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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 2 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 3 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 4 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- MSI Wins Computex Best Choice Award 2017 for a Record-Breaking 5 Products
- Surface Pro is Microsoft's long-awaited Surface Pro 4 upgrade, restyled as a laptop
- Google explains why Android apps still aren't on Chromebooks
- HP's Spectre x2 may be the Surface Pro killer we've been waiting for
- Asus ROG teases the world's first AMD Ryzen laptop
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 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
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTWintel EngineerACT
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- FTChange AnalystQLD
- FTSolution Architect - NetworksWA
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- FTData Analyst - SASNSW
- TPNode.js DeveloperNSW
- FTTest AnalystACT
- FTGraphics Designer / UI DesignerQLD
- FTSAP HANA ConsultantNSW
- FTUrgent -Java Developer (Programmer). 3 different positionsNSW
- CCPega DeveloperSA
- FTSenior IT System Engineer Availability SpecialistACT
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- TPSupport AnalystVIC
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- CCData ArchitectWA
- CCSenior Solution AnalystVIC
- CCTechnical Specialist - Cloud ServicesVIC
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- TPNetwork and Systems AdministratorNSW
- TPTrim Helpdesk AnalystVIC
- FTProcurement OfficerACT