Acer Aspire ES1-512-P84G 15.6-Inch Laptop (Diamond Black) Review

Acer Aspire ES1-512-P84G 15.6-Inch Laptop (Diamond Black)

The Acer Aspire ES1-512-P84G 15.6-Inch Laptop (Diamond Black) is an inexpensive, entry level machine that should be ideal for day-to-day computing tasks. Email, surfing the net, updating social status, video chat and word processing / productivity applications should all be well within its capabilities, as should HD video playback and casual gaming, although it will probably struggle with more demanding applications such as video editing or modern games.

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It is powered by an Intel Pentium N3540 System on a Chip (Soc) – a quad-core component that is designed specifically to balance reasonable performance with energy efficiency in entry level notebooks and convertibles. The N3540 has a base clock speed of 2.16 GHz, automatically boosting to 2.66 GHz as needed. Based on Intel’s Silvermont architecture, the Pentium N3540 offers significant improvements in both performance and energy efficiency than earlier Atom models.

The N3540 features an integrated Intel HD Graphics GPU with  support for Direct X 11. However, with only 4 Execution Units and a fairly low clock speed, it will struggle to meet the needs of modern games. It should, however, be more than adequate for the routine applications and casual gaming that this machine is designed to be used for.

Pros :

  • 15.6″ HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit Display: (1366 x 768) resolution; 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Intel Pentium N3540 Quad-Core Processor 2.16GHz with Intel Burst Technology up to 2.66GHz
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • 4096MB DDR3L SDRAM Memory
  • 500GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Digital Media Card Reader – Secure Digital (SD) Card
  • 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Webcam (640 x 480)
  • High Definition Audio Support
  • Two Built-in stereo speakers
  • 2- USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1- USB 3.0 Port
  • 1- HDMI Port with HDCP Support
  • 3-cell Lithium-Ion Battery (3220mAh)
  • Up to 7-hours battery life
  • 5.29 lbs | 2.4kg system unit only

Cons :

  • Underpowered for serious gaming
  • No optical drive
  • No VGA port

Indeed, with 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM memory fitted as standard, the Aspire ES1-512-P84G should cope well with the preinstalled copy of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Windows with Bing, in case you were wondering, is nothing more than the standard, or “core” edition of Windows 8.1, with Internet Explorer’s default search options set to use Microsoft’s Bing search engine. You don’t have to keep those settings if you don’t want to – you’re free to use any search service or browser you choose.

The machine comes with a 500GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive for permanent storage of all your documents, pictures, music, movies and, of course, software applications. Although smaller than the hard drives found on many more powerful (and more expensive!) laptops, 500 GB should be more than enough storage capacity for most users. However, should you find that you need additional storage in the future, it’s an easy matter to attach an external hard drive to one of the machine’s 3 USB ports.

On the subject of storage, it is worth noting that, like many other machines in its class, the Aspire ES1-512-P84G doesn’t feature a built-in CD / DVD drive. That’s a reasonable (and very common) compromise between cost and features for such an inexpensive laptop, and shouldn’t pose a problem for most users. However, if you know that you are going to need an optical drive – maybe for watching DVDs from your collection or installing software from physical disks – you will need to purchase an external USB DVD drive.

The laptop features a 15.6″ HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit Display with a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels – ideal for work or entertainment. However, for those times when a bigger screen is desirable – such as relaxing with a movie, or giving a presentation – the machine offers an HDMI Port with HDCP support, making it easy to connect to an HDTV or modern monitor. There is no legacy VGA port, though, so if you think you might need to connect this laptop to an older monitor or projector, you will need an adapter. Again, for most users, this is unlikely to be a problem, but it is worth keeping in mind.

Other connectivity options include three USB ports (two standard USB 2.0 ports and one high speed USB 3.0 port) for connecting wired peripherals such as printers to the machine. For wireless devices, the Aspire ES1-512-P84G also offers Bluetooth 4.0.

There is support for both wired and wireless networking. For wireless networks, the laptop offers built-in 802.11b/g/n WiFi connectivity, while a Gigabit Ethernet port allows for wired connections for those who want