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Acer Aspire E15 (2015) review

Don't look at this laptop the wrong way

Acer Aspire E15 review

Coming at 5.29 pounds (2.39 kg), the Aspire E15 was on the heavier side for a notebook of its size. We had hoped that the all-plastic exterior would make more of a weight difference, but that's not the case. By comparison, the Lenovo Z51 and Dell Inspiron 15 5000 weigh 5.07 pounds (2.3 kg) and 4.4 pounds 2 kg), respectively.

The Acer Aspire E15 has a 15.6-inch screen glare-free screen would be great if it weren't for its poor viewing angles. But some might forgive that fault when taking into account the hardware that comes packed in.

Acer Aspire E15 review

Here is the Acer Aspire E15 configuration given to techradar:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-5500U 2.4GHz (3.0GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940M with 4GB DDR3 VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch HD widescreen LED-backlit
  • Storage: 1TB 5,400RPM SATA hard drive; SD card reader
  • Optical drive: None
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port, HDMI, VGA port, headphone jack
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO; Gigabit Ethernet; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Weight: 5.29 pounds
  • Size: 15.02 x 10.08 x 0.98 inches (W x D x H)

Acer Aspire E15 review

The Aspire E15 retails for $800 or AU$1,499 (about £526), which is a good value, considering how much it is more powerful it is than its competitors, like the Lenovo Z51 and Dell Inspiron 15 5000. Unfortunately, the updated model is not yet available in the UK and Acer only has Broadwell-powered machines as of this writing.

The Lenovo Z51 is more affordable at $589 (but you’ll have to be willing to compromise with a slower processor and half the storage space. While the Z51 isn’t available in Australia, Lenovo UK offers a much better specced version of this notebook for £699.

The hardware presents a significant value, since it closely matches the similarly priced competitors, like the $649 Dell Inspiron 15 5000. Dell’s 15-inch notebook uses a lower-end Intel Core i5 chip, but on the plus side, it weighs a little less. However, with double the memory, a higher resolution screen and a more powerful 3D video card, the Aspire E15 pulls ahead in the graphical performance department.

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is better equipped in other territories. You can get this laptop fully stocked with a Core i7 processor for £699 and AU$1,039.

Acer Aspire E15 review

Performance

If you're looking for performance, then the Acer Aspire E15 is certainly equipped to impress. It gets high scores in both processor and graphics benchmarking tests.

Here’s how the Acer Aspire E15 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 6,584; Sky Diver: 5,521; Fire Strike: 1,436
  • Cinebench CPU: 286 points; Graphics: 26.94 fps,
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): (Home Test): 2,546 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 35 minutes
  • Geekbench 3: Single-Core Score: 3,156; Multi-Core Score: 6,439

Unsurprisingly, the Aspire E15 features some impressive graphics scores, which handily beat what the Lenovo Z51 and Dell Inspiron 15 5000 put up. The Inspiron 15 5000’s discrete AMD graphics delivers 3DMark Cloud Gate score of 5,558; a Sky Diver score of 4,249 and 1,211 for Fire Strike. This means that the Aspire E15's Nvidia 940M outperforms it in every graphics test, most by over 1,000 points.

However, that's tempered by how the Cinebench score shows only a marginal difference, with the Aspire being the slower of the two. But, no matter what the test, the Aspire E15 positively blows the Lenovo Z51 away, which has a Cloud Gate score of 4,228 and 549 for Fire Strike.

Acer Aspire E15 review

Keep Charging

The E15’s battery is rated for about 5 hours, and you might get four hours or so out of it, if you stick to low-power tasks like watching videos. Battery life plummets once you switch to more intensive tasks, like copying data from a flash drive.

If you plan on doing any traveling or commuting with the Aspire E15, you’ll need to make sure there's always an outlet available.

With a PCMark 8 estimate of 2 hours and 30 minutes of lasting power, the Aspire E15 only marginally beats out the Lenovo Z51, while the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 wins out with up to 3 hours of battery at high performance settings.

Bundled software

  • abDocs - An included backup system that automatically syncs Office documents to Acer's cloud service.
  • abPhoto - Software for editing, organizing, and sharing photos across multiple devices using Acer's cloud service.
  • McAfee Livesafe - Notebook comes with anti-virus software and a free 30-day subscription.