Acer Aspire E5 review
A solid but unexciting mid-range laptop
- Decent battery life
- Budget pricing
- Attractive style for an inexpensive laptop
- Middling performance
- Offset touchpad
- No touchscreen
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Not every notebook is going to blow your socks off, or even create any kind of sizeable sock-blowing breeze, for that matter. In the notebook space, you definitely get what you pay for, and in the lower price scales, the performance and build compromises you put up with can vary quite a lot.
It's in this space that Acer pitches the Aspire E5 range. Acer sells the Aspire E5 in Australia in 15.6 inch and 17.3 inch screen sizes. Pricing locally ranges from $419 all the way up to $1599, depending on screen size and internal configuration, with a choice of Intel or AMD processors.
Specifications And Features
The model supplied for review was the $699 15.6-inch, E5-573-3732 model, which ships with an Intel Core i3-5005U 2.0GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and an internal 5400RPM Western Digital 1GB WD10JPVX hard drive. Graphics are via Intel's HD Graphics 5500 solution, further marking this out as an entry level machine, although some builds of the Aspire E5 do feature NVIDIA GeForce 820M GPUs. The display is a 15.6-inch, 16:9 1366x768 pixel TFT with no touch capabilities built in.
The Aspire E5 is a budget machine in most configurations, and that shows in the design as well. It's a bulky unit at 32 x 382 x 256mm (HWD) and it weighs 2.7kg. Many mid-range units eschew fancy designs, but the E5 has a light brushed pattern on the top that tries to fool you into thinking it's a metal finish, rather than plastic.
In terms of expansion, the left hand side houses VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports, while the right hand side is where you'll find the power socket, a single USB 2.0 port and the DVD writer. On the wireless front, there's support for 802.11b/g/n, which is again, solid but unexceptional.
The Aspire E5 ships with 64-bit Windows 8.1 preinstalled. Like any other Windows 8 machine, it's eligible for an upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year of Windows 10 availability. Acer preinstalls a fairly wide quantity of preinstalled apps, ranging from games to trials of security utilities that we suspect most users could easily do without. Not that you should eschew PC security, but that's a matter of making a more considered decision rather than relying on the limited trials provided with laptops.
We found the keyboard on the Aspire E5 to be serviceable, with a few minor catches. The touchpad is centred underneath the space bar as you'd expect, but because the Aspire E5 includes a full number pad, this means it's significantly offset to the left, which requires a learning curve if you're used to a more centrally located trackpad.
The cursor keys are well spaced apart, but the left/right keys are much larger than the up/down keys, which can be frustrating depending on your application usage. All additional functions are accessed via the function key on the lower left hand side of the keyboard. The Aspire E5's function keys are on the smaller side, and this feels like a bit of a waste. There's a lot of space above the keyboard that could accommodate larger keys, which makes them feel even smaller.
The Aspire E5's screen was also disappointing for a lot of purposes, with a strong tendency to wash out at many sitting angles. It's technically HD capable, but movie watching on the Aspire E5 is very much a question of compromise. We found the inbuilt speakers to be equally ordinary for music or video playback.
In benchmark terms, the Aspire E5 responded exactly as we expected it to, with somewhat sluggish performance results. It scored 3923 in 3DMark Cloud Gate, which means that its gaming prowess is usable for elementary purposes only. Any kind of heavy data activity tends to get the installed 5400RPM drive whirring and chunking along, but you'd again expect that from a notebook with modest specifications. The Aspire E5 managed a read score of 112.6MBps in CrystalDiskMark, and a slightly slower write speed of 109.8MBps.
The one advantage you can get from a lower specification processor is less pressure on battery life. During our battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness, and loop a Full HD MP4 file, the Aspire E5's battery managed to squeeze out four hours and thirty-six minutes before finally conking out. The practical upshot of that is that you could realistically eke out a full day's work from the Aspire E5, as long as your needs were relatively modest. Given the carrying weight, it's hard to see too many Aspire E5 owners lugging it around for extended periods of time.
What's The Verdict?
The Aspire E5 is fair value for money, but that's pretty much all it is. If you just need a basic workhorse type of machine and can live with the offset trackpad in favour of the number pad there's some value here, but the competitive landscape at this kind of price point is particularly brutal, so it would pay to shop around.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- SSD adoption in laptops exceeds expectations
- Apple will refund you for your iMac hinge repair costs
- MacBook Pro teardown reveals pointless speaker grilles and hard-to-replace Touch Bar
- Apple leads tablet sales, but the iPad Pro is not its best seller
- Latest MacBook Pro price reset resembles shift to Retina in 2012
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCServicing Financial Planner - CBDNSW
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Service ProviderVIC
- FTIT EngineerNSW
- FTHelpdesk Support- LANNSW
- FTProduct LeadVIC
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness Systems AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst - Health Industry - Melbourne CBDVIC
- CCCyber Security Analyst - TelcoVIC
- CCData ScientistNSW
- TPWordpress DeveloperWA
- CCLead Systems EngineerNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCSenior PMO Coordinator, FinanceNSW
- CCCloud Automation Engineer. Work Location - CanberraACT
- FTPrincipal Project ManagerNSW
- FTSecurity AdministratorVIC
- FTUX DesignerVIC
- FTSoftware Developer - LMSNSW
- CCSuperannuation Research ConsultantACT
- CCProject Manager (Network Roll-Out)NSW
- FTChief Security Officer l CISSP l ISO27001NSW
- FTInfrastructure Team LeadVIC
- CCSolution Designer and DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Integration DeveloperSA