AT A GLANCE
The Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G-75RM) brings into the competition almost everything you want in a budget midrange gaming laptop. It boasts top speeds, solid graphics performance, and decent battery life; all of which wrap-in for a win in both price and performance.
PROS: Latest Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card. Excellent performance. Great graphics.
CONS: Does not support Nvidia G-Sync. Port selection is rather minimal, but OK.
We started the year with news of Acer releasing a new gaming laptop. Sure, a couple of days ago, the Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G-75RM) $999.99 at Amazon flaunted into the market, marking a signature debut of gaming products to be equipped with the new Pascal graphics cards (most probably GeForce 1050 or GeForce 1050 Ti), with good gaming muscle at nice prices. It packs the latest Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics card for butter-smooth gaming performance, even with the most graphic-sipping games, played at native FHD resolution. To that, it adds all the connectivity options a power-user would ever want (including a USB-C), expandable memory, and almost perfect battery life we’ve tested among midrange gaming laptops.
With typical gaming looks-inherited from the good Predator design, the laptop is clad in a plastic chassis. The plastic case feels sturdy, so you won’t have any complaints, especially with the matte surfaces feeling premium and nice to touch. Unlike the gaily-lit gaming laptops we’re used to, Acer opted for a completely matte black profile on the newest Aspire VX 15. All you have are two red accents that come in way of fancy strikes on the cover, red keyboard lighting, a red stripe covering the touchpad border and similarly colored rear fan exhausts. To give it a premium look, the central hinge is toned in silver which blends well with the matte black body and red accents.
Like the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-408 $1,394.51 at Amazon , the VX 15 has a 1,920-by-1,080 LED-backlit IPS display, though, it doesn’t support touch. The display may not be as sharp as, say, the Razer Blade’s QHD+ 3840 X 2160-resolution screen or the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro 4K-228 $2,049.00 at Amazon , colors are still vibrant. Right above the display, there’s a 720p webcam.
The chiclet style keyboard has nice travel, and it comes with a dedicated numeric keypad, which is a bonus for a 15-incher. In fact, it is very spacious, backlit with a large palm rest area. The W, A, S, D, and arrow keys have painted red accents, while the rest of the keys are black and white with backlighting. The keyboard is ideal for gaming with comfortable keys that provide long travel.
Acer doesn’t include any programmable keys, like most gaming laptops do, but they did implement a power button into the layout on the upper right. It isn’t possible to dim the keys individually. The touchpad has red accents as well, and is smooth to use.
Port selection is excellent on the Aspire VX 15. Here you get one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports (one with power-off charging), an HDMI port, Ethernet, and the new USB Type-C. Others include, the AC adapter jack, a Kensington lock slot, and a headphone jack. That’s not quite as many ports as you get in rival gaming laptops, but the available I/O ports are still sufficient. For wireless connectivity, the Predator 15 relies on dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Storage is quite sufficient for the most important games and files, if you need more you can always hook-up an external drive. Our review unit packs a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), which is far much better than rivals who offer 1TB mechanical hard drives. The Acer Predator 15 (G9-591-74KN) boosts of a 1TB, 7,200RPM hard disk drive (HDD) and a 512GB solid state drive (SSD), similar to the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K, which is more than enough space for most users. If you need more space, you can do so via an HDD upgrade kit which is a 2.5” bracket with SATA and power cable. It comes with Windows 10 pre-installed.
Notably absent is support for Nvidia G-Sync, which eliminates the stuttering and tearing in games by matching what’s being displayed to what’s actually being rendered by the GPU. While it’s not a must-have feature in gaming laptop, G-Sync improves your overall experience by eliminating common animation glitches that could distract you and prompt you to spend some time adjusting the display and game quality settings. To get G-Sync on the Aspire VX 15, you’d have to hook the laptop up to a monitor that supports it.
The Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G-75RM) is powered by a 2.8GHz Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core processor with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics and 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM, which yields excellent graphics and multimedia benchmark results, as well as impressive work performance. To that, add 16GB DDR4 system memory and you have in your hands a beast for a gaming laptop that will perform productivity duties like video conferencing with ease, even better than most midrange gaming laptops.
The Aspire 15 excels in graphics applications, thanks to the Pascal-based GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. Despite the lack of G-Sync technology, the graphics-sipping Far Cry 4 played smoothly at native resolution, looked vibrant, and was very responsive. However, it should be noted that the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 are the Pascal architecture’s equal of the older GTX 970M and GTX 965M, so they are just entry-level gaming GPUs. The real ball starts to roll when you bring GTX 1060, 1070 & 1080 into the picture, as they yield better frame rates per second (FPS) on even the most graphic-intensive modern titles.
For gaming, the GTX 1050Ti will give you: The Witcher 3-37FPS, Fallout 4-54FPS, Battlefield 1-56FPS and FIFA 17-123FPS, all played at native (1920-by-1080) resolutions. This is slightly on the lower side that what you’d get, let’s say, from the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-408 $1,394.51 at Amazon , that comes with Nvidia GTX 1060. The MSI does crunch the numbers on most games at 1080p settings–Hitman average 61FPS, GTA 5 average 60FPS and 62FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider, although you expect more numbers as you reduce the settings. Even though the 1060 isn’t the top of the new graphics line, the entry of Pascal provides a clear boost in gaming muscle over previous generation’s graphic cards.
With a 3-cell Lithium ion (4605mAH) battery, the laptop lasted an impressive 5 hours and 28 minutes on our rundown test. Most other midrange gaming laptops don’t even come close, including the GT72 Dominator Pro (3:25), Ghost Pro 3K (3:17), and the Razer Blade (4:52). Machines with better graphics performance, such as the Asus ROG (G752VT-DH72) and the Origin EON15-X, only last a little more than 2 hours given their processing power combined with large, hi-res screens sucking up power.
A jump into Pascal graphics technology and latest Kaby Lake processor make the Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G-75RM) $999.99 at Amazon an attractive value proposition in every angle, beating even high-end machines with previous generation graphics cards on gaming–it does so affordably. While its physical appearance may not be appealing to everyone, especially those who want lights and labels all over, but that’s not much of a deal-breaker for a stay-at-home gaming system, that’s less bulky and heavy than most gaming rivals. Its feature set is quite generous, and even with a smaller screen, the graphics card is still hard to pass by, especially at its price range. If you’re shopping on a budget but fancy a machine taht can play new games, it’s tough to beat this value.