Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA Review

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March 16, 2015
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Brave enough to give a try to a laptop that also functions as a tablet? Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA is indeed such a device, with an obvious advantage of not needing to buy both gadgets separately. The engine room boasts a modern 5th generation Intel processor and 6GB RAM, so solid performance can be expected. But the hottest questions about its usefulness remains mystery. Let’s see if we can find an answer to that below.

Performance

Intel Core i5-5200U belongs to the new generation of Intel’s processors. Having been released in the first months of 2015, it features a dual-core setup with 2.2GHz base speed and 2.7GHz turbo speed. It’s also an ultra low voltage processor with average usage of 15 watts. A performance increase from previous generation Core i5 models is evident in professional benchmarks, with CPU Mark tests giving ~3600 points to i5-5200U (the older i5-4200U receives ~3300 points). As result most software, be it demanding or not, will run flawlessly on this processor.

There is 6GB DDR3L SDRAM installed in Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA. Specifications indicate a maximum memory of 12GB and only one memory slot in total. This seems a bit strange, and some other reviews said there two slots on the mainboard (which is probably true). In any case, upgrading the memory is possible, but going from 6GB to 8GB won’t probably give a noticeable performance boost.

The hard drive in this Acer seems to be big, offering a full terabyte storage space. If you make calculations you can see that such a drive could take around 200 DVDs worth of data. Impressive, yes, but this comes at a cost of slow read and write ratios – 5400 revolutions per minute on this model. If you don’t seek a lot of storage but want a smooth user experience you know what to do: remove the HDD and put a solid-state drive in.

Display and graphics

One of the useful things in Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA is the display. It’s a 14″ touchscreen with a 360 degree hinge. What does this mean? Well, you can use this computer as a laptop but when you want to, also turn the screen further – full 360 degrees – and it becomes a tablet. A bit heavy one indeed, but at least you have two devices with a price of one. The 1366×768 resolution should also work decently for the 14″ screen size, and there are no worries using Windows 8.1 on a touch display.

An upgraded Intel HD 5500 is the graphics engine in this laptop. Compared to previous models it beats the HD 4400 although the older HD 4600 still seems to do better. All in all, none of these integrated units are excellent for gaming, but the HD 5500 should be good enough if you’re happy with low details and resolutions on many games. For example, Battlefield 4 should give +30FPS and the older yet still popular Diablo III around 50 frames per seconds. That’s playable indeed, but newest games need to be played without fancy graphics on.

Connectivity

The number of USB ports in this laptop is three, and two of them are USB 3.0 while one is older USB 2.0. In these Aspire R14s Acer seemed to drop the direct VGA support, although HDMI output is still there (and can be used with VGA monitors as well with an adapter).

Network adapters include a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port and WiFi (802.11b/g/n) card. Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported on Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA.

There is no DVD drive installed in this model, so you must rely on an external optical drive if it’s discs you fancy. You can also use the built-in SD card slot, although it doesn’t really help if your data is on DVDs.

The laptop has an HD webcam so at least decent quality video chats can be expected.

What other things to remember?

Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA weighs 4.85 pounds, not bad considering the screen size of 14 inches, although when used as a tablet the weight is on the heavy side. The 4-cell (3560 mAh) battery is promised 7.5 hours which seems peculiar to me. In real life, you’ll get 5 or 6 hours runtime on WiFi browsing.

The non-backlit keyboard doesn’t have a numeric keypad on right, a common thing for laptops this small.

Wrapping it up

Acer Aspire R14 R3-471T-53LA is a modern convertible notebook, excellent if you don’t want to bother buying laptop and tablet separately. However there are tradeoffs to be made with such 2-in-1 model, like the increased weight and size compared to true tablets. Good sides include high performance which the new i5-5200U processor and 6GB RAM can certainly deliver. The battery life of 5-6 hours is better than on your average laptop, while the missing optical drive can be bummer for some. All in all, it’s not a bad computer, although at the current price point doesn’t offer any expectional value either.


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