Acer VX 15 VX5-591G laptop review (GTX 1050 Ti, I5-7300HQ)

An easier choice as it is a more complete package as a default than some other GTX 1050 Ti laptops, with good speakers and ok keyboard

Rather quiet, even under very high load
Keyboard is nice, even though not great. OK feedback, responsiveness, noise levels
IPS display
Speakers do provide good, pleasant sound overall, in my opinion
Intel 600p NVMe SSD
USB 3.1gen1 Type-C and NVMe M.2 port
Good Wifi performance - signal and stability

Much faster GTX 1060 laptops are available for the same price or a little higher, with better feature-set and qualities

CPU throttles to base clocks under high load, could have impact on performance in some situations (but not too much)
The IPS display is nice, but colors are dull (60-65% sRGB) and contrast good be better
The chassis gets pretty warm under high load, up to 50-55C at the center of the keyboard
Keyboard could be better with more key resistance and stroke feedback
Performance/price isn't as good as other laptops with GTX 1060 for a little more
Outer lid yields under relatively low pressure
Ports : No mDP, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 gen2
Space between the touchpad unit and the base unit invites dust
The typical "Gamery" looks would be too much for some
No GSync (no different from others for this price)
Availability

Introduction

Acer VX 15 VX5-591G display angle in soft sunlight direct

The new Acer VX5-591G (also “VX 15”) is Acer’s low midrange gaming laptop. It has been available for several months now. Early reviews showed it has a weak TN 1080p panel, but it was updated with an IPS display, so I picked it for a review, thinking it is interesting to compare it to the Dell Inspiron 7567.

This version of the VX5-591G comes with an I5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GPU, 1920×1080 IPS display, 256GB Intel 600p M.2 NVMe SSD, around 2.5 in weight and a price tag of $900 on Amazon. This is an interesting offering, mostly because it comes as a more complete package compared to the competitors with a GTX 1050 Ti, like the 7567, without waiting for deals.

I must say that for those who are looking for higher performance, the Lenovo Y720 and Acer’s own Helios 300 both have a GTX 1060 6GB for as little as $100-$200 – that means a lot higher performance/price ratio, besides having some other advantages. However, this model interests some, and it might get own in price.

ComponentDescription
Model NamesAcer Aspire VX 15 VX5-591G
PriceBasic version: $800 (GTX 1050), $900 (GTX 1050 Ti, I5), $930-$1000 (GTX 1050 Ti, I7)
As Configured: $900
CPUIntel Kaby lake I5-7300HQ, 2.5-3.5GHZ, 4c/4t, 6MB cache, 45W Max TDP
MotherboardKBL Wish_KLS / Intel HM175 (Skylake PCH-H)
2xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x4, 1xPCI Express x16
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB (GP107, Rev A1) GDDR5, 768 shaders core@1493-1752MHZ, GDDR5@1.75GHZ (7.0GHZ effective), 128bit bus
RAM2 x 8GB 2400MHZ DDR4 Micron 8ATF1G64HZ-2G3B1
2 slots total, 32GB max ram
StorageHDD : none
SSD : 256GB INTEL 600p SSDPEKKW256G7 SSD
M.2 : 1xM.2 NVMe PCIe x4
2.5": 1xSATA III

LCD PanelIn review: 1080p 15.6", LG Display LP156WF6-SPK4, IPS, 60HZ, 30-pin eDP
Weight / Dimensions~2.5kg / 8.9 lbs, PSU ~0.7kg
388.87 x 265.4 x 28/96 mm
15.31" x 10.45" x 1.14"
(w x d x h)
KeyboardOrange-red backlit, on/off
Connection Portsright side: RJ-45, HDMI (non-2.0), 2 x usb 3.0, USB Type-C, line-in
Left: Kensington Lock, power in, USB 2.0, card reader, headphones/mic jack
Camera720p@30FPS camera
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 AC 2x2 HMC WiFi Adapter
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Speakers2.0 speakers + subwoofer.
Battery3 cell, 54Wh
Bios / EC version (test unit)V1.04 (03/01/2017) /
Extra featuresEmbedded TPM 2.0
more details

Build quality, Case, design and looks

Build quality of the VX5-591G is so-so, as expected and mostly like its competitors. The plastic base unit can be bent with high pressure (nothing to worry about), and the screen protection outer lid will yield under pressure, which could result in damage to the screen in some more extreme cases. Hinges feel relatively firm. There is some space between the touchpad and the base unit, which could result in more dust going in.

Overall, the external shell build quality is average and common. Nothing much to expect.

