Best Budget Laptop 2017: Acer Aspire E5 575-33BM

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Acer E5-575-33BM

$349.99
Acer E5-575-33BM
85

Performance

7/10

    Keyboard/Trackpad

    9/10

      Features

      9/10

        Design

        9/10

          Pros

          • Full 1080P HD display
          • Ports abound
          • Long battery life
          • Quality construction
          • Very nice touchpad

          Cons

          • 4 GB of RAM
          • 5400 RPM hard drive
          • Slightly overweight

          The Acer Aspire E5 (E5-575-33BM) has been at the top of almost every budget laptop list in 2017, and there is good reason for it. It is the best laptop in its price range. You simply can’t beat the value that is packed into this $349 laptop. It comes equipped with a 1080P display, more ports than you can shake a stick at, and it’s all wrapped in a beautifully designed chassis. So let’s get started!

          PERFORMANCE

          CPU
          The Acer Aspire E5 comes equipped with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3 (7th Gen) 7100U CPU. The PassMark rating ranked it well below the World average, just in the 35% percentile. The CPU benchmark score was 3749. The world average is 6041. That said, I found that when operating in typical multitasking scenarios, browsing with multiple tabs, using Microsoft Office, editing pictures with GIMP, it handled the workload quite well, and with little to no noticeable lag.

          Memory
          With a meager 4 GB of RAM, Windows 10 consumes around 60% of that right off the bat, however, I never saw it max out. Even when streaming HD video, opening multiple browser tabs, and running Microsoft word, the memory utilization stayed at around 87%.

          Storage
          I have yet to see a laptop in the Acer’s price range that comes equipped with an SSD. They all come standard with a 5400 RPM spindle-type hard drive. This was the most noticeable bottleneck in my testing. The PassMark score was well below the World average. The utilization was pegged at 100% when Windows Defender was scanning, and when Windows updates were being installed. Lets face it. Windows is extremely busy, and IOPS takes the biggest hit.

          Gaming Test
          The Acer is clearly not designed for hardcore gaming, but you can get away with some light gaming. By “light” I mean slightly heavier than a feather. I tested the gaming performance with a game called DiRT3. It is ideal, because it comes with a built-in benchmark, and it’s not too graphically intense. When running the game at 1366 x 768 the frame rate was 40.19 FPS. The minimum was 23.69. Not very good. When played at 800 x 600 the average FPS was a very playable 62.69. It’s safe to say that GTA 5 is out of the question.

          Battery Life
          The Acer has a 6-cell 53 WH battery. I ran fullscreen HD video for 3 1/2 hours, and there was still 55% battery life left. This is far better than other laptops that I have tested in the same price range.

          FEATURES

          Upgradeability
          The great news is that Acer has made it extremely easy to upgrade the Aspire E5. By simply removing three screws, I had full access to the hard drive and memory slots. I grabbed a Samsung 120 GB SSD that I wasn’t using and plopped it in to see how much of an improvement I could achieve over the stock hard drive. Sequential read performance was increased by 245%. Sequential write performance was increased by 525%, and random seek read/write performance was increased by over 6000%!

          The Acer has two memory slots, and only one is being utilized. I could easily purchase another 4 GB chip for around $50 and double the amount of memory. In addition, the RAM can be upgrade to a maximum of 32 GB.

           

          Ports
          Another standout is the amount of available ports. The E5 comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and even a USB-C port to boot. The USB 3.0 ports also feature power-off charging. It also offers both HDMI and VGA outputs, and a headphone/microphone combo jack.

           

          Display
          The Acer Aspire E5 comes with a 1080P 15.6″ anti-glare display. The display is quite good for a sub-$400 laptop. I tested it out with the movie Arrival playing in 1080P. I figured it would be a quick test, but I found myself popping a bag of popcorn and watching the entire movie.

          USABILITY

          Keyboard / Touchpad
          The keyboard is comfortable, and the faux brushed aluminum deck felt nice and cool under my palms. It is also backlit, a key feature when typing low-light scenarios. I am a very slow typist. That said, I averaged 50 WPM when taking a random one minute typing test. This is on par with my WPM on my desktop PC with a very nice Steel Series keyboard.

          The touchpad is another bright and shiny star for the Acer. It was very easy to drag and drop files. Left-click, right-click, and scroll movements were all very comfortable. The touchpad is also a good size at 4.25″ x 3.25″.

          Webcam / Microphone
          The webcam will capture video at 720P /30 FPS. I found it more than adequate for video conferencing. The microphone sound quality is clear and crisp.

          Sound
          The speakers also sound rather good. The volume goes up a bit higher than it should, but when turned down just a touch, the sound quality is very listenable, with a fairly full range.

          DESIGN

          The E5 doesn’t feel cheap. The faux brushed aluminum looks and feels great. The lid is easy to open, and the hinges provide smooth open and close actions. Although I haven’t dropped it, it feels sturdy. The ports are nicely arranged on the left side of the chassis, with the headphone/microphone jack and a single USB 2.0 port on the right. The position of the touchpad is slightly off-center and to the left, and I found it to be a comfortable position.

          The weight is slightly heavy at 5.75 lbs with the AC adapter, and 5.1 Lbs without it. This is understandable because of the larger 6-cell battery. The dimensions are 15″ x 10.2″ x 1.2″. A little bit thicker than some of the other budget laptops that I have tested, but not by much.

          THE VERDICT

          If you read the full review, you might already know where this is going. If you’re looking for a laptop in the $350 range, you’re not going to do better than this one. You won’t find a 15″ laptop with the same battery life, display resolution, USB ports and quality construction in the budget price range. If you disagree, I defy you to prove me wrong. Post a comment below.

          FULL SPECIFICATIONS:

          CPUIntel Core i3 (7th Gen) 7100U2.4 GHzDual-Core3 MB Cache
          RAM4 GB2133 MHz32 GB Max2 Slot Slots
          Storage1 TB 5400 RPM HDD, Serial ATA-600DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
          Display1920 x 1080 Full HD15.6" Diagonal16:9 Aspect RatioAnti-glare
          Audio & VideoIntel HD Graphics 620Integrated webcamSpeakerMicrophone
          CommunicationsWireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac10/100/1000 EthernetBluetooth 4.0
          Card ReaderSD Memory Card4 in 1
          ConnectionsUSB-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0HDMI and VGALANHeadphone/Microphone combo jack
          InputKeyboard (Backlit)Touchpad
          Dimensions and Weight15" x 10.2" x 1.2"5.355 lbs (with AC adapter)4.782 lbs (without AC adapter)

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