At first glance the Acer Aspire M5-583P-6428 will look pretty familiar, with a chassis design that’s unchanged from past iterations of the Aspire M5. But don’t judge a laptop by its cover, because the new M5-583P-6428 boasts one of the first fourth-generation Intel processors in the category, delivering improved performance and dramatically longer battery life for a price that’s just right.
The M5-583P-6428 features the same chassis design used previously on the outwardly identical Acer Aspire M5-581T-6405, with a brushed metal chassis that is a bit bulky thanks to a chunky non-tapered design. The aluminum is quite sturdy, and the all-metal construction means that there is little to no flexing when typing or lifting the laptop up by one corner.
The 15.6-inch display has a modest 1,366-by-768 resolution, but it also has 10-finger touch, letting you literally go hands-on with Windows 8. The display itself is a little disappointing, as colors seem a bit muted, and while the edge-to-edge glass is nice, the glossy display reflects like a mirror. The four built-in speakers are okay for a slim laptop in this price range, but there’s not much bass to speak of and you will get a bit of distortion at high volume.
The chiclet keyboard is passable, largely thanks to the flex-free metal chassis. The keys themselves are flat and well-spaced, though the key movement is noticeably shallow when typing. For better usability in dim light, the keyboard has LED backlighting and a 10-key numeric pad, though the keys are slightly narrower than those on the keyboard proper.
The accompanying touchpad is set just below the spacebar. The surface of the touchpad uses clickable lower corners instead of separate right and left buttons, but the clickpad design is perfect for two-fingered gestures, like pinch zoom and scrolling, and Windows 8 gestures like edge swipes to access the Charms Bar and other functions.
Though the M5-583P-6428 has a fairly full feature set—Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA output—most of these ports are inconveniently placed at the back of the system instead of on the sides, making them less accessible in normal use. The laptop also gets a full complement of wireless options, with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and (a new addition to the M5 line) Intel’s Wi-Di, a wireless alternative to HDMI that lets you stream to any HDTV through a Wi-Di adapter, like the Belkin ScreenCast.
The slim laptop boasts a 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive, but none of the solid-state memory that would qualify it for the Ultrabook moniker. Despite this, the 500GB drive should be more than enough for the Windows 8 operating system, all of your programs, and the files accumulated from day to day. For larger media libraries, however, you might want to opt for an external drive to bolster the storage capacity.
Aside from Windows 8, Acer also loads up the system with plenty of preinstalled software, from proprietary apps, like AcerCloud for web-based storage and Clear.fi for sharing photos and media across your home network; to third party apps, like Amazon Kindle Reader, HuluPlus, Netflix, Skype, and a handful of game samples from WildTangent. You’ll also get a 30-day trial of Microsoft 365, and a complimentary copy of Nero BackItUp 12 Essentials. Acer covers the Aspire M5-583P-6428 with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Acer’s decision to equip the M5-583P-6428with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor also makes it one of the first affordable laptops to boast a fourth-generation Haswell CPU. Thanks to the improved graphics performance and energy efficiency of Intel’s Haswell architecture, the M5-583P-6428 offers improved performance across the board. In daily productivity tests, the M5-583P-6428 was just barely edged out by the previous Acer M5-581T-6405, which pulled ahead thanks to an SSD cache offering faster storage performance.
In processor-intensive Handbrake and Photoshop tests, the M5-583P-6428 led the competition, finishing Handbrake in 1 minute 23 seconds, and Photoshop in 5:27. The closest competitor was the Asus VivoBook S500CA-DS51t (Handbrake 1:28, Photoshop 5:30), and the Acer M5-581T-6405 (Handbrake 1:25, Photoshop 7:13).
Graphics performance is improved as well, with the M5-583P-6428′s Intel HD Graphics 4400 boosting performance in all of our gaming and graphics tests. In 3DMark 11 the Aspire M5 scored 1,899 points at Entry settings, and 306 points at Extreme, topping all of the comparison systems. The same held true in our gaming tests, and while the M5-583P-6428 won’t compete with purpose-built gaming rigs, you will be able to enjoy not only casual Facebook games, but also a few current AAA titles with the detail and resolution settings turned low.
The biggest improvement however was in battery life. The new Intel hardware offers vastly improved energy efficiency, so even while performance is boosted across the board, you’ll also be able to enjoy that performance longer. The M5-583P-6428 lasted an impressive 7 hours 50 minutes in our battery rundown test, topping the closest competitor by more than 90 minutes. It’s enough to take you through a full workday or a cross-country flight without having to plug into an outlet, and for use closer to home, it means not having to lug around your AC adapter at all.
By bringing Intel’s fourth-generation processor to the mainstream laptop space, Acer has effectively boosted the M5-583P-6428′s performance and battery life to make it one of the best $700 laptops on the market. While there are a couple of disappointments, like the reflective washed-out display and the awkward port placement, the Acer Aspire M5-583P-6428 still offers strong performance and a collection of features that should put it high on many shopper’s lists.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i5-4200U|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|Type||General Purpose, Ultraportable, Ultrabook|
|Processor Speed||1.6 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||External|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||500 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc