The market for budget laptops has never had more choice than it does today. Navigating the wide range of choices can be confusing. It is important to understand that not all budget laptops serve the same function. Some emphasize portability, while others package surprisingly high-powered features for the price, but sacrifice other aspects.
All budget laptops are a set of these tradeoffs; none will encompass all aspects as well as a higher end machine. Each manufacturer will even have a handful of budget-priced laptops available for sale at any one time, so the differences extend even within manufacturers. Today we will review the Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM and consider what it does well and find any areas where it might be lacking.
Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM Specs and Overview
The Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM is powered by an i3 processor. The Intel Core i3-7100U processor is a 7th generation CPU. Running at 2.40 GHz, this dual core processor is on the new highly efficient 14nm technology. This results in a processor that is extremely battery friendly for the given processor power, using an estimated 14 watts, roughly half what would be used by an equivalent 6th generation processor.
The industry respected PassMark test gives this processor a score of just under 4000 points. For a budget laptop, this is a solid chipset, besting many i5 processors using the 6th generation technology.
Graphics processing is accomplished using the integrated Intel HD Graphics 620. This is strictly a basic graphics processor and will be insufficient for any serious gaming. However, light games should run smoothly, and it is certainly up to the task of video replay and other general computer needs.
With no dedicated memory for the GPU itself, it shares the memory with the main processor, so any serious video editing is definitely out. Likewise, any needs that require intensive graphics and are simultaneously processor intensive would be out of the range of this setup. However, this shared memory results in additional battery savings, helping to boost up battery life.
This machine comes with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, which should be ample power for all general computing needs and should even be up to the task of some slightly more demanding tasks, such as light video editing and limited multitrack audio recording. Compared to the competition, it falls towards the front of the pack in processing power, with most similarly priced laptops lagging behind.
With a full 1TB hard drive, you should have plenty of storage space for your video and audio library. A 5400 RPM notebook drive, it will handily keep up with the processor and memory, and you should experience no limitations due to the data speeds from the hard drive. Tasks that would require much faster read/write speeds, such as audio multitrack recording with large numbers of tracks will likely be out of the range of the processor and installed memory, so the specified hard drive is a good choice and in line with other similar platforms.
Video quality on the 15.6” full HD display is substantial for the price range. The Acer ColorBlast technology is intended to boost the depth of colors on this display, helping it to stand out from the competition for video playback and image viewing. In general, this makes colors look more vivid than they would on other displays, although on rare occasions, it may lend a slightly artificial look to the image.
While 4K laptops are becoming the overwhelming trend at higher price points, for this range it is unheard of, so the Acer compares favorably or equal to the competition. While an IPS display, with the better viewing angle and increased depth of color, would have been nice, again this is standard for the price range.
Wi-Fi and Other Connections
For wireless connections, the standard 802.11ac wireless network connectivity should allow you to take advantage of the maximum speed of any router currently on the market. Network connected storage and other peripheral devices should work as fast as the network allows.
For connectivity, the D-sub and HDMI connections on the left-hand side will allow you to connect to external displays and monitors. Again, due to the limited GPU, don’t expect stellar performance when using these external screens, but it should be able to handle the use of multiple screens for basic computer tasks, just don’t ask it to playback HD video on one monitor and browse the internet on the other.
The USB 2.0 and pair of USB 3.0 connections should keep you wired to your peripherals handily. They are nicely spaced along the sides to reduce clutter. A USB 3.1 Type C is a nice touch not found on most competing laptops, allowing it to be compatible with some devices entering the market today. Expect this standard to become increasingly important over the next few years as it is integrated into most phones.
The RJ45 jack should keep you connected to wired networks, although the dust cover seems unnecessary and more annoying than useful. The charging jack is very small, a benefit of the ultra-low power consumption. It may seem to charge slower than competing laptops, reaching full charge in half again as much time. However, when you consider that it might have double the battery life of those same laptops, this seems much more reasonable. If you compared charging time to computing time, it compares very well.
If you do a lot of photography, you’ll appreciate the SD card slot on the front of the keyboard. This makes transferring files from your camera to your hard drive much more convenient than plugging in through a USB cable. This will also allow using an SD card to conveniently transfer files between machines if you don’t have a high-capacity USB external drive, or just prefer the small side of an SD card.
Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM Battery Life
Where this laptop excels is with battery life. The combination of the integrated graphics card, the ultra-low power dissipation of the 14nm technology CPU, and a medium sized display results in the ability to use this laptop for 10 hours or more with light uses. For basic browsing, word processing, and similar uses, the Acer is virtually unrivaled in this price sector for battery life.
