The Acer Aspire VX 15 looks like a budget friendly gaming laptop. Which is something that we have come to expect from the company: solid machines that punch way above their weight class. The hardware combination here speaks for itself, with a Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce 1050 Ti GPU at a pretty low price point of RM4,399.
On the whole, the Aspire VX 15 looks amazing. It doesn’t quite have the conventional gaming laptop lines and bright colours. Instead, there’s a sense of understatement here, which isn’t actually a bad thing. This little something would usually be attributed Acer’s excellent V Nitro series (which has since been superseded by the equally impressive Nitro V).
The VX 15 doesn’t look like it belongs in the Aspire line. It’s far too chunky and angular, with faintly aggressive lines that have come to embody the “gaming laptop”. On the other hand, it is still quite bold enough to shout for attention. Even the bright reds around the stylised air vents feel more subdued compared to the competition.
The chiclet style keyboard breaks up this aesthetic a little by giving in to more conventional design. There’s the WASD keys outlined in red, allowing them to stand out as if gamers couldn’t find that keys in their sleep. It’s a worrying trend in gaming laptops these days, but really, it’s not that hard to locate these keys.
Acer has also decided to go along with the modern interpretation of the offset trackpad. Setting the trackpad off to the left is not exactly a new thing. Designers configure it to maximise space usage. But there’s something about the size and location of the VX 15’s trackpad that makes it less than ergonomic. My palm kept tapping it during gameplay; and my hands have never been described as large paws.
What is there to say about a gaming laptop that hasn’t been said before? The materials are no different from any other machine of its ilk. This creates a situation where if you have seen one, you have seen them all. This is perhaps a side effect of having toned down the garishness, where the Aspire VX 15 ends up feeling like nothing special physically.
At 2.5kg, this 15.6-inch laptop is par for the course among budget gaming laptops of this size. The rubberised palm rest is great for long gaming sessions, but is prone to ugly oil stains (which can be wiped off). The keyboard, too, is decent considering its size – not too mushy and a fair amount of travel.
The selection of ports is healthy, which is expected for a 15.6-inch laptop. There’s a USB Type C port here as well, which will be good for future-proofing the device.
That said, the Aspire VX 15 is saddled with only 4GB RAM. Which is completely unacceptable for not only gaming laptops, but any laptop that isn’t meant to punish 12-year olds.
The machine gets sluggish when running more than simple word processing applications, and the less said about Google Chrome the better. It’s incomprehensible as to why Acer would assume that it could get away with so little memory on a computer destined for high performance.
Perhaps it is a means of cutting down costs for putting in the GTX 1050 Ti, which somewhat justifies the decision. After all, there is the option to increase the amount of RAM on the VX 15 manually. Still, 4GB as a baseline is extremely puzzling and I hope this doesn’t become a trend.
Lenovo Legion Y520
Lenovo and Acer have always been fighting in the same space: budget-friendly gaming laptops with plenty of bang for the buck. The same holds true here, with the Legion Y520 offering close to direct competition – and slightly more affordable than the Acer laptop.
There are several variants of the Legion Y520, and with a starting price of just RM3,299, it is definitely worth taking a closer look. The best match to the Aspire VX 15’s spec sheet costs RM4,219, packing a Core i7-7700HQ processor, GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 memory, 4GB RAM, and 1TB hard disk.
The next step up is the RM4,919 model which sports a Core i7-7700HQ CPU, GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB GDDR5 memory, 8GB of RAM, and a dual-drive 128GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000
The Dell Inspiron series is technically NOT a gaming line. That said, Dell is positioning the Inspiron 7000 series of the Inspiron notebooks in the entry level gaming space. These pack a lot of internals into a compact package. All of which is neatly tied up with a reasonable price tag: the base model with a Core i5, GTX 1050, 4GB RAM, and 1TB HDD costs RM3,999.
The closest variant of the Inspiron to the Acer VX 15 costs slightly more at RM4,499, which has the same GTX 1050 Ti GPU and upgrades the storage to a dual-drive 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD, but only runs on an Core i5-7300HQ processor and the same 4GB RAM. Bumping up to RM4,999 yields a Core i7-7700HQ and 8GB RAM, while the highest-end RM5,499 variant adds a 4K screen and switches the 500GB HDD to a 1TB one.
Compared in terms of specifications, the Aspire VX 15 does have the upper hand – the storage and RAM are upgradeable, but not the CPU and GPU. Of course, this does add up to a little bit more to the overall cost, so there’s some calculations that need to be done here (there’s a RM600 difference between the RM4,999 Inspiron variant and the VX 15). We’re edging a little for the VX 15 here, because of the better design.
The Acer Aspire VX 15 is a rather modest gaming machine for those who prefer not to shout for attention. It’s a solid performer, aside from a few minor issues. The low amount of memory on the base model certainly throws a dark cloud over this review. It is, however, easily remedied and shouldn’t come between someone who is interested in the machine.
A combination of price and performance makes the Acer Aspire VX 15 a worthy addition to Acer’s lineup of gaming computers. It’s not the best that money can buy, but it is definitely something that nobody will complain about owning.