Acer VN7-571G Review (Broadwell, GTX 850M)

Not convincing, but priced well

Table of Contents (in short):

++ Main reason to consider:

Good gaming performance for money with the GTX 850M, good 1080p IPS display, good battery without competitors for around 700-750 Euros. Unavailable in the US, but a price point of $700-$750 in the US could make it interesting.

-- Main reason to avoid:

For not a lot more in price, you can get a lot more in gaming performance with GTX 860M and 960M equipped laptops. For those in need for a good keyboard, the VN7-571G is also, in my opinion, not the place to go.

Availability

Germany – Amazon, Cyberport

 

Pro : + Though not too high gaming performance / price ratio, still good gaming performance for its price point with not a lot of competition
+ Good 1080p IPS display + GTX 850M gaming performance for a competitive price, at least in Germany (not available in the US yet)
+ Good 1080p IPS display
+ Quite quiet, even under high load
+ Good battery performance at around 5 hours of web browsing / movies
+ Slick looks
+ Case remains cool
+ Speakers are not bad, though sound is muffled because of positioning
Con : - Not the best gaming performance for the money. For a little higher price, you could get much higher gaming performance (GTX 860M/960M laptops)
- 5400RPM HDD (new versions come with 7200RPM HDD)
- Keyboard is only average, not great for typists
- Maintenance is not easy with the M.2 slot on the other side of the motherboard, requiring disassembling
- Speakers could be better (though they are not that bad)
- No DisplayPort, only 3 USB 3.0 ports, no TPM module or Kensigton key lock, only one headphone/microphone plug hole
- All external connection ports including the power plug are on the right side - too packed

Introduction

ComponentDescription
PriceBasic version: 700-750 Euro in Germany. Still not priced in the US
CPUI5-5200U (2.2GHZ-3.0GHZ, 15W)
GPUNvidia Geforce GTX 850M 4GB DDR3, GM204M, 1024 shadars core@900-1084MHZ, DDR3@1000MHZ, 128-bit bus

In my unit - revision A1
Motherboard ChipsetIntel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Premium)
RAMSamsung 2x4GB DDR3@1600MHZ
2 banks of memory available, totally
StorageHDD : 500GB Seagate ST500LM000-1EJ162
(non SSHD), 5400RPM, 8MB cache
1xM.2, 1xSata 3.0 slots, 1xSATA 2.0

LCD PanelIn review: 1080p (1920x1080) 15.6", LG Display LP156WF6-SPB1
Weight / Dimensions2.4kg (~5.29 Lbs.)
388.6 x 256.5 x 23.8 mm
15.3" x 10.1" x 0.94"
(w x d x h)
Keyboardred backlit
Connection Portsright side: 3xUSB 3.0, ethernet, 1xHDMI 1.4, power-in, microphone/headphones
Left: DVDRW
front: 6-in-1 card reader
Camera1080p
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Atheros 802.11ac
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Speakers4.0 speakers
Battery54Wh
Bios / EC version (test unit)1.4 / 1.17
Extra features
more details

Sooo, the VN7-571G GTX 850M version is not available really in the US currently, but I’ve decided to review it anyway. The VN7-591G’s little brother packs some punch in it and the new Broadwell I5-5200U CPU. With a GTX 850M DDR3, 1080p IPS display, relatively ok weight (around 2.4kg including a DVDRW) for a 15.6″ laptop, backlit keyboard and an M.2 slot for around 700-750 Euros (around $800 when I got it) and should be lower in the US, making it interesting for around $700-$750, if it will ever will be sold in the US. Also, I wanted to provide a future reference for this model as it will be probably be the base to some updates in the future like CPU and GPU.

Build quality, Case, design and looks

Case it mostly firm, including the keyboard surface area, hinges, bottom and palm rest. The screen outer lid is typically less rigid, allowing some flex.

As with other laptops, I would be glad – and I think it’s important – that there will be less gaps and holes where dust could get in. I also think that laptops should come with plastic covers for all the external connection ports.

Looks

Looks nice and slick, yet simple. The looks are a bit plastic like (which is not bad by itself)

Maintenance and inner parts

 

Maintenance is not that easy. Opening the VN7-571G, like the VN7-591G is relatively simple, simply unscrew the bottom screws. Then the upper panel, the keyboard panel, will come off, but be careful – you need to disconnect three cables (not too hard) in order to open it completely. You’ll see one fan that cools the system and one Sata 3.0 connection (HDD) and Sata 2.0 (DVDRW), with the M.2 slot being on the other side

Sorry for the lower quality images.