Looks

With the VX5-591G, Acer changed the looks from the old VN7 series, and continued with the gentler “gamer” looks, including red/black colors, racing car shape, big afterburner grills and other shiny parts. The outer lid styling somewhat reminds me the more expensive Asus ROG style and the general looks reminds me the Lenovo Y700 series gaming laptops looks.

It is not bad, but many will prefer the simple but slick looks of the Dell 7567 which are less embarrassing to walk with in the university, say.

Maintenance and inner parts

12 screws and you are in. Underneath the bottom cover you’ll find a lot of bandages holding the VX5 together (kidding, but still). As storage, there is an M.2 PCIe slot along the 2.5″ SATA bay which will require getting a Sata cable that fits this specific port (I think this is a common cable, which will fit other laptops too). The two memory slots are preoccupied with RAM.

Acer VX 15 VX5-591G motherboard
The soldered CPU and GPU share two heatpipes and two fans. Cool aur is sipped from the bottom and thrown out through the rear.

Keyboard and touchpad

Keyboard. The keyboard is generally comfortable, but it lacks in feedback and resistance, at least for my taste. The keys are well spaced. It is a red-orange backlit keyboard (on/off) and has a full numpad, display turn off button and others. I’d say that’s an ok keyboard, but obviously not one of the higher class keyboards. Most people will probably find it comfortable.

Touchpad. The touchpad is average, rather slick and comfortable, but nothing special, which means that in times you’d feel that it’s not as sensitive as you’d like it to be, at least for uses like software developing and perhaps photo/video editing. As mentioned above, there is a space between the touchpad surface unit and the laptop’s shell, which can result in some dust and stuff going in.

Sound & Speakers

Can be enjoyed. The VX591G comes with a 2.0 speakers system, both located at the bottom front of the laptop, facing the user directly, but with small angle towards the surface. Subjectively, I actually enjoyed these speakers. The mids were relatively rich, and both mids and highs had good clarity to them, with or without the Dolby software. The sound obviously need some balancing, but generally the balance is good and different sounds don’t differ that much from one another in levels. The speakers seem to handle quick changes in frequency volume rather well and don’t get washed out.

These are not perfect speakers, ofcourse. The sound is a little boxy still, lows are lacking and you could detect some distortion when playing certain music.

Generally, I’d say that the speakers system is an advantage of this system and probably most people will be glad with it.

General subjective performance experience

The VX5-591G performs well, also thanks to the not-too-bad SSD.

Acer VX5-591G Review I5-7300HQ CPU-ZAcer VX5-591G Review motherboardCPU-ZAcer VX5-591G Review GTX 1050 Ti GPU-Z

Gaming Performance

Test Methods & Drivers

OS: Windows 10, version 1703

Drivers: 382.33

Synthetic 3D benchmarks

Coming soon

Games performance

Deus EX : Ex Machina

1920x1080, DirectX 11

The Division

DirectX 12, AVG

Dragon Age: Inquisition

1920x1080, DirectX 11

The Talos Principle

1920x1080, Vulkan 1.0 vs DirectX 11

Total War : Warhammer

1920x1080, DirectX 11

Rise Of The Tomb Raider

1920x1080, DirectX 12 vs DirectX 11

Gears Of War 4

DirectX 12, AVG

Shadow Of Mordor

DirectX 11, AVG

Battlefield 1

1920x1080, DirectX 12 vs DirectX 11

Battlefield 4

DirectX 11, AVG

Hitman

1920x1080, DirectX 11

Ashes of Singularity

DirectX 12, AVG

Metro : Last Light

DirectX 11, AVG

Thief

DirectX 11, AVG

Bioshock Infinite

DirectX 11, AVG

Doom (2016)

1920x1080, Vulkan 1.0 vs OpenGL 4.5

Prey (2017)

prey, 1920x1080, DirectX 11

Mass Effect : Andromeda

mea, 1920x1080, DirectX 11
118

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

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 the rear.

Four tests:

1. Idle, power saver mode

2. Gaming : Ashes Of Singularity benchmark. “Crazy”@1080p settings, “High performance” power mode. Four consecutive runs.

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

4. Prime95 + Furmark on 768p test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.

As you can see, the temperatures of the CPU and GPU are kept around 80-85C mostly, even under Prime95 + Furmark. The cost is lower CPU clocks.

Heat

The VX5-591G can get pretty hot indeed, with 55C for the upper part of the keyboard surface and even the middle of the keyboard can get to 50C. That’s pretty high. The PCH sensor shows temperatures of 66-67C degrees under Mass Effect : Andromeda gameplay. I don’t know what is the quality of the components, but generally with current common components, the higher the temp, the shorter the lifetime.

