Here on TechForPennies.com we’ve lately concentrated on high end (yet still relatively affordable) laptops. While these beefier notebooks have their market, it’s damn sure also cheap laptops are in huge demand. So let us present you Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685, a wallet friendly computer released in the beginning of 2015. Its price is excellent, but does so cheap computer offer anything but worries? Let’s see about that.
There’s a processor called Intel Celeron N2840 in Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685. That name probably rings bells for many: Celeron is famous entry level CPU, often found in sub-notebooks and other laptops meant for lightweight use. This one has a dual-core setup and 2.16GHz clock rate, with a grade of 1000 in CPU Passmark tests. In comparison, modern mobile Pentiums (considered to be step above Celerons) get closer to 2000 points. So it’s not high performance these processors are known for, although activities like daily browsing and video streaming work fine on them.
4GB DDR3L memory is installed on the laptop. That’s a very healthy amount for a starter laptop, and you can increase it to 8GB if you want. However, since there is only one memory slot on the mainboard all in all, you’ll have to take out the old chip first.
The storage size is 500GB. It should be sufficient for a simple notebook like this Acer, providing space for around 100 DVDs worth of data. I can see from the specifications its RPM rate is only 5400 so a great performance (speed) can’t be excepted. If you’re after quick R/W rates to make programs and Windows load faster, swapping the hard drive for a solid-state drive might be your choice.
Display and graphics
The screen of Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685 is 15.6 inches big. That’s the size most often seen in laptops, being good enough for any kind of use. It’s however not a touch display, which some might see this as a disadvantage for Windows 8.1. Furthermore, the resolution is only 1366×768, so you can say goodbye to high end gaming and large screen estate. That said, no laptop bearing a similar price tag will offer a Full HD display.
Hardcore gamers won’t find good use for this laptop. It has a graphics unit called Intel HD (Bay Trail) which is extremely poor performer compared to dedicated cards. Games with high system requirements, like Battlefield 4, won’t run at all (or they will, with FPS around 10 which we call “not running”). Types like Tomb Raider will get better frame rates, although still only around 20 on low details. The popular Minecraft reaches more than that, allowing you to increase resolution and settings if you want to.
Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685 has three USB ports available. One of those is USB 3.0. And even though it’s a cheap model there’s still an HDMI output. Plugging the laptop to a HDTV or other monitor is thus possible. Also an SD card reader is installed, handy for uploading photos off your digital camera.
The Acer doesn’t have a DVD player. This is a typical way for manufacturers to save on costs, because they know these days users can get pretty much everything from Internet. But if you indeed need to access discs, an external DVD drive has to be used.
You can connect to Internet either through 1000Mbps Ethernet RJ-45 port or a regular WiFi adapter. Bluetooth 4.0 is also enabled. The built-in webcam supports 640×480 resolution which should suffice for casual video chatting.
What other things to keep in mind?
Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685 weighs 5.29 pounds, an amount in line with competing 15.6″ laptops. The advertised 7 hours running time I’d take with a grain of salt. The 3-cell battery won’t probably give that much, three or four hours of use is your best bet.
There’s a numeric keypad available on the laptop. The keyboard itself is not illuminated, something that techies are usually longing for.
It looks like there are 30-day trials for MS Office and McAfee anti-virus programs installed. Of course, after the month, you must buy them or find free alternatives.
Acer Aspire ES1-512-C685 is a basic laptop for people who surf the web, watch videos and perhaps play less demanding games now and then. It’s also a good alternative for Chromebook if you find the familiar Windows better than Chrome OS. But make no mistake, you can’t run heavy programs on a Celeron system – power users should pay more for their notebook. Anyway, for this low price, I can easily recommend the Acer as a starter laptop for homes, students and small offices.