Connection ports is a little disappointed part. Every connection port is on the right side, packed together – not very convenient. Three SUB ports and the HDMI and the headphones together which is not very comfortable. Also, no DisplayPort and/or kensington lock and other nice features.

The CPU and GPU are not replaceable and you cannot change the GPU or CPU later on.

 

 

Keyboard and touchpad

Keyboard. The Keyboard is average. It’s firm and has good feedback for most keys, but the key travel is short and response isn’t great, meaning that although you know that you’ve “finished” clicking thanks to good feedback cue, the key does not response much differently after it. I had quite a few misclicks with the “t” key. Seems to me like the keyboard quality is not equally distributed, so to speak, on the keys.

I don’t think it’s worse than the Y50 keyboard, but maybe worse than the VN7-591G keyboard, if they haven’t changed it since the first version.

Touchpad. Touchpad is ok and does not have the problems of the first VN7-591G versions, but the surface is not as smooth as could be. Acer does ship it with multi gesture support.

Sound & Speakers

The VN7-571G, like the VN7-591G, comes with 4.0 speakers – two at the bottom sides and at the bottom rear. The sound can be described as something between ok and good. It’s certainly much better than the average speakers quality, incluSound is muffled due to position, but I think that even if the speakers were more well positioned, the sound quality isn’t great, always sounds like the sound is fudged all over.

I think that the basses and mid tones are probably a little better than the highs. The VN7-571G speakers sound also has some stage to it.

So, nothing exceptional, but good for gaming and ok for music.

General subjective performance experience

The VN7-571G basic version comes with a 500GB basic 5400RPM HDD. It’s far from optimal, but the HDD is not the slowest possible and if you are not doing a lot of stuff simultaneously, you’ll be ok.

Here are GPU-Z and CPU-Z screenshots\

 

 

 

Gaming Performance

Test Methods & Drivers

OS is Windows 8.1 fully updated and drivers in use are the Nvidia 350.12. All the games I’ve tested have been tested on 1080p resolution. GPU did not throttle at all, but the I5-5200U CPU under load would automatically clock down to around 2.2GHZ, which is its base clocks.

Summarized gaming performance

Benchmarks summary, highest settings@1080p GTX 850M 1080p Highest settings overall performance VN7-571G Review    

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewCrysis 3 GTX 850M 768p gaming performance VN7-571G ReviewVN7-571G Review CPU and GPU clocks rate Crysis 3 1080p

Crysis 3 is very playable on 768p resolution, but it will look bad. On 1080p resolution, Crysis 3 could run ok on medium settings, but not that much. Sorry.

Skyrim

Skyrim will run well on ultra settings@1080p, but with AO disabled. If you feel it’s a little jumpy, lower some of the settings a bit.

Skyrim GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G Review

Thief

Thief could be played on normal settings@1080p, but will probably be a little jumpy. Keep in mind, though, that the built-in benchmark is quite intense and in game FPSs are usually higher.

Thief GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewThief GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite will probably run well on Ultra or Very High settings@1080p most of the time.

Bioshock Infinite GTX 850M gaming performance VN7-571G Review

Civilization : Beyond Earth

Keeping in mind that the built in Civilization Beyond Earth benchmark is pretty intensive, the game should be more than playable at high settings@1080p, maybe even very high settings preset.

Civilization Beyond Earth GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewCivilization Beyond Earth GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Total War : Rome II

Very high settings@1080p should be quite playable. If not, lower the graphics settings a little bit. Again, remember that the built-in benchmark is intense.

Total War Rome 2 GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewTotal War Rome 2 GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Metro : Last Light

Metro Last Light is a very 3D demanding game and you can expect only Medium graphics settings@1080p, if you want it to be smooth enough.

Metro Last Light GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewMetro Last Light GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Battlefield 4 Campaign

Battlefield 4 will run well on Medium settings@1080p on the I5-5200U and GTX 850M DDR3.

Battlefield 4 Campaign GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewBattlefield 4 Campaign GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Alien : Isolation

Alien : Isolation shouldn’t be a problem to run on some very high settings@1080p.

