The school season is approaching and it is certain that a cheap laptop like Acer's Aspire E5 will be the choice of many students.
This laptop has a starting price of US $ 599 (US $ 12.7 million), it owns a 14-inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. Although not superstar but E5 has some pretty attractive features such as quad-core processor Core i5-4210U, discrete Nvidia graphics card and HDD 500GB hard drive.
Aspire E5 is a combination of powerful hardware with decent battery life, average screen quality at a low price.
– Beautiful appearance
– Good battery life
– High speed processor
– Acceptable game performance
– Bad screen
– Large weight compared to size
– Slow hard drive
The familiar shape
At first glance, we can see the Aspire E5 is very similar to another Acer cheap laptop, Aspire E1. These two laptops share many characteristics such as white exterior, thick plastic frame and black screen border. However, unlike E1, E5 has matte screen borders. This change reduces the level of reflexes and prevents fingerprints on the screen border.
Quality is what you want on a laptop at this price. Although it is made of plastic, but the E5 brings a durable and firm feeling, the lid flips down very close to the body. Some areas are a bit loose, especially the keyboard area, but not enough to give E5 a fragile feel.
There are three USB ports, one of which follows USB 3.0 standards, other connectivity ports including HDMI, VGA, Ethernet and headphone / microphone combination jacks. E5 is also equipped with an optical drive, which adds flexibility to the laptop but also increases its thickness. WiFi connection with standard 802.11 b / g / n and Bluetooth 4.0 is also available for E5.
Acer did not take advantage of E5's thick chassis to provide users with a great typing experience. Instead, the company only gives this laptop a decent typing experience. The key settlement is acceptable, but the feeling of keys subsiding is not obvious. Users with large hands will probably enjoy the spacious keyboard layout and the large size of E5's palm rest.
E5 keyboard has no backlight, so it is difficult for users to use this laptop in low light conditions. We can't underestimate this laptop just because it lacks the keyboard backlight but many laptops in the price range offer this feature.
You can navigate the mouse with the touchpad, the average touchpad sensitivity, the multitouch gesture works well but not perfect, the integrated mouse buttons provide a cheap feeling. It will be more attractive if Acer equips the E5 with a touchpad with a rough surface to distinguish it from the surrounding plastic body when the user's eyes are busy watching the screen.
E5's 1366×768 pixel non-touch screen resolution can be said to be quite outdated at the present time. Its RGB color gamut coverage is only 56%, poor color accuracy and high black level. In some important tests, E5 scored a very modest score, just slightly better than the Lenovo IdeaPad Y50 and Acer Aspire E1.
Although the screen brightness of 179 lux is sufficient for most situations, it is not enough to overcome the reflective properties of mirror screens in a bright room. The viewing angle of the screen is also very low and lacks sharpness.
All of the above leads to images displayed on the screen with low resolution, blur and color changing violently when tilting the screen away just a few degrees.
Sound performance is good. The maximum volume is quite large and the music quality is moderate. E5 speakers are compatible with video and conversation, storytelling, when mid-range sound can clearly radiate most rooms. However, external speakers or headphones will help you have a better experience.
Performance is not surprising
The Core i5-4210U processor of E5 has a basic clock speed of 1.7GHz that can be overclocked to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost. Although dubbed as mobile, power-saving processor, i5-4210U still has quite strong performance.
In testing with SiSoft Sandra, E5 scored 40.27, higher than the two more expensive laptops, it is the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and HP EliteBook 820. Only Lenovo Y50 with quad-core processor can overcome E5, laptops with other dual-core processors can't keep up.
The same results also occur when testing file compression with 7-Zip. The score of E5 was 7,224, beating the HP88's Elite 8888 and Inspiron 15 7000 and 7062. The Lenovo Y50 surpassed the score of 18,790, nearly three times the score of E5.
Although Acer equips E5 with a fast processor but only gives it a 500GB HDD. There is no SSD memory or any tweak to speed up data processing of E5. In storage testing with PCMark 8, E5 scored a modest 1977 score than the 2,991 score of the Inspiron 15 7000 with optional SSD and HDD hard drives. Inspiron 15 7000 version with SSD drive has a score of 5,000.
The slow processing speed of the drive can be noticed even during normal use. Clicking on the web browser icon will have to wait a few seconds for the new browser to appear on the screen. Although the level is still acceptable, it makes the person feel that the system is slower than the impressive score scored by the processor.
Gamers will be happy to know that E5 can handle some typical games well. Instead of using Intel HD graphics as most competitors, Acer has equipped Nvidia's GT 820 graphics card for E5. This discrete graphics card helps E5 set CloudGate 4,498 and Fire Strike 854 scores in 3DMark tests.
E5 seems a bit slow compared to the Inspiron 15 7000 GT 750 graphics card and Lenovo Y50 GT 860 graphics card but beat the HP EliteBook 820 Intel HD integrated graphics card. Discrete graphics cards can improve 20% to 50% of graphics performance compared to Intel's integrated graphics cards.
Performance testing does not reflect the true power of the system so it has been tested directly with the League of Legends game. The Acer Aspire E5 averaged 96 frames per second (fps) with an average graphics setting, up to 119 fps and a minimum of 78 fps. When graphics details are increased, the frame rate significantly decreases with an average of 61 fps, up to 69 fps, a minimum of 44 fps. This test result does not show that the Intel HD and GT 820 integrated graphics differ greatly in performance, but Nvidia's graphics chip certainly brings improvements in graphics.
Larger battery, better duration
One of the most important changes Acer has made in the transition from E1 to E5 is to upgrade the battery. E1 uses a 4-cell battery that provides less than 4 hours of battery life. Meanwhile E5 owns 5-cell battery with battery life of up to 7 hours.
In the Peacekeeper web browser test, E5 reached 6 hours 4 minutes, an impressive result for a low-cost laptop. If only manipulating light tasks such as editing text, E5 will be able to work within 7 hours. E5 seems a bit bulky with thick frame and weight up to 2kg.
Parameters measured by wattmeter show that E5 consumes 10 watts of power in standby mode, a reasonable number for a mid-range laptop. Both the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and HP EliteBook 820 need 12 watts in the same condition. However, the maximum efficiency of power consumption can increase to 49 watts, which is normal by a laptop with a card
Discrete graphics often consume more power than laptops with integrated graphics cards. For example, the EliteBook 820 consumes only 28 watts at maximum performance.
In idle mode, E5 does not seem to make any sound. When operating, the radiator fans emit softly, the noise level is 34.9 dB. However, the maximum noise level can be increased to 47 dB, nearly equal to 48.3 dB of the Inspiron 15 7000 and slightly higher than the EliteBook 820's 42.1 dB.
Radiator fans work very efficiently and help the device cool. Temperature when idle is around 31 degrees Celsius, slightly high but acceptable. The temperature outside the shell when the system operates at full capacity is 37 degrees.
Acer Aspire E5 seems to have many similarities with E1 but there are some important changes. You will get a larger battery life with an equal price.
However, Acer E5 also has some disappointing disadvantages such as poor screen quality, slow drive and large weight compared to the size. But sometimes you have to accept these problems when choosing to buy a cheap laptop. Even so, Acer has increased gaming performance, a typical weakness of low-cost laptops, by equipping it with a GT 820 discrete graphics card.
Small changes compared to E1 of E5 make the value of this laptop increased. Anyone looking for a comprehensive laptop at a cheap price should choose E5, the value of E5 will double if gaming performance is what users are interested in.
According to DigitalTrends