance even for demanding tasks like desktop video work. This, combined with 16GB of DDR3 memory, means that the laptop has no issue with just about any type of task one can throw at it or heavily multitasking.

Much of the performance from the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black can be attributed to the inclusion of a 256GB solid-state drive. This is a nice high capacity drive that is atypical for a laptop in this price range but it means that the Windows operating system or games load extremely quick. If you still need more storage, don't worry. Acer has also included a large 1-terabyte hard drive in the system for storing things like your data files (including digital video). The drive does spin at a slower 5400rpm rate, but you won't notice it much because of the SSD. If you still need additional space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives. Unlike many other thin 17-inch gaming laptops, this one still features a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD and DVD media.

Solid Graphics

What's a gaming laptop without a good screen and some solid graphics? The 17.3-inch display uses a 1920x1080 native resolution which is a good resolution for mobile gaming. It offers a very bright image that offers a very wide angle of view thanks to the IPS based panels. Many gaming laptops use TN panels for their speed but offer contrast and color dropoff which is not apparent here. The only con here is that it is not a touchscreen but most gamers likely won't care about that. The graphics are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M. This is not the latest graphics processor or even the highest end model, but the graphics performance is just fine for the screen resolution. Some games may require a little bit of dialing down detail levels to keep frame levels acceptable, but overall it works well.

Keyboard Layout Design

The keyboard makes use of the typical isolated key layout design with a full numeric keypad on the side because of the large size of the system. The keys are flat rather than contoured but it does not seem to impact the comfort or accuracy of the keyboard. Key travel is good and it overall offers a solid feel. The trackpad is a nice size and uses integrated clickpad button. Right-clicking is achieved by using two fingers instead of one, and multitouch tracking works well enough.

How Does the Lower Cost Affect Product Quality?

With the low cost, there are inevitably a few things that Acer was likely to cut back on and the battery was one of them. To keep the profile thin and costs down, a smaller capacity pack with just 4605mAh rating is used. Acer estimates that this will provide up to 4 hours of running time, but obviously not while gaming. In digital video playback tests, the system lasted a very short two and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is disappointing, but many gamers are used to the fact that they need to be plugged in all the time. In contrast, the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 Touch provides over six hours but does so on a larger battery and more efficient dual-core processor.

The Bottom Line

Acer's Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition is a surprisingly affordable 17-inch gaming laptop that is relatively thin and light and features an amazing display. In fact, many people may just want to take a look at the system for its display alone. Of course, the system is more than just that and performance is excellent thanks to a large solid state drive. This isn't going to be a beast of a gaming laptop because it does rely on an older graphics processor but it does the job just fine. The biggest problem with it is the incredibly short battery life even for a gaming laptop. It also comes with a lot of preinstalled software which clutters it up.

Specifications and Description

  • Intel Core i7-4710HQ Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 256GB Solid State Drive and 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer DVD Burner
  • 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 720p Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M Graphics Processor with 2GB GDDR5 Memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, SD Card Slot
  • 16.65" x 11.54" x 1" @ 6.61 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1