51 55 52
45 50 47
42 47 41

Throttling

Short answer – yes. The VX5-591G will throttle, even with CPU voltage@-100mV. It will go down to the base clocks of 2.5GHZ, when both the GPU and CPU are loaded considerably. Maximal CPU clocks won’t be useful for gaming with this machine almost never, because the GTX 1050 Ti will bottleneck, but it could have some minor FPS impact in some cases (haven’t tested). Acer could implement a smarter algorithm here.

However, GPU clocks are maintained at the highest level while gaming.

Noise

Basically, it is very quiet machine. Acer obviously preferred a quieter machine over cooler machine. I like that, but some easy manual control could be helpful. Even under high load. the fans will be relatively quiet. I run BF1 MP on ultra@1080p (64 players) for like half an hour at a quiet night, and the fans produces relatively low noise level.

Screen & Screen quality

The VX5-591G comes with the LG LP156WF6-SPK4 IPS 1920×1080 display, unlike versions in early reviews in which it boasted a TN panel. The LG LP156WF series is generally only average, but very common in current offerings, even in laptops selling for $1500.

Let’s start from the basic tool based measurements. The Spyder5Elite shows around 1:620 contrast ratio across various brightness levels, 256cd/m^2 maximal brightness. At 50% brightness, the black point is 0.2. These are good results, but not great, and using the laptop in sunlight, even a gentle sunlight, would be a problem. Colors measurement show poor color coverage with only around 62% sRGB color coverage.

Now, subjectively, the colors looked relatively good actually – I didn’t see one color that is vastly lacking compared to the two others. That might be in line with the measurement which show that all colors aren’t covered with no one of them considerably than the others. However, the difference is visible if you look at the colors more carefully. Again, subjectively, I’d like higher contrast.

Using the camera PWM test, I couldn’t detect a significantly PWM, which is confirmed by other reviews.

So, bottom line, this is an ok IPS display, not one of the more desirable panels. The Dell 7567 IPS upgrade also gets you only a 45% NTSC panel, like this one.

ContrastBrightnessBlack levels
620 252 0.41
sRGBadobeRGBNTSC
62 47 44

Battery Performance

According to my tests, this Acer VX 15 could do up to around 7.5-8.0 hours of very light use/idling, under “power saver” mode, and more than 5 hours when playing youtube 1080p (thanks also thanks to the Kaby Lake iGPU capabilities and the playback software). Doing usual stuff, like writing this review using Chrome browser, some Libreoffice Calc docs, and playing some online js game, the VX did around 4-4.5 hours, that’s not that bad. With careful handling, you can squeeze even more, if all you need is to read and write.

Issues

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

  • Please check the list of $1000 gaming laptops recommendations. Generally, if you want the highest performance for the price, the Lenovo Y720 and Acer’s own Predator Helios 300 are available for $1000-$1000 including tax, with a GTX 1060 6GB and the previous generation MSI GP62MVR is available for $750-$850 refurbished with a GTX 1060 3GB and a crappy display (but it is replaceable)

    It’s direct competitor, the Dell 7567, with the same CPU and GPU, and the display upgrade (TN->1080p IPS), 8GB, 256GB SSD will sell for the same price of $900, but sometimes a discount will take it down to around $830-$870, but add 8GB RAM and you got yourself the same price. The 7567 speakers aren’t as good, in my opinion, it has no NVMe port, but the IPSs shouldn’t differ that much.  The big advantages of the 7567 are perhaps it looks and maybe the optional warranty upgrade (which is also real global, unlike the Acer “travel” warranty)

Conclusion

Well, the VX5-591G is a good package of performance and good basic features (keyboard, speakers). It doesn’t have a lot of niceties though – no mDP port, not even an HDMI 2.0! (so no 4K@60FPS), no Thunderbolt 3 (but it does have USB 3.1 gen1 Type-C). So, the VX5-591G is a nice laptop, but the 7567 provides a comparable option, only one that is more comfortable to walk with in public (again, in my opinion).

The big question is why get this machine when you can get a GTX 1060 6GB equipped machine for $100-$150 (Lenovo Y720, Acer’s Helios 300). The VX5-591G and 7567 (1050 Ti) are in a tough price point. You can even get the previous generation MSI GP62MVR refurbished/new for $800-$850 with a GTX 1060 3GB and a crappy display that can be replaced. These machines also come with some extra features, connection ports, better cooling and more. So, the question why go for this performance level. If it’s for saving these extra bucks, then better wait for some serious discount and get maybe a GTX 1050 (non-Ti) for like $600 or 1050 Ti for $700 (didn’t see such yet, but it will come). If not, and you can make use of the extra features, especially the better cooling system (lower temps, perhaps longer life).

The conclusion is that this is not an easy purchase, for the usual price (currently $900, probably will get lower). One should consider and figure out what ones’ specific needs and wants.