Like every businessperson, I reached the point where my five-year-old laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1525, was struggling to handle everyday tasks. Frozen screens, sounds like an airplane about to take off, and slow boot-up became the norm, and despite my ministrations, it was time to retire it. After reading some reviews, I foolishly decided on an Acer Aspire R7-571 as my next laptop, driving down to Best Buy to take advantage of a $750 price tag, which was a deep discount on a machine with pretty impressive specs.

The good

I admit that one thing that drew me to the Acer Aspire R7 was the screen. It’s a beautiful 15.6-inch FHD touch panel, and the screen itself can be re-positioned in several ways for an optimum viewing angle. The Intel Core i5-3337U processor was nimble, and I liked how the OS itself was on the solid state drive, meaning that I just pushed a button and it would boot up, ready to take on whatever I threw at it. Speed is definitely a necessity for entrepreneurs, particularly in client meetings.

The bad

Unfortunately, the WiFi on the Acer Aspire R7 is pitiful. I was barely achieving 800kbps speeds, even after updating the drivers. I could use my 5Ghz network at home and get 1200kbps, but it was still snail-like. I couldn’t watch a YouTube video without it hanging up and buffering. At a client meeting, it would be completely useless on a typical wireless. I can’t imagine trying to upload and download on a public network. “I’ll send that to you right away” would be a meaningless phrase.

The truly ugly

But the worst part is that not only is it a known issue, particularly with SNIDs starting below 330, Acer denies it. I called to get a replacement from the company because I need a working laptop (and my Dell is in its death throes). My call was placed on a Monday; the replacement arrived on a Friday. Strike One.

The replacement laptop had the exact same issue, even when I updated the drivers as technical support suggested. And when I called support, the representative denied that this was a known issue, despite the extensive documentation. Strike Two.

The most frustrating call was to get a replacement for the replacement. Executive customer support couldn’t guarantee that I’d receive a replacement from the working SNID batch. Nor could the company send me a replacement until they had received a return, which would mean that it would be more than two weeks before I’d finally have something that may or may not work. Strike Three. I wasted entirely too much time with Acer as it is, calling customer support, installing drivers, and trying to have a functioning laptop, because a laptop is no good to a professional without WiFi.

Basically, the customer service has been horrible, promising me one thing but delivering another, like a callback within a few hours but documenting that it would be 1-2 business days. One chat rep, Mary B., disconnected me entirely after writing, “Christine I have provided all the information I can on this issue, I’m sorry you find it unacceptable.” For a small business owner who needs a laptop to continue to feed her family, waiting nearly two more weeks for a working laptop is impossible.

It’s really a shame, because the WiFi problem is a deal-breaker with the Acer Aspire R7. Otherwise, it would be a perfect laptop for small businesses and entrepreneurs, since it’s lightweight, has a fast processor and plenty of RAM and storage space, and features an absolutely gorgeous touch screen that can be positioned for an impromptu slide show at a client’s office. But I cannot recommend an Acer Aspire R7 because of the WiFi issue, and I cannot recommend Acer as a brand due to the runaround by tech support and customer service, as well as the fact that the company sent me a defective replacement.

Bottom line: look elsewhere for a laptop. My Acer Aspire R7 is going back to Best Buy.