- Acer Aspire E15
It performs well enough with simple tasks (i.e. streaming HD video efficiently), but with 4GB RAM and a relatively slow CPU there isn't any real bang here and that's okay.
It's remarkable for a machine at this price point (under $250.00) in that it performs as well as it does with a fully loaded Windows 8.1/64 bit OS, since Windows, in my experience has been traditionally resource hungry. I sold my Lenovo ThinkPad2 (Windows 8.1/32 bit) which had relatively good specs, supplied with 2GB RAM, due to the fact that I was continually waiting on it to complete the simplest tasks and made video viewing and web surfing a unenjoyable chor and used the proceeds from that sale to purchase this machine.
This Acer runs quiet and cool. The case is textured matte black plastic which I have yet to mar in the 30 days I've had ownership and it has a good, solid feel. It's relatively slim and weighs in at under 5.5 lbs.
The majority of the ports - power, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, full sized HDMI, SD slot and headphones are on the back , which I like. An additional USB 2.0 port is on the left hand side near the rear. Plenty to plug into and since it's relatively nimble with the provided RAM, juicing these ports with multiport hubs hasn't been an issue.
I have an external DVD drive (port powered), a dual band wifi dongle, and a wifi mouse dongle on a multiport off the rear 2.0 port. The side 2.0 port I use for my Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 speakers.
The fact that it's Windows 8.1 with a generous 500GB hard drive means that I can effortlessly use many of the same programs and apps I use on my desktop on the laptop.
The 4GB RAM (single stick) is upgradeable (as is the hard drive) to 8GB (single stick). This is not always an option. Because I do a lot of photo editing, I suspect that upgrading is in my future.
The touchpad can be completely disabled. I'm old and my fingers are clumsy enough just with a keyboard. Not having to avoid contact with a touchpad while typing is a big plus for me. Disable this one once and it stays disabled. I have gone into laptops and pulled the ribbon from overly sensitive touchpads in the past. Not necessary with this one, I'm happy to say.
Does not include an optical drive. This is a plus as far as I'm concerned. Optical drives fail for a number of reasons. Having to repair/replace one in a unit at this price point would be a waste of money and effort.
- The screen is plain bad. For some reason Acer chose high-gloss plastic to face the screen ( which is a pain in the neck due to glare) and although it is described as backlit LED, unless you're looking at it at the correct angle (which isn't as easy as it sounds, especially if laying down), it's easy to lose depth of color and dark images can flow into indistinguishable patches.
There was more bloatware than I would have liked - specifically Wild Tangent, that whole Bing thing, the Acer apps, Windows Office trial, and the ubiquitous McAfee antivirus (which I know, offsets costs for the manufacturer which makes them a somewhat necessary evil). It took too long to uninstall Wild Tangent. The Acer apps I left on since they don't have an annoyance factor for me and their icons are nice. How about offering these sorts of things on an accompanying disk and let the purchaser decide what ends up on their hard drive?
Would have happily traded them all for an upgraded CPU or an additional 2GB RAM.
There isn't enough amplitude for audio either through the unfortunately placed built-in speakers (bottom rear) or for ear buds. Maybe one day a manufacturer will grasp the concept that a 2.1 speaker system on ANY laptop is the only way to go (put the mid/treble units in the screen frame (there's no law that says these need to be round to perform well) facing the user and the woofer/bass in the bottom of the hardware/keyboard case (facing down if necessary).
Would it kill anyone to put ports/switches within a frame colored in a contrasting color to the machine body? Well placed doesn't mean they're easy to find. Be proud and loud, why dontcha?
Published on: November 11 2014