Within the constraints of basic uses, an entire workday could pass without ever needing to plug in the charger. However, for processor intensive uses such as light video editing, light gameplay, or video playback, the battery life will quickly suffer. While it should remain decent compared to much of the competition, these higher demands will likely cut battery life squarely in half.
Aesthetic of the Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch Full HD Notebook
The look of the Acer Aspire E15 E-575-33BM can only be described as plain and ordinary. The case is a plain black plastic with no ornamentation. No fancy shape or colorful logo adorn this budget machine, but it isn’t unattractive either. It looks like exactly what it is: a basic laptop at an affordable price.
Keyboard and Other Peripherals
The keyboard is typical for the class. While functional, nearly any external keyboard is a large upgrade. The small keys suffer from a too soft of a touch, making them feel mushy. For browsing, this shouldn’t be problematic, but extensive typing will quickly become a chore.
While some budget laptops have very poor trackpad performance, this one is slightly better than average. While not highly responsive, and it can be a little noisy when clicking, it does manage to get the job done, and at least is consistent. Some of the competition can have frustrating performance that jumps around, while this is generally smooth.
The internal speakers have a mediocre sound. The sound is slightly weak and too quiet. This is exacerbated by the fact that the speakers are on the bottom of the case. The result is that the sound is greatly affected by what surface the laptop is set on. On a soft surface, the speakers are easily muffled and made almost unusable. On hard surfaces, it can make them sound tinny and thinner than they already do.
A 720p webcam is installed above the screen and takes video that fits the budget price. For a basic webcam, it will work. For serious video bloggers, obviously, they will need to purchase an upgraded external camera, the built-in camera clearly won’t be sufficient.
The overall size of this laptop is a little larger than average for a 15.6” laptop. At 5.5 pounds, it is heavier than average, owing mostly to the large battery. While portable enough to fit into a backpack and carry around, you may find yourself wishing for a more portable machine. This may seem ironic, as the only purpose of the massive battery life is for portable use, but this same battery makes it less convenient and less portable.
Is this a good deal?
The budget laptop is the most competitive market for laptops. While the mid-range and high-end laptops may compete on performance in specific aspects, the budget laptops generally all compete by putting in as many features as possible at an ultra low price. This is great news for consumers, as the budget range of computers has become more and more capable over the past few years.
This latest offering from Acer follows that trend, offering a lot of value for the money. Features that a few years ago were only found as expensive upgrades on higher end machines are integrated as standard features in the Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM, the length of the list even longer than the model name.
Regardless of your specific needs from a laptop, if you are looking for a budget laptop, this machine has what you are looking for. With a few upgrades over the competition, it is clearly a good value for the money.
Acer began in the mid-1970s as one of the original consumer electronics manufacturers in Taiwan. They began in the electronics components market before expanding to manufacture Apple II clones. With the emerging IBM compatibles market, they saw an opportunity and joined the rapidly emerging PC market.
Since their beginnings, they have continued to branch out into the consumer electronics market. Today, they make a wide range of products including laptops, desktops, smartphones, and many other related products.
They have built a reputation for good value for the price. Generally not a major player in the higher end market, they remain very competitive within the budget markets. This laptop seems to continue this focus on pushing what is possible on a budget product.
Pros, Cons, Conclusions
The Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM brings a lot of value for the money, and a better than average screen for the price point is a nice touch. Most laptops in this price point feature a lower pixel density, while this laptop offers a full 1080p display. If movies are your thing, you will surely appreciate this upgrade.
Connectivity also surpasses what should be expected from a budget laptop. A total of 4 USB connectors is more than average for the class. The inclusion of a USB 3.1 type C connector is also rarely found on budget machines. While this is only used on a few smartphones and other devices, the trend seems to be for more connections to be made using this new standard, ensuring that your laptop will be ready.
The weight, however, at 5.5 pounds, is a bit of a burden. This, unfortunately, hurts portability, which is the point of the extreme battery life, to begin with. I would have preferred a slightly smaller battery and the reduction in weight. Even if it meant only a 7 or 8 hours battery life, this would have been a good alternative for me.
But overall, this is clearly a market leading laptop for the price. With a feature set that goes beyond basic, it stands above most of the budget offerings from other manufacturers. We rate the Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM an 8/10.
If you’re interested in purchasing it, check it out on Amazon here:
Dane started off gaming at the tender age of 3 with the first Atari console. His favorite video game genres are turn-based RPGs (can I get a shout out for Tactics Ogre?) and fighting games. Read more...