"Entry Level Laptop Computer!"4.5 starson by CGPoston
Pros: Laptop is very thin,
Light and portable at 5 lbs,
15.6 HD screen is clear and attractive,
4GB RAM can be upgraded to 8GB,
Includes an internal DVD+/-RW DL drive; most similarly thin models don't,
HDMI port for external monitor / TV hookups.
Cons: Only includes a 4 cell battery,
Processor does not support hyper-threading,
Ethernet VGA ports require a separate dongle.
Summary: This is a light weight 15 inch laptop that is configured as an entertainment, Internet use, and light computing work laptop. The battery is a 4 cell unit that is probably the smallest battery I have ever seen for a laptop. However, it delivers a bit over 3 hours when playing a DVD with the wireless connected to the network. The laptop is very thin, so thin in fact that it cannot support a wired Ethernet connection and resorts to a dongle that provides a video connection and an Ethernet connection (the cable is a Y configuration). This makes for a very light computer. Of course, if you have wireless, the dongle is probably not needed. The wireless on this computer is VERY easy to setup! It also supports all of the current standards. I had no problem connecting to my n-router.
Here are the features of this laptop:
The laptop is configured to deliver the best display for videos. As such, it displays in wide format at 720p and has a screen resolution max of 1366 X 768. Videos look decent as long as they are viewed straight on. Moving up or down and left and right from direct view causes the image to fade and colors to disappear.
The audio is pretty typical of what you would expect from most laptops, tinny sounding at the best and high volume distorts. If you want to watch a movie, I would suggest using headphones! I have a pair of Sony Studio headphones and with those I have more than acceptable audio. This same caveat also applies to music; use either headphones or good powered speakers if you want acceptable audio.
One of the amazing features of this laptop is the fact that the keyboard contains a full 10 key on it. Now, this is not a big deal if you do not work with numbers very much, but it is a great feature if you do a lot of numeric inputs into something like Excel. As long as we are talking about the keyboard functions, I find that the keys are responsive and I have not had any issues with them. I type about 100 WPM and I have a rather heavy hand as I learned to type on a manual typewriter (Ok, I know I am as old as dirt!). So, the fact that there is not any key bounce (double or triple letters on a key stroke) indicates a fairly well made keyboard in my experience. The widescreen format of the display allows for the increased real-estate for the keyboard width to support the full keyboard functions.
The touchpad on this computer is fairly large and includes the normal right and left click positions. This design provides a lot of area for being able to use your fingers to move the cursor, it also provides a wonderful opportunity for frustration as you try to right or left click on something. The reason for the problem is that since the area where you right and left click are also part of the touch pad area, if you do not strike straight down for the function you can wind up moving the cursor to something you did not intend to strike instead of the function that you were looking for. This is NOT my favorite feature of the computer and may be an area where I would adjust to in time. For me, however, this simply means that I connect a wireless mouse to the computer to use instead of the touch pad.
Speaking of using a wireless mouse, this computer only has two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. So, if you normally connect a few devices via USB ports, you are going to need an external port hub. One thing that helps with this limitation is the fact that the computer has built in Blue Tooth so if you have devices that will work with that you do not need to use a USB port.
As long as we are talking about external connections, this computer does have all of the options covered. There is a HDMI port, a combined VGA and LAN port (a supplied Y-cable plugs into a special port and that provides the VGA and LAN connections), a thoughtfully located combined mike/speaker/headphone connection on the left side of the computer right up front, two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, and the power connection all on the left side of the computer. A two in one card reader, battery charge indicator (orange when charging and blue when charged) and power indicator (blue) is located in front. The DVD drive and Kensington lock location are on the right side of the computer. All in all, a well thought out design that makes it easy to use.
The DVD drive is just that, a DVD drive that will read and write DVDs or CDs. It does NOT read Blue Ray disks so that may limit some of your movie choices.
The battery for this laptop is a very small 4 cell unit. The advantage in this is that the battery adds very little weight to the computer! The disadvantage is that the run time on battery is limited. The company lists a 4 hour battery life and I found that if you are using a DVD to play a movie and have your wireless turned on at the same time that the battery life is about 3 hours and 10 minutes. Long enough to watch a full length movie and then some.
Probably the two biggest limitations of this computer are the processor and the graphics chip. If you go to the Windows Experience Index (on the System Tab) this computer has a 4.3 number which is driven by the processor. The next limitation is graphics with a 4.5 while it surprisingly has a 5.6 gaming graphics listing. Still, the processor limitations will probably limit any gaming that you might be doing on this computer. If you do any picture editing and like making videos out of your pictures, you will find that the processor works well enough although rendering the pan and zoom features makes the playback a bit jerky.
Memory on this computer is delivered with a single 4 Gig memory module with room for a second memory module (the maximum memory the system bios will support is 8 Gig). This is unusual in that they did not put in two smaller and less expensive 2 Gig memory sticks. This allows you to just buy a single 4 Gig memory module to upgrade to the full supported memory maximum. The memory is easy to get at with the need to only remove two Philips screws. Lift the door carefully as there are two plastic snaps that must be overcome to fully open the door. Also, when you go to close it up again apply pressure gradually in the middle of the door as you close it to re-engage the plastic snaps. Then, re-install the two Philips screws and you are done.
This computer comes loaded with Microsoft Office (requires you to purchase a license key to be able to use all of the features) that gives you basic Word and Excel functionality if you do not purchase a license key. This is not trial software so it will not die in 90 days. This may be enough Office software to be adequate for many people.
Other things loaded on the computer include e-bay, Facebook, Netflix, Skype, and Nook for PC. These are all entertainment types of shortcuts. There is a 60 day version of McAfee anti-virus that will hound you to purchase the balance of a year's protection ( personally, I find the free version of anti-virus software from Microsoft (Microsoft Security Essentials) to work extremely well and it eliminates a recurring fee). They have also loaded Window's Live which provides you with several useful programs (including photo editing) that work quite well. Several games and a shopping center for games are included. As usual, there is a lot of software that you will probably wind up removing, but they do provide you with lots of options.
Speaking of options, the browser is preconfigured with BING as the search engine and with the BING tool bar. You will find that if you want to want to use another search engine, you also need to remove the BING tool bar or you will not realize that anything has changed.
All in all, this is a great laptop for the price for someone looking to surf the Internet, watch videos, have a cool looking laptop computer, and that wants to do business type of work (spreadsheets, Word documents, etc.), and e-mail. If you are looking for a gaming computer, a computer that will support intense graphics, or extended run times on battery, this is NOT the computer for you.
Note: if you will buy this laptop, you can check for discount at: hddisplaylaptops.blogspot.com/p/acer-aspire-v5-531-4636.html
Great laptop, high recommend!