Microsoft Windows 10 was announced last July and it has been a couple of months since the sixth generation Intel processors were announced, still it is only now that the new made for Windows 10 laptops have started coming in. But by now, having upgraded my older HP Envy 4 to Windows 10 and working on Windows 8.1 in office, I am pretty convinced that the only Windows devices good enough for work are those with top-end specs. So when the Acer Aspire E-15 came along, I wanted to test if it was really up to my requirements.
While over the past few years the push has been clearly towards slimmers, lighter laptops that take on tablets, the Acer Aspire E-15 (E5-574G-77RN) is a full-bodied laptop that makes no pretence of being a size it is not.
What is good?
Well, it is Windows 10. Certainly, that has to be better than Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, unless you want to just downgrade this to Windows 7. The E15 comes withe entire jingbang of Windows 10, except for Widows Hello which needs the Intel Real Sense. There is Cortana, however, and if you remember it is there on your device you might actually end up asking her somethings.
One thing that my office laptop, a Dell Vostro 14 with 4th gen Intel Core i5 and running Windows 8.1, really struggles with is multi-tab browsing. And being a journalist, that too one that focusses on the online space, I live by tabbed browsing. It is not rare to find that I have a few dozen tabs open on my Chrome browser a couple of hours into my office day. My IT department does not recommend more than a couple, but that is an impossible scenario for me. However, the E15, thanks to the 6th gen Intel processors, handled those dozens of tabs easily on Firefox, Edge and Chrome browsers.
This is among the first devices to feature a 6th gen Intel Core processor in India. And this comes with the powerful i7 version. And that shows as the laptop can much through most of the work you throw at it. The E15 sports a full keyboard with keys that have enough distance from the others and a trackpad that has enough space for the wrist to move. The keys are well spaced out and have enough travel to make typing comfortable. The trackpad understands most Windows gestures as well as pinch and zoom, however it could not do the zoom in on picture for some strange reason.
Having used an ultrabook for many years, I had at times been frustrated at the lack of options. However, the E15 comes with everything you need from USB 3.0 to HDMI and even a full DVD drive. For those who never know what the next work day is going to throw at them, these options will come in handy.
What is not that good?
I can’t understand why a laptop with top of the line features would end up with a HD screen. Remember, even budget smartphones come with full HD these days and it can’t really be that expensive on a 15.6-inch laptop. The screen also reflects light a bit and you have to spend some time adjusting the angle in a well-lit place like an office floor. The laptop is quite heavy at 2.4 kg and big enough for you not to carry it around everywhere. I would look at this more as a desktop replacement.
Should you buy?
Yes, if you are looking for a powerful laptop for work. I specify work, because the HD screen will be a put off for those who love watching movies on their laptop. But if you want to push your device to reach your workaholic standards, the Acer E15 should will be up to the task.
Estimated street price: R68,499