The affordable ES 15 series from Acer just got another member added to the family: the oh-so-interesting ES1-572-31KW model. Interesting not because of some cutting edge technology, but thanks to its incredibly good value for money.
So, the new Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW continues Acer’s tradition of delivering affordable devices able to keep up for a couple of years with the progress of technology. This model seems to be that special snowflake we get every once in a while, an offer almost too good to be true.
While it’s true that this notebook is far from being an iconic device, you can’t argue with the specs or with the price. For about $300 MSRP at the time of this review, the ES1-572-31KW can successfully compete with devices costing $200 more. Sure, it’s not lightweight, neither is it a beautiful laptop, nor does it feature premium build materials, but as a mobile device, I have to say it looks like the best deal at the moment for a light or an average user.
The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW features an Intel Core i3-6100U processor. This smallest member of the Core family has two cores, 3 megabytes of cache, a clock speed of 2.3 GHz and a thermal design power of 15 Watts. The dual core pocket rocket has scored around 3500 points in benchmark tests, enough to ensure daily tasks are met with ease and more strenuous programs like Photoshop will run rather smoothly on it.
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Standard system memory is rated at 4 gigabytes of DDR3L-RAM, while the maximum allowed size is 4 times the initial amount, 16 gigabytes! This is great news, since it future-proofs the notebook a bit by allowing you, the user, to upgrade the memory anytime you feel like it. Out of the two slots, only one is free, while the other hosts the 4GB stick. Thus, you can easily get the memory to 8GB or 12GB without removing the existing one. Just make sure the frequencies and latency match to avoid potential errors down the road.
Also, the Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW comes with a 1 terabyte hard disk drive, perfect for storing medium sized media collections, or all your vacation photos since you started taking them. The only drawback is the relative sluggishness caused by a mechanical disk. This effect isn’t as bad as it would have been if the laptop had a more powerful processor/memory combo, but still it’s good to know you can always upgrade to a speedy (and more costly) solid state drive if you feel the need to refresh and speed up your system.
However, before upgrading the memory or the hard disk drive, you should try to use it a few weeks with the standard hardware. In spite of the low price, the performance may surprise you.
Graphics and Display
The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW doesn’t have a dedicated video card, making gaming a bit difficult. Sure, CS:GO, online MMOs and older titles will work just fine. Maybe not on the highest settings, but playable nonetheless. Anything more demanding will cause the frame rates to massively drop to single digits unfortunately. Therefore, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 video card isn’t recommended for any serious gamers, but rather for the occasional player.
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The display is nothing to be excited about. A 15.6 inch screen with Active Matrix LCD technology and a HD LED-backlit display produce a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, modest view angles due to the lack of IPS technology and not-so-vivid colors as you’ll see in more expensive models. Considering the price, I wouldn’t have expected anything else regarding the quality of the display – it’s standard for an entry level notebook.
When it comes to I/O ports, the Acer ES1-572-31KW is marginally better equipped than similarly priced models. It has:
- 1 x USB 3.0 port
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x HDMI-out with HDCP support
- 1 x Audio Combo Jack
- 1 x RJ-45
- 1 x SD-Card Reader
- 1 x DVD-Writer
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Not only does the Acer feature an Ethernet connection, it also comes with the latest wireless technology: 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO technology and built-in Bluetooth 4.0. The ac protocol allows up to 3 times faster transfer speeds over wireless connection when compared to the n protocol, not to mention better signal quality and increased range.
So, the Acer Aspire weighs around 5.3 pounds and is 1 inch thick. It’s not what I’d call a very portable laptop, but then again, looking at the price I’m tempted to get over this minor issue. I wouldn’t travel long distances with it, especially since the charger will likely have to come along as well. It’s rather bulky, but it’s a small inconvenience for the amount of processing power and features you get from an entry-level priced notebook.
This laptop will feel at home in an actual home, at your workplace, in a college dorm or in a nearby library.
Surprisingly, the 4-cell, 3220 mAh, Li-Ion battery pack will hold a charge for up to 6 and a half hours, a rather respectable result for such an affordable laptop. Sure, you won’t get you through a whole day’s worth of work, but having a charger nearby is something anyone should be considering when buying an entry-level device.
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I think the Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is one of the most impressive laptops on the market today. It’s inexpensive, features a good processor, has tons of room left for future upgrades, comes with a new-generation wireless card and has better-than-average battery life performance.
If you’re looking for a really cheap all-rounder, this is the laptop to buy. It will likely exceed your expectations.