I am always a bit apprehensive when working with or reviewing small laptops. I always try to find their differentiating factors from a solid tablet with the same screen size. On face value the Acer Aspire V11 doesn’t really blow your socks off, it has a contemporary and very functional design, ins’t exceptionally thin extremely lightweight for that matter. But, never judge a diminutive netbook lookalike by its cover.
All of the above facts leads you to the V11’s true purpose, practicality. The small yet sturdy design houses hardware that run exceptionally well without make a sound. The laptop is a go anywhere, do (almost) everything workhorse that is perfect for someone that is constantly on the move. It has a very attractive price tag (around R4k) but don’t expect to do any serious video editing or gaming on this machine. Oh did I mention it has a touch enabled screen? Yip it does! Let’s check out the specifications.


The V11 packs some solid specs considering its price range and size:
Processor:  Intel Celeron quad core N3530 running at 2.58 GHz  (@7.5 W)
Memory: 4GB of DDR3
Hard drive: 500GB mechanical HDD
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth.
Screen: 11.6 Touch Screen (1366 x 768) which is plenty for a screen the size of his.
Weight: 1.39 kg
Price: +- R4000

Build & Hardware

Like most 11-inch affordable laptops, the Aspire V3-111P features a square, nondescript design that looks a tiny bit like the netbooks of yesteryear. The plastic lid sports a look alike brushed-aluminum finish that’s very convincing with an embossed Acer logo on the left. The hinges at the bottom rotate smoothly, and have a rigid design. The screen remained securely upright when we lifted the computer while the lid was open. The laptop design is very solid and I am sure it can handle a few bumps and scratches (great when you travel with it a lot).
At the top of the screen you will find a 720p webcam and at the bottom another shiny Acer logo. Due to the size of the laptop the keyboard has a bit of a cramped feel to it with the touch-pad centered right below the “G” and “H” keys. The little 11.6-inch touch screen produced bright crisp colors at a resolution of 366 x 768. Unfortunately the screen suffers from poor viewing angels and an almost mirror like reflective surface. I needed to crank up the brightness and reduce light around me not to get too irritated with staring at myself. The brightness of the V11 (171 nits) is out performed by the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (183 nits) and Aspire Switch 10 (324 nits) to name a few.
The touch function surprised me a bit. I have never been a fan of touch screen laptops but the V11’s touch screen really shines. The response is immediate whether you are “clicking”, swiping or pinching anything on the screen. I got it right first time, most of the time! I tested the 10-point finger recognition in paint and it works like a charm.

Performance, Software and Features

I tested the V11’s performance by executing everyday tasks (as I see this the device as that kind of laptop). I experienced no lag or freezes of any sort even though the laptop takes a while to boot up. The V11 stuck to its guns even when streaming music from Simfy, browsing through multiple Chrome spreadsheets and have tons of Excel docs open in the background. I wouldn’t recommend any video or photo editing being done on this laptop or gaming (except maybe less intensive indie type games). The laptop runs almost silently due to its fan-less design.
Unfortunately one of the biggest issues I experienced was the bloat ware pre-installed on the laptop, this is not an uncommon problem with laptops nowadays and it is easy enough to remove the applications if you want to. I also had to go through a whole rigmarole of setting up the laptop, creating an user account and so forth, a process I find gets longer and longer with each new device hitting the market.
The pre-loaded applications include programs such as Acer Recover Management, which lets you restore Factory Settings, reinstall drivers or software, or perform a customized restore. This latter option will restore only the operating system, meaning that user data is retained.
The battery performed like a little champ. I clocked around 6 hours spread out between browsing, some correspondence, tiny bit of work and watching Star Wars: Phantom Menace (I know, I know its the worst one but I am am gearing up for the release of Episode VII in December!). The battery will definitely endure a long(ish) flight or your daily commute on the Gautrain. The battery performance (given the small laptop) is primarily due to the low energy usage of the CPU which enables a small power supply.


The Acer V11 is a great little device. Sure it has a few problems here and there but overall you can’t rally go wrong with this one. Should you want to focus more on browsing a Chromebook such as the Acer Chromebook 13 may offer better performance in web browsing and general responsiveness. The V11 however is a bit more of an all-rounder.
The V11’s screen is a bit iffy, but has great definition and color production and the touch screen functionality works a charm. The speakers are more than adequate for daily use and the dimensions alongside the relatively light weight makes for a very portable device.
Imagine a Windows 8.1 netbook with touch screen, and you’ve got the idea behind this 11.6-inch Acer. It accomplishes basic tasks at a low price, making it perfect for college students or anyone who wants a secondary, ultra-portable laptop on a budget…