There are a bunch of budget laptops available, but what if you need a beefier system for your heavier programs and power user tendencies? Well, you must shell out some more money. But not much, especially in the case of Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 – it’s relatively well priced yet the engine room houses powerful things such as i5-5200U processor and 8GB RAM. The 14″ display is a convertible one, adding to functionality of this unit. As the operating system is Windows 10 you don’t have to download and install that after acquiring the laptop. But let’s find out more about the Acer, perhaps there’s a reason you should stay away from it..?
What software does it run?
It goes without saying that a computer in this price category runs most everyday programs without noticeable lag. There’s a solid Intel Core i5-5200U processor under the hood, getting ~3500 CPU Mark points on its dual-core setup, 2.2GHz clock speed and up to 2.7GHz turbo frequency. If the CPU Mark grade doesn’t tell you anything, you can compare it to, say, a popular (4th Generation) i3-4030U which receives ~2700 points. Indeed, these new 5th Generation processors – just like the i5-5200U – are a powerful bunch, and I haven’t seen a wave of user reports complaining about slow systems or lag due to bad CPU performance.
The engine room also features 8GB RAM. How it’s distributed is rather unclear, some older versions of this notebook had 4GB on-board and the rest was installed on a stick – that might also be true here. However, Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 is not listed on the manufacturer’s website yet so it’s hard to confirm. Either way, you’re able to upgrade the memory at least to 12GB, given there’s on-board memory and one memory slot all in all.
Storage drive is a traditional 1TB 5400RPM hard drive. Those units are quite cheap so manufacturers don’t mind placing them into their low and mid-range laptops. 1024GB hard drive can surely take a lot of data, but it’s cheap because it has older technology, moving parts. This directly contributes to worse performance compared to newer solid-state drives without the said moving parts. The difference can be seen, for example, in Windows start-up times and general feel of the computer. However, you’re welcome to remove the hard drive from this laptop and put in such SSD if you feel you have the skills to do that.
Is it good for gaming, too?
Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 wouldn’t be your best choice for gaming. Why? Because there’s no powerful graphics card that could bring a lot of eye candy for many games. The graphics engine Intel HD 5500 is just integrated to the processor, using shared memory, and it will become bottleneck for hardcore gamers. To give you an example, you’d have to keep settings around medium and resolution 1366×768 on GTA 5 to get ~25 frames per second. That’s not what avid gamers are after, but for casual gaming it works. And bear in mind that simpler types of games will have much better FPS – Minecraft for example going above 50 frames per second.
Any comments about the display?
There’s a 10-finger 14″ touch display supporting 1366×768 resolution in this notebook. It has a 360 degree hinge, which essentially means both tablet and laptop modes work. Such a basic screen will do for an average computer user (if you don’t mind me using that term :) Also note the screen is tad smaller than the typical 15.6″ display so perhaps portability is bit stronger with this one.
Spicing up your Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 can be done in various ways. The unit includes three USB ports (one is USB 3.0), you can hook up an extra mouse, keyboard or other device to those. HDMI-output is also available, and as Acer has stepped into Windows 10 time they have left the legacy VGA port out of their new notebooks.
The laptop doesn’t have an internal optical drive, so that would be one possible use for the USB 3.0 port: plug in an external DVD burner to that. You could also try the Secure Digital card reader in case you have those memory cards around (for example, cameras often store photos on such cards).
To connect this unit to Internet you’re welcome to use the built-in Wireless card. It supports the b/g/n standard and Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also Gigabit RJ-45 connector in case you prefer cable.
The webcam supports 1280×720 resolution, it’s good enough for video chatting (even conferences) but depending on your preferences, might be too low quality for recording videos for services like YouTube.
Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 was made with road warriors in mind, the screen diagonal is compact 14″ and the system weighs 4.8 pounds. Manufacturer gives the 4-cell battery a whopping 8 hours operating time – I don’t think you’ll quite reach that but getting six hours should be pretty close to truth.
Unfortunately, the keyboard doesn’t have backlit keys. Dedicated numpad isn’t available either, there wouldn’t be space for that.
Acer Aspire R 14 R3-471T-5039 is a decent 2-in-1 laptop for people who want a bit better performance than budget notebook can offer, but are still fine without all the bells and whistles a $1000 laptop has. That would include “heavyweight users” who perhaps edit images or videos now and then, in addition to regular web surfing and YouTube watching. Gamers however I’d like to rule out, there’s no proper graphics card inside. Otherwise, this compact 14-incher is a good choice for power users who also prefer better portability than 15 or 17 inch laptop can offer.