Very often sales people try to sell you something you don’t need. That also happens a lot with laptops. You’re offered a fancy notebook with premium features, but the truth is, you might not need them at all. Because browsing the web and perhaps watching a movie or two might be all you do with a computer. In this case, a cheaper laptop like Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 should do. So let’s try to figure out if that affordable Acer would be a good choice for you.
Is it fast enough?
Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 is powered by the entry-level Intel Pentium 3556U processor with two cores and 1.7GHz clock speed. The CPU doesn’t have a turbo feature so clock frequency won’t increase on demanding use. Pentium 3556U gets ~1750 points in the trusted Passmark benchmark, so compared to other processors, it is faster than Celerons but slower than Core i3s and above. As several people pointed out, the chip doesn’t work for heavyweight use, but it has sufficient performance for day to day tasks.
The notebook has 4GB memory like any “value computer”. It’s installed on one module and there’s one slot free. You can add another chip there to easily double the memory or replace both sticks to get the maximum 16GB. However, the logic of going beyond 8GB on this kind of machine wouldn’t be very clear to me.
There’s a 500GB (5400RPM as far as I know) hard drive for storage. It should be adequate, although I can understand the desire to install SSD in a notebook. This laptop is no stranger to solid-state drives, you just have to remove the old hard drive to make space for SSD first.
The operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) which is probably good news for many.
How’s the screen? And graphics?
Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 contains a 15.6″ screen, just like the majority of notebooks I’d dare to say. The screen is glossy and it does not support touch. Resolution is not great, just 1366×768, but what else can you expect for this cheap product.
Graphics performance is perhaps the worst thing in this Acer. Basic laptops skimp on this, only offering integrated graphics units that are mainly good for video streaming, not gaming. In this computer, the engine is called HD Graphics (Haswell). It struggles with most games. Types like GTA 5, Battlefield 4 and The Witcher are unplayable. Some simple games, such as Sims 4 and Dota 2 will run fine, at least if you keep eye candy at bay.
Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 includes three USB ports – one being USB 3.0 for faster transfer rates. Plugging in monitor or HDTV is also possible, the unit has dedicated VGA and HDMI outs for that.
Like many basic laptops, also this one comes with a DVD writer. Also SD card slot is available, meaning you can transfer files between the computer and some portable devices.
Internet can be reached with 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapter or Gigabit RJ-45 port. Bluetooth 4.0 seems to be supported, too.
The unit features a built-in webcam and microphone for video calls and meetings.
Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 weighs 5.51 pounds, not too much but perhaps some ounces more than 15″ laptops often do. It includes a 6-cell battery lasting the typical 3-4 hours on web surfing or similar light use.
The keyboard doesn’t have backlit keys, although numpad is attached on the right hand side.
Acer Aspire NX.MS8AA.002 is a simple notebook with entry-level components like Pentium processor and 4GB RAM. It’s not a beast, but will do the job of web surfing and text editing without problems. Having Windows 7 is also a positive thing for many (including me), people are still not used to Windows 8’s interface and perhaps they never will. The product price isn’t bad, I’d actually call it rather affordable. If you don’t need a laptop full of bells and whistles, this basic Acer should be all you need.