Acer Aspire E1 review

Price when reviewed

Budget laptops rarely set the pulse racing, but the Acer Aspire E1 excites purely by virtue of its price. For a mere £350, this 15.6in laptop touts a Core i3 CPU, 750GB hard disk and all the essential trimmings. See also: what’s the best laptop you can buy in 2014?

Acer Aspire E1 review

Acer Aspire E1 review: Design

Physically, it’s unmistakably a low-cost laptop. The plain, plastic chassis is finished in matte black, and every edge softens into an inoffensive curve, without a sharp edge in sight. It isn’t completely devoid of style, however: the black plastics are enlivened by the sparkle of tiny flecks of silver beneath the surface.

And despite the plastic construction, build quality is solid throughout. There’s a little flex and creak in the 2.2kg chassis if you manhandle it, but it’s pretty sturdy by budget standards.

The keyboard is a pleasure to use, thanks to widely spaced keys and an uncluttered layout – there’s a reassuring spring to every keystroke, and a full-sized numeric keypad alongside. Our only niggle with the large, buttonless touchpad was its reticence to register edge-swipes; the raised lip around the outside means that it’s necessary to carefully draw your finger in from the edge.

Acer Aspire E1 review

Acer Aspire E1 review: Performance

Internally, the Aspire E1 boasts a very capable specification. The 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 processor is a low-voltage Ivy Bridge-generation CPU, so it’s a little slower than today’s standard Core i3s, but it’s perfectly adequate for everyday tasks. A result of 0.56 in our Real World Benchmarks is a solid showing, and the 6GB of RAM provides enough headroom to take on video-and photo-editing applications. Factor in the 750GB hard drive and the Acer’s specification is positively generous.

You can even play older 3D games: the integrated Intel GPU achieved an average of 46fps in our least demanding Crysis test at 1,366 x 768 resolution and Low quality settings.

Acer Aspire E1 review

There’s also a good selection of ports and features for the money. The single USB 3 port is accompanied by a couple of USB 2 ports on the right-hand edge, plus a DVD writer, an SD card reader, and both VGA and HDMI video outputs. Unusually for a budget laptop, Gigabit Ethernet makes the cut, and wireless networking includes single-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.

The Acer’s display is pretty average. As is the norm for a budget laptop, the 1,366 x 768 resolution looks a little rough around the edges. Images look pale and washed out, and while the 228cd/m[sup]2[/sup] maximum brightness and 225:1 contrast ratio are pretty typical figures for a budget laptop, the overall colour balance is a little cold and unnatural.

Battery life is unexceptional: the Acer’s tiny 37Wh, 2,500mAh battery lasted only 4hrs 38mins in our light-use battery test. Increase the screen brightness, turn on Wi-Fi and start surfing the web, and you can expect battery life to tumble dramatically.

Acer Aspire E1 review

Acer Aspire E1 review: Verdict

You don’t expect perfection for £350, but the Acer Aspire E1 puts in a good all-round performance for the money. The specification is generous, the performance ample and – at this price – it’s easy to forgive the mediocre battery life.



Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 382 x 256 x 25mm (WDH)
Weight 2.200kg
Travelling weight 2.6kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-3217U
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1


Capacity 750GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Modem no
USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.9mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 38min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 46fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.56
Responsiveness score 0.73
Media score 0.55
Multitasking score 0.40

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8

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