It’s not often that we see full-fledged under-$500 notebooks, and, when we do, they’re usually cheaply constructed and don’t perform well, making them difficult to take seriously. Hence, our pleasant surprise after spending a few days with Acer’s recently released Aspire V5-471-6569, a $498 Walmart modelBest Deal: $498.00 at Walmart.com that passed through our labs. While this budget laptop won’t win any beauty contests—and it’s certainly no powerhouse—it’s more than sufficient for running standard productivity applications such as Quicken and Word, as well as for Web browsing, social-media surfing, and e-mail.
Often, when writing about low-priced machines like this one, we find ourselves discussing them from a get-you-what-pay-for perspective—in other words, as machines fraught with sometimes unacceptable compromises. In this case, though, the Aspire V5-471-6569 provides exceptional value for the money. Here, “entry-level” doesn’t mean intolerable sacrifices—that is, unless you crave a notebook for playing the latest resource-intensive games. No model at or near this price can do that.
High-end gaming, professional-grade media editing, and intensive 3D-graphics rendering may be out, but the V5-471-6569 is equipped to pull off everyday computing tasks, including moderate multimedia consumption. Its screen, while not dazzling, displays text, images, and video acceptably. It has an optical drive, a decent set of ports for connecting to peripherals, and a memory-card reader, making it a well-rounded entry-level laptop.
Still, when you spend under five C-notes for a notebook, you have to expect some corner-cutting. Here, rather than sacrificing useful features, Acer made trade-offs mostly in the internal components—its use, for example, of Intel’s relatively slow and dated second-generation (a.k.a. “Sandy Bridge”) Core i3-2367M processor, paired with a modest 4GB of system memory and a tepid 5,400rpm, 500GB hard drive.
While this combination of components may not add up to fiery computing power, it allowed Acer to offer a fairly capable laptop at a very affordable price. This configuration is, in terms of overall computing muscle, a bare minimum by today’s standards, but we still got passable performance from this model on most of our benchmark tests.
If you’re looking for fast and snazzy, this isn’t it, but then, you won’t land an exceptional laptop for $500. You’ll have to dig deeper for that—perhaps much deeper. But the Aspire V5-471-6569 is a good all-around light-duty machine at a fair price, making it a good buy for first-time buyers, families seeking a third or fourth PC, certain students, and, yes, even some business users.
Read this review at Computer Shopper.