The average PC user doesn’t spend $1,000 on a machine. Unfortunately, those looking to score something cheaper are often left to scour thousands of product pages and reviews, all in the hope of finding an inexpensive laptop that isn’t completely dull.
You now need to smile, there are some good budget laptops. Not all of them suck. The Acer Aspire E 15 is just such a notebook, aggressively priced for our review configuration. This model, Aspire E5-576G-5762 packs in a 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 or X PPI) display, an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 CPU, 8GB RAM, an optical drive, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD).
At this price, the specs sheet looks overly impressive than anything in the market. Did Acer make compromises to achieve such an attractive price point?
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – DESIGN
The Aspire E 15 is a large notebook in all angles. It’s 1.29 inches thick, and weighs 5.27 pounds, with some very wide display bezels. Its plastic construction yields with some pressure on the lid, with some flex on the aluminum keyboard deck, and overall isn’t as solid as you’ll find on competing Asus VivoBook S (S410UN-NS74) with a metallic design.
Here, we take note of the hinge’s stiffness – you’ll need two hands to open the lid, but the display stays firmly in place. This laptop might not have the highest-end build, but it’s nevertheless robust enough to carry on daily commute to the office or field trip. The lid has a metallic textile pattern, something that adds a little flair with a chrome-trim around the touchpad.
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – PORTS
While a big chassis complicates portability, we finally we get a plus on the Aspire E 15. This laptop is easy to upgrade, something expensive laptops lack. The bottom cover easily pops when y3ou want to upgrade the RAM to a maximum of 16GB, you can as well manage the storage slots. Also, its unusual to get an 8X DVD-RW drive, which is a nice feature to have, even if its not quite in-demand as it once was.
The Aspire E 15 packs plenty of connectivity. There’s a USB-C 3.1 port (no Thunderbolt support), two USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-A 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI port, a VGA port, an Ethernet connection, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. A 2×2-MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. You won’t be lagging around lots of dongles.
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – INPUTS
Acer uses the usual island keyboard and goes ahead to squeeze in a 10-key numeric keyboard. Its unusual for a reasonably priced machine to have such a comfortable keyboard, with a good feel. It offers plenty of key travel and a fine bottoming action. The keys have a good layout and don’t feel cramped even when offering some good convenience. You also get single brightness level for the keys, which is both attractive and convenient.
Below the keyboard is a large touchpad, with a smooth surface and the right amount of friction. It supports Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad for full Windows 10 gesture support. The lest and right buttons are hidden at the bottom of the touchpad, very responsive and don’t feel cheap. Again, it is a large touchpad with a good design, that’s more responsive than what you’ll find in slightly more expensive notebooks.
As you shop around, one thing will become clear. Quite a number of budget laptops have a 1,366 x 768 resolution displays. That makes the Aspire E 15’s 15.6-inch display exciting. Our view is that the display here is pleasant to use for typical productivity tasks as well as watching Netflix videos and TV. Its colors don’t exactly pop but its high contrast works well with black text on a white background. Honestly, at this price point, we were ready for a far worse display.
As is taking a cue from our display expectations, sound is flat. The duo stereo speakers are quite loud but they distort at high volumes, but still audible at best. They suffice for the casual YouTube watcher, movie fanatic and TV shows enthusiast. If you need more than the speakers produce, its time to grab your favorite headphones.
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – PERFORMANCE
There was a time when budget laptops would not fire even three browser tabs. Most were powered by low-end Intel Pentium processors and limited RAM, and thus registered poor performance across the board. Things have now changed, however, and the Aspire E 15 is a good case in point. It offers an 8th-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM. Its also available in another configuration with a choice of Core i7 processors and up to 16GB of RAM.
This in an enticing combination for a system that cost so-less, and results in performance that rivals much more expensive notebooks. In real-life use, the Core i5-8250U chip provides excellent processor performance and has more than sufficient power to churn through just about any productivity task. It stacks up well against budget stablemates, and goes ahead to challenge more expensive options like the Dell Inspiron 15 – a gaming laptop bearing a Core i5-7300HQ processor.
Storage performance, while impressive with an SSD, Acer did cut some corners with the choice of a Hynix 256GB SATA SSD. It is not a very fast drive, placing the Aspire E 15 way behind the PCIe SSDs in some other machines, including the Acer Swift 3. Well, the drive used here is slow for an SSD, but is much speedy as compared to the spinning hard-disk drives you find in most notebooks at this price. And for daily use, it’s still fast enough for typical productivity and gaming tasks.
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – GAMING
Let it surprise you, this notebook has an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU – few others do at this price. Of course, it isn’t the fastest graphics chip you’ll come across, but it has some speed over the common Intel integrated graphics. Again, the large chassis comes into play here by making sure that the components can be kept cool.
That pays well when playing as it helps the Aspire E 15 compete with MX150 systems, like the Aspire 5 and Asus’ ZenBook 13. For instance, the machine manages a decent 36 frames per second (FPS) in Civilization VI at Full HD and medium settings. That’s fairly better than the other MX150-equipped notebooks, and pretty playable. It gets better in Rocket League, managing 80 FPS in Full HD and performance mode, something competitors fail to achieve.
You can even get away with around 34 FPS in Battlefield 1, played in Full HD and medium settings. In as much as you can’t mistake the Aspire as a gaming machine, it still works well in many games. That’s an honor for a sub-$700 machine, delivering fast performance than real gaming machines sold at almost double the price.
ACER ASPIRE E 15 E5-576G-5762 – BATTERY LIFE
If anything, the Aspire E 15 isn’t something we can call portable in today’s standards. It’s thick and weighs just over five pounds, you won’t be carrying it around any longer than you must. However, it packs a large 62 watt-hour battery designed to last, alongside an energy efficient eight-generation Intel Core processor.
Only then do you realize battery life is a real strength here. It last over 10 hours if you will be surfing the web and can extend to over 13 hours when playing local videos. Those are excellent battery scores, that mean this system can last a full working day without connecting to a charger. Budget notebooks don’t always have strong batteries, but Acer manages to deliver a real kicker in the Aspire E 15.
The Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-5762) is a budget machine that performs better than most premium notebooks around, with a robust feature set and excellent battery life. Needless to say, Acer aimed to deliver a solid value notebook, with solid performance, good build quality, and class-leading battery life for less money than you’d pay for any other laptop around. And they provided exactly that.
Is there a better alternative?
One of the Aspire E 15’s direct competitor is the Asus VivoBook S (S410UN-NS74), at thin and very portable notebook, that is just 0.7 inches thick and weighs only 3.2 pounds. It features a better 8th gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 8GB RAM, the same GeForce MX150 graphics card and a Nano-edge display as well as a backlit keyboard. It has a 14-inch display as well as a fingerprint sensor that supports Windows logins. If you need something portable, the VivoBook is a safe buy, only that it lacks a num-pad and battery life isn’t anything close to what the Aspire E 15 delivers.
Another alternative worth considering is the Dell G5 Gaming laptop. A 15.6-inch laptop designed for gamers on a budget. It’s a bit pricey but you get a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card and a Full HD IPS display, as well as impressive gaming capability. Battery life and the display aren’t great either, but well within acceptable levels.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Well, even with the alternatives above, you’re not going to find a better machine at this price range. The Aspire E 15 makes a great laptop for just about any folk with typical computing needs, requires ample power and battery life to last a day at work or college while enjoying some light gaming on the side.