Alien Isolation GTX 850M performance VN7-571G Review

World of Tanks

 

I’m sorry I had no time to test World Of Tanks at medium settings but it run very smooth on both medium settings and High settings@1080p

World Of Tanks GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewWorld Of Tanks GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Elite : Dangerous

The benchmark consisted on a traveling inside and out the Cleve Hub space port which is a taxing graphical environment compared to this game. Game version : 2015.04.08.63181

Elite Dangerous GTX 850M 1080p performance VN7-571G ReviewElite Dangerous GTX 850M 768p performance VN7-571G Review

Average FPSs are quite good and so was my experience – smooth and fun. Seems like it was optimized well, at least for 1080p.

Cities : Skylines

This is a new “sim” game only new and much more fancy (link to steam) with vastly positive reviews from people (10/10 on Steam, for example). I run the Los Angeles premade city (download here) and run with the camera from the airport to the hills with almost maximal zoom.

The game, though released, is still in early stages and there are bugs to fix and performance to optimize, for sure. It sometimes crashes, but not to a point where you want to die (like BF4 in its early days). My version was 1.0.7c

Cities Skylines GTX 850M performance VN7-571G Review

Though FPSs are not high, the game itself was very smooth. I think also that the game is far from optimized at this point, judging by results of the GTX 980M + I7 tests which are not that far away.

Chivalry : Medieval Warfare

Basically, you’d simply run with your Axe, Sword, spear or bow and slash and stub other Medieval warriors.

FPSs are high.

Based on the Unreal engine.

Chivalry Medieval Warfare GTX 850M 1080p gaming performance VN7-571G ReviewChivalry Medieval Warfare GTX 850M 768p overall performance VN7-571G Review

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

Stress tests and throttling behavior

As described before, the GPU and CPU both have two connected cooling systems and heatpipes. Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from th rear ventilation holes.

Four tests:

1. Idle, power saver mode

2. Gaming : Crysis 3 gameplay. “very high” settings with SMAAx2 For Crysis 3, “High performance” power mode.

3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.

4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1280×720 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.

 VN7-571G Review Temperatures

Considering the fact that the VN7-571G has only one fan to cool it all, it does quite a good job with Crysis 3. Furmark + Prime95 is really too much for this system, though, but gaming won’t be that heavy on the system almost never.

Also, the fan is not too noisy while gaming.

The interesting part is really the new Broadwell I5-5200U. Compared to the previous generation I5-4200U/I5-4210U which were very spread (still are), the I5-5200U will keep at least 2.2GHZ CPU clock rate almost always, in the 15W frame. That’s 500-600MHZ more than the I5-4200U/4210U, which is around 30% more. It’s a huge difference and will impact gaming too.

VN7-571G Review CPU and GPU clocks rate Crysis 3 1080p

 

CPU throttle (base = 2.2GHZ) GPU throttle
2.4GHZ No Prime95
1.9-2.0GHZ No Prime95 + furmark
2.2GHZ No Crysis 3

Heat

The VN7-571G keyboard surface, in my experience, does not get hot almost at all. The bottom gets a little too hot, but it’s in the manageable range.

Noise

Under light load / watching movies you won’t hear a thing and the cooling system does a good job being quiet and efficient.

Under high load or gaming, the VN7-571G single fan doesn’t do a lot of noise. It’s obvious that Acer emphasized low noise over better cooling performance. I hope that the fan won’t turn dead too soon for heavy gamers.

Screen & Screen quality

 

The previous generation VN7-591G came with a rather dimmed display which was really a problem in a more lit environments. Acer have fixed this issue by equipping the VN7 with a different IPS display. In this case, the LG LP156WF6-SPB1 and it shows. It’s much brighter than the VN7-591G I’ve tested

 

Color accuracy post-calibrated is good and color coverage of 68% adobeRGB and 90% sRGB is good too. Subjectively, brightness is indeed high and contrast is good enough.

Maximal brightness is around 285 and the contrast at 50% brightness level is around 1:580 which is good enough. Notebookcheck got much higher contrast results (link to their review) and it may be due to differences in monitor hardware, panel quality variation and practices.

Anyway, the display looks very good.

ContrastBrightnessBlack levels
600 285 0.16
sRGBadobeRGBNTSC
90 69 64

Battery Performance

 

The VN7-571G comes with a 54Wh battery and the system doesn’t consume much under low load nor while browsing the web, including youtube and flash movies. You can expect at least 4.5-5 hours of watching movies.

VN7-571G Review battery performance

Issues

Same Wifi issues as with previous generation VN7. The Wifi would disconnect at some situations which seem to be more Wifi intensive situations like multiplayer gaming. It does happen all the time, but sometimes. Update the drivers to the latest ones to reduce the frequency of this problem (helped in my case)\

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

Conclusion

As usual, it depends on the price point. Compared to prices in Germany, where it was bought, the VN7-571G does offer some good combination for this price. Other laptops for such a price lack at least one of the components – fast GPU or a good 1080p display, though it changes all the time.

