With tablets and Chromebooks becoming more and more popular, one might find it hard to come across a good old budget laptop. Acer Aspire E5-571-588M, what we’re reviewing here, looks exactly like that: a solid, affordable notebook with specs suggesting it should be capable of dealing with lightweight stuff, like web browsing and YouTube, easily. But would it be good pick for heavier use? In reality, would it be a suitable option for anybody? I’ll try to find that out here.
First things first
Acer Aspire E5-571-588M runs on dual-core Intel Core i5-4210U processor. Released in the second quarter of 2014, it’s still rather new CPU and does surprisingly well when compared to the top dog processors. One reason for high performance is the turbo speed which momentarily overclocks the CPU to 2.7GHz from the base speed of 1.7GHz. As such, the processor is up for both lightweight and heavier tasks and is very powerful choice for a cheap laptop like this Acer.
There’s 4 gigabytes system memory installed in Acer Aspire E5-571-588M. For budget laptops it’s very typical amount, and chances are you won’t need more. However, adding extra RAM is certainly doable. The maximum memory is 16GB and there’s one free memory slot.
Storage space is the usual 500GB on 5400RPM hard drive. If you require more space, you must install bigger one inside or get an external drive. If you want more speed to your laptop, one good way to do that is SSD. You can install such solid-state drive to the laptop and it will tremendously speed up your new toy. I would advise, however, going with the default setup and worry about the speed later if you indeed find the notebook slow.
Graphics & Screen
The graphics of Acer Aspire E5-571-588M are handled by the processor. As such, graphics engine is a dedicated model, more precisely Intel HD Graphics 4400. Expect it to work flawlessly only for light gaming. Playing fancy, new titles like Risen 3 or Watch Dogs is pretty much out of question. Titles like Dota 2, Tomb Raider and Diablo 3 should still have very playable FPS on this configuration.
Acer Aspire E5-571-588M has 15.6 inches LED-backlit display featuring 1366 x 768 max resolution. I’m not shocked seeing such a low resolution screen on a budget notebook, and unless you’re a power user this resolution should be OK.
Having good connectivity is sometimes compromised in budget laptops. This Acer does it better. The notebook features 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet adapter and also a WiFi adapter. Thus, accessing Internet either with or without wire is possible. Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported by default.
Acer Aspire E5-571-588M contains both VGA and HDMI outputs, so you can plug it in to a HDTV and enjoy a big screen. There are also 3 USB ports in total. Two of them are the slower USB 2.0 while one is faster USB 3.0.
There’s also the usual webcam (1280 x 720 resolution) for video sessions and a media card reader so you can easily upload photos from your camera to the laptop.
Other things to keep in mind
Like most 15.6″ laptops, also the keyboard of Acer Aspire E5-571-588M has 10-key numeric pad on the right hand side. Typing numbers is obviously fast, but some users don’t care about that so much and just find the numeric pad useless.
The battery life is advertised as high as 7 hours. It’s excellent duration for budget notebooks, although I doubt you will get that high (but close still) battery life in reality.
Weight of Acer Aspire E5-571-588M is 5.5 lbs, and together with great battery life makes this laptop a good companion for a student or traveler who enjoys a big display on his notebook.
Optical drive is missing so you must use an external drive if you want to install programs from CDs or DVDs.
To be honest I was quite surprised to see such a cheap laptop boasting such a solid performance. At around 400 bucks you get a notebook with fast i5 CPU and very adequate 4GB RAM and 500GB hard drive. The graphics are also not too bad for light gaming (although serious gaming is still something Acer Aspire E5-571-588M isn’t good at). The connectivity is also great, offering easy access to network or devices via WiFi, Ethernet and Bluetooth. Battery life is likewise much above average at around 7 hours. If they only had put a display with 1920×1080 resolution instead of the current 1366×768 one, I’d call this budget laptop of the year. Currently, and I kid you not, the Acer is still a superb choice for home users and even many power users alike.