One of the things I like to do is run Linux, or more specifically Ubuntu on my notebook computer. Ubuntu is typically good about detecting and installing drivers for various hardware, however there is the occasional issue. In most cases when I have installed Ubuntu on a computer it just runs out of the box, this includes the sound, networking, video and other hardware. There is of course the exceptions to every rule, being broadcom networking chipsets, Nvidia graphics or even new graphics chipsets that do not yet have drivers. This is where my reviews for computer hardware come into play, I am not reviewing the notebook based on Windows, but rather how well it plays with Ubuntu. To that end lets move on tot he subject at hand, Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire V3-372T-5051.
Like all of my reviews so far I purchased this notebook, it was not donated from Acer or any other company to sway my opinion.
The Acer V3 has some nice specs in a small package. Lets start with the video:
The graphics uses the standard Intel HD 520 graphics from Intel. Its an integrated graphics solution so don’t expect to see Nvidia or Radeon dedicated graphics solution performance. The chipset works fairly well allowing Divinity Original Sin to play with little effort. If you are looking for something to play lets say, the new DOOM, you might want to consider something with a little more oomph. The chipset is well supported in Ubuntu and with the up coming Mesa V12.0 OpenGL 4.x support will be here. Mesa V12.0 should be included with the new version of Ubuntu 16.10. The 520 graphics are able to use up to 32GB of shared memory, but the notebook only has a max of 16GB. of course shared memory is slower than dedicated RAM of the Nvidia cards etc…… The following information was pulled directly from the Intel website:
Intel® HD Graphics 520
Graphics Base Frequency
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency
Graphics Video Max Memory
Yes, at 60Hz
Max Resolution (Intel® WiDi)
Max Resolution (HDMI 1.4)
Max Resolution (DP)
Max Resolution (eDP - Integrated Flat Panel)
4.4 - When Mesa 12 is released
The max resolution on the built-in panel is 1920x1080 and the max resolution via HDMI is 4096x2304. The base clock speed is 300MHz and is able to dynamically scale up to 1GHz when needed providing additional performance.
The touchscreen works as expected with Ubuntu providing minimal touch support out of the box. It does function as intended however so the touchscreen is working with the supplied drivers. Scrolling by swiping up and down on the page does not work out of the box. If you want to swipe up and down on the web pages you will need to use the FireFox web browser and an add-on called Grab and Drag. If you want to select text then you will need to either define a hot key or disable the plug-in.
The processor is a 6th Generation dual Core I5 6200U 2.30GHz with a base frequency of 800MHz and able to dynamically overclock up to 2.8GHz. The chip has 2 physical cores and 4 logical cores, 2 threads per physical core. Manufactured on the 14nm process with a power consumption rate between 7.5W and 15W. See the specs below:
# of Cores
# of Threads
Processor Base Frequency
Max Turbo Frequency
Configurable TDP-up Frequency
Configurable TDP-down Frequency
Unlike most notebooks this size and cost, it is able to except a total of 16GB of RAM. The notebook comes with 6GB of RAM, an odd size I know, but it is what it is. If you buy this notebook and want to upgrade it to 16GB it is easy to do. Simply undo the screws on the bottom of the notebook and pop off the bottom. There are a total of 2 memory slots located directly under the bottom casing, you will find two DIMMS a 4GB and a 2GB. Specs for the memory used are PC3 12800 - DDR3 1600 - CL 11.
Comes with an M2 SSD card with a storage capacity of 256GB. The SSD drive is quick as you would expect, although since this is linux you should make some changes to the OS in order to minimize the writes to the drive and reduce premature wear. If you want to upgrade the SSD you will have to purchase an M2 SSD card. This means you probably will not find a drive in Best Buy or some other main stream technology store.
The touchpad isn’t the best and isn’t the worst. It works fairly well and to my surprise was quite steady while using Remix OS 2.0 Build 403. Most touchpads I have tried with Remix have had a lot of jitters and other unstable issues. The touchpad feels ok to the touch but maybe a bit cheap. I say this because when you tap the pad there is a give or clacking noise that you normally would not expect. Other than that the pad is stable and hasn’t had any of the freak outs you might associate with a touch pad like erratic cursor movement. The touchpad is quite responsive and steady making using it easy reducing the typical frustrations I have had with touchpads.
The wired networking worked out of the box, simply plugged it in and off I went with a dynamic IP address from my router. Wireless on the other hand is a completely different story. The proper driver was loaded and many indicators showed it was loaded but no networks were detected. Installing the proper firmware and drivers was required in order o make the wireless networking work.
The keyboard is a typical squashed keyboard you will find on most compact notebooks. It’s feature rich like most keyboards with all of your usual key’s, presses and clicks. You will find the Function keys like increase and decrease audio and brightness, number pad, and the other usual keys. It doesn’t have a light underneath but hey, for $499 you can’t have everything. Some of the keys have a shortened width like the ~ key, but this didn’t prove to be a hindrance. There are also the Windows key, right click (menu) key and the rest are typical keys.
There are a good number of ports that you might expect to find on this notebook like USB ports. Surprisingly there are 3 different type of USB ports, you’ll find 2 USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port and a USB type C port. You are not able to charge the notebook via the USB type C port, that is done via the round connector you typically find on most notebooks. An HDMI port that allows you to transfer the video to your TV for playing games, surfing the net or anything else your mind can conjure up. A standard 3.5mm jack for headphones, SDCARD slot for reading and writing data to and from your external storage, and an RJ45 port for a wired network cable.
This computer isn’t your typical notebook when it comes to dual booting. It took a reasonable effort to figure out how to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu. For the original article and the full steps navigate to the following URL:
The next set of directions asume you have already installed Windows and Linux after. This means Windows was installed first, then Linux was installed. If this wasn’t the case then you may wanto to follow the full directions referenced above. For the shortened instructions continue below.
Steps for Installing Ubuntu:
End results are this is a very capable notebook that will handle most things you throw at it. The Linux support is good however, you will have to make some manual changes to the EFI in order to dual boot with Windows and Linux. The wireless also does not work out of the box, this will require some changes as well to Ubuntu in order to allow the wireless to work properly. The keyboard isn’t a pain to use, the touchpad works well if not sounds a little cheap and the screen is bright and responsive to the touch. If you are going to use Remix OS, it works very well with this notebook including the touchscreen, wireless and pretty much everything else.
Ubuntu has good support for the hardware on this notebook.
Decent battery Life, 12 hours is advertised, 6 – 8 is more likely.
Good CPU and GPU performance.
Price, $499 at the Microsoft Store.
MAX of 16GB of RAM, unusual for a notebook of this size.
Touchscreen works well and allows the use of Remix OS (android).
USB 3.0 and type C ports.
Good support on Remix OS 2.0.403
Although Linux/Ubuntu supports the hardware, some of the drivers and EFI settings require manual intervention.
Doesn’t include a discrete GPU but, if yor not playing the latest and greatest games this doesn’t really matter.
If you have larger hands the keyboard may be a bit difficult to use.
Ubuntu’s touchscreen support is currently limited, the Windows implementation is better.
Can’t charge the notebook via the USB type C port.
Hope this review brings you a little closer to making a decision on this notebook.
Until next time………...