Acer’s E 15 notebook is designed for use as a mainstream notebook and targeted at users seeking good performance at a reasonable price. In this review, we’ll take a look at the performance of the hardware, Acer’s included software, and give overall impressions.
The Basic Info
Although Acer’s E 15 notebook was originally released with Windows 8.1 installed, our review unit came with Windows 10 pre-installed.
Our review notebook was pretty loaded up with a dual-core Intel Core i7-5500U processor running at 2.40 gigahertz (GHz), 16 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and a 15.6 inch Full HD display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The Acer E 15 notebook has dual video options. The first option uses Intel’s HD Graphics 5500 graphics processor for web surfing, email, movies, and other non-graphics intensive needs. The laptop also includes Nvidia’s GeForce 940M graphics card which handles graphics intensive tasks such as gaming.
Physically, the notebook has a height of just under 1 inch at the front of the laptop and 1.15 inches at the back of the laptop. It is 15 inches wide and 10.1 inches deep with a weight of about 5.3 pounds.
The notebook has 2 USB 3.0 ports, a RJ-45 gigabit Ethernet port, a VGA port, and a HDMI port on the left side of the notebook. The USB 3.0 ports are located at the front left side, and the USB 3.0 port closest to the front of the notebook can be used for charging devices when the laptop is turned off.
The front left side of the notebook houses an SD card reader and indicator lights for battery and power. The notebook has a clean yet sturdy design.
On the right side of the notebook you’ll find a USB 2.0 port, plus the port for plugging in the power adapter.
Display and Graphics Performance
As was previously mentioned, the Aspire E 15 notebook has a 15.6 inch Full HD display that uses a 16:9 aspect ratio driven by 2 graphics processors.
Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 5500 processor is used to provide most of the graphics capability and it does a good job handling pretty much anything we tried running on it. The one limitation was with graphics intensive applications such as games. That limitation was addressed by the second graphics processor, Nvidia’s GeForce 940M. The Nvidia processor performed well for DirectX 11 games but it did struggle a bit with Ashes of the Singularity’s DirectX 12 benchmark.
Part of the DirectX 12 benchmark issue may have been a result of the new drivers Nvidia released, part of it may also have been from the game still being in beta, and part of the issue also likely was a result of the way Ashes of the Singularity uses the CPU cores as it can take advantage of DirectX 12’s ability to more efficiently use all available cores at the same time.
Games in beta phase typically still have extra code used for testing that can cause the benchmark results to be skewed. Many older games do not use CPU cores in the way Ashes of the Singularity does as previous versions of DirectX were not designed to use multiple processor threads at the same time like DirectX 12 does. Overall, the E 15 notebook performs well as a mainstream model in providing consistently good graphics for just about any task users wish to do.
Acer chose to use Realtek’s High Definition Audio chipset for its audio requirements. Music, movies, and games all sounded good. The microphone built into the lower deck of the E 15 notebook just below the keyboard clearly recorded everything spoken when Cortana was tested and voice to text conversion was accurate.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The E 15 notebook uses a chiclet-style keyboard which was easy to use. The keyboard is slightly inset into the base of the laptop. Having the keyboard inset into the base allowed Acer to help prevent damage to the display that could have been caused by keys rubbing against the display’s screen.
The keyboard also features a separate ten key which was helpful when performing numeric calculations. Unfortunately, Acer does not include a backlit keyboard with the E 15 notebook. Having a backlit keyboard would have been very beneficial for low light environments, but obviously also adds cost.
The touchpad was responsive but that was to be expected from the E-15’s precision touchpad. One thing we noticed was that the touchpad buttons did not always respond when they were clicked. When used, the click of the button would be heard but occasionally, there would be no action performed.
Acer’s HD webcam will be acceptable for most applications, though it did appear a bit grainy. External webcams such as the Logitech C920 would provide a much higher quality image.
Acer used both a gigabit Ethernet connection and a wireless network connection with the E 15 notebook. The gigabit Ethernet connection is a wired style connection where a Cat 5e/CAT 6 or better cable should be used. Gigabit is commonly used now in computers and large file downloads were quickly completed.
The wireless connection uses the IEEE 802.11ac standard. In testing, the wireless connection performed very well and the transfer rates were nearly as fast as the transfer rates when using the wired connection. Keep in mind that a wireless AC router is needed to maximize wireless performance. We currently recommend the ASUS RT-AC68R.
Acer includes a 4-cell, 2500 mAh Lithium-Ion battery in the E 15 notebook. Battery performance was tested in two ways. The first method involved using only Windows 10’s default settings and the programs used for testing. The second method included having other programs such as McAfee’s LiveSafe Internet Security which is included with the notebook running while the testing was performed.
The battery durations provided are a combination of both testing methods and provide the anticipated battery duration for the type of use.
- Under light use surfing the Internet, checking email, and watching intermittent videos, the E 15 notebook should last between 5 and 8 hours on a battery charge.
- With moderate use such as watching movies added to the light use tasks, the battery duration should be about 3 – 5 hours.
- When putting the laptop through testing for heavy use tasks such as gaming, the battery duration was about 2 – 3 hours.
- Intermittent use of the E 15 notebook was about 10 hours on a single battery charge.
Acer has a number of applications that they included with the E 15 notebook. Some of the applications are parts of software suites that Acer uses on their notebooks. Other programs are intended to work as standalone applications. The software suites include Acer Care Center, Acer Portal, and Acer Quick Access.
Acer Care Center contains apps such as Acer Recovery Management and is used for maintaining the E 15 notebook as well as performing repairs for data and files on the notebook.
Acer Portal is Acer’s cloud storage software suite. It includes abDocs, abFiles, and abPhotos. abMedia is an application available for download.
- abDocs is used for synchronizing MS Office files to cloud storage but users must have MS Office installed on the computer. The review unit did not have MS Office included so I did not test the synchronization functionality.
- abFiles is an app used for sharing files between computers and for quickly adding photos or videos to Word or PowerPoint files.
- abPhotos is used for organizing, syncing, and sharing photos.
- abMedia, the app for syncing and sharing media files, was not installed on the review unit but it is available for download.
The third Acer software suite is Acer Quick Access. Acer’s Quick Access software is used to select the amount of blue light displayed (using Acer’s Bluelight Shield app) and to enable/disable the ability to charge devices such as smartphones when the notebook is turned off. Acer’s Quick Access is also used for quickly enabling or disabling the wireless and Bluetooth functionality.
Acer has several applications that are designed to be used as standalone programs.
- Acer Power Button is used to quickly change the state of the notebook to turn off the display, put the notebook to sleep or hibernate, or to turn off the notebook.
- Acer Power Management is used to identify any programs that are using abnormal amounts of power.
- Acer’s User Experience Improvement Program allows users to enable or disable the ability to send usage data to Acer.
- Acer User Manual is used to open the E 15 user manual.
- Acer Explorer appears to be Acer’s equivalent of the Windows Store Whereas Acer Store loads Acer’s website so that users can purchase Acer products.
Overall, Acer’s E 15 is a good notebook that can be used for a variety of needs such as web surfing, email, movies, and gaming. While the performance is not the top of the line, neither is the price. The E 15 notebook offers a good compromise between price and performance and should be an excellent fit for all but the pickiest of hardcore users.
Keep in mind that the range of variants of this model’s offering can have a dramatic effect on performance. For example, a unit with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive will perform radically differently in some applications than our review unit. However, we’ve seen extremely attractive pricing on lower end models that would make them an excellent choice for students, occasional users, and most of our parents or grandparents.
As always, if you have specific questions we haven’t addressed, feel free to drop them in the comments below.