There aren’t many laptops that cost less than £600 and include a touchscreen. It's no surprise to see Acer pushing prices down, so if you want to take advantage of Windows 8's touch-optimised interface then the Aspire V5 Touch is an obvious choice. See also: Group test: what's the best budget laptop?
The V5-571P is quite slim for a model with a 15.6-inch screen, measuring 24.5mm thick. It's easy enough to slip into a backpack or briefcase, but it's quite heavy at almost 2.5kg.
The casing is plastic, but sturdily built, with a smart silver finish and a firm but slightly flexible panel protecting the screen. The keyboard and trackpad are both comfortably roomy, although the little cluster of cursor keys can be a bit fiddly.
There's a separate number pad, but we don't like the combined # and Enter key, nor the left Shift key which is combined with the \ key.
The 1366x768 display is bright and clear and supports the full 10 touch points for Windows 8 compatibility. The screen tilts back almost horizontal to make it more comfortable to swipe around. It responds smoothly and quickly when flicking around Windows 8's tiled Start screen.
However, it isn't an IPS panel (no surprise at this price) and viewing angles are pretty poor. Initially we thought the background was a nice gradient from green at the bottom to purple at the top, but in fact, it was a solid green all over. The speakers are a bit of a let-down, sounding rather thin and tinny, and there’s an odd combined Ethernet/VGA port, but a bundled adaptor lets you use both ports at the same time if you need to.
The core specifications include a 1.7GHz dual-core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk. That's respectable for the price (given the touchscreen) and we recorded a respectable score of 2544 with PCMark 7.
It can even handle a spot of casual gaming too, as we were able to get almost 30fps out of the V5-571P when running Stalker at 1280x720 resolution with low graphics settings.
Battery life was a little disappointing, though. The removable battery is small and managed only three hours and twenty minutes of streaming video from BBC iPlayer. That’s not disastrous, but even cheaper rivals (admittedly without touchscreens) last longer.