In the US, the VN7-571G doesn’t really stand a chance against others for $800-$850, but if priced aggressively at around $700, even $750, it could be an interesting proposition. The VN7-571G does have the basic stuff in it – good 1080p IPS display, fast enough GPU, low noise, nice looks and good battery performance, but for $900 you can get its bigger brother VN7-591G with GTX 960M, 1080p IPS display and an I7 which is around 35-50% higher performance for around around 12-13% higher price in many games. It will also include a better keyboard. That’s why I said it was unconvincing.

Other than that, the VN7-571G could be a very nice proposition for many gamers/students with many of the core components included as mentioned above. The I5-5200U is also suitable for gaming with a GPU like the GTX 850M, almost at the same levels of the previous generation I5-4200M in terms of core clocks, only for 15W instead of around 30-35W. Battery performance of around 5 hours (at least) is great for students and general stuff like watching movies.\

Those who seek good keyboard or good integrated speakers will have to look somewhere else, if you ask me.

.

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Jack
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Jack

Hey, i really enjoy reading your articles and i can confirm the issues you had with the lenovo y50-70 keyboard. For fast typing it wasn’t great.
Do you know if the 571g with 950m has the same features and screen?

Junky
Guest

Thanks!

Features in what sense? The 1080p screen is an IPS and is much better
What exactly are you looking for?

Jack
Guest
Jack

I’m trying to figure what is the exact panel that is used in the 751g/950m/u processors. I didnt find any specific reviews online and in the one review i did find the screen was very dim. Any ideas?
Did you manage to get used to the shallowness of the keyboard?
Thanks

Junky
Guest

With constant use, you’ll probably become more precise in your typing..
Anyway, the G751 has a 17.3″ panel, not 15.6″. Why do you want to replace the screen?

Jack
Guest
Jack

sorry, I men’t 15.6 inch [vn7-571g, 950m, u processor]. I couldnt find a specific review but in a few reviews the screen was dim.
Im also asking about the keyboard because i actually like short key travel in keyboards, as long as they have a good enough tactile response and if there is no constant feel like you are typing on a flat surface (and as long as it doesnt stress the hands of course).
This is why i ask if you got used to it eventually.

Junky
Guest

Are you sure you are not confusing it with the 591G? indeed it had a dim display
About the keyboard – yes, there are multiple parameters and the combination of them is what matters. You can read what I thought about the keyboard (I don’t remember it myself)

Why are you asking? do you already have it? do you plan to buy it?

Jack
Guest
Jack

Did you got to type on this lappy for more than a few hours?
I found this review about the dim display is in 571g:

http://www.ultrabookreview.com/6071-acer-aspire-nitro-review/

571g cuz Yesh mivtsa baarets ah sheli.

Junky
Guest

What do you mean if I got to type on it more than a few hours?..
About the other review – this is not the same display. They reviewed the initial release of this model, with a dimmer display, like in the first VN7-591G

Jack
Guest
Jack

Thanks, but I thought that it might have something to do with the version of the mofel, but i couldnt find a compatible review. For example the mofel you reviewd came from germany and the one i saw is for the US market… for example the screen changed a lot in the y50 940m version.
I ment – did you type on this lappy for more than a few hours and for how long. That could give some indication to the getting used to the keyboard part.

Junky
Guest

used it for about a week, I think

Jack
Guest
Jack

I’m checking other options. Thanks!

Patrick Ortega
Guest
Patrick Ortega

I don’t think the i5 5200U is a great pairing with the 850M. Sure the 850M isn’t the most powerful mobile GPU, but I can already see in some of the results that the low voltage CPU isn’t capable of feeding enough data to the GPU compared to an i5 4210M. My result on Firestrike was just slightly above 3000 with an 850M DDR3 and an i5 4210M, and I’ve had higher average FPS in certain games like BF4. Though it is a good option if it were to be a budget laptop.

Junky
Guest

The overall score or graphics?

Patrick Ortega
Guest
Patrick Ortega

Overall score.

Junky
Guest

I see. Actually, my own results with 850M and I5-4210M were also higher in games. Probably the difference between the I5-5200U 2.2-2.4GHZ and the I5-4210M 2.7-2.9GHZ (talking about actual clock rates in games)

But I agree I should have compared it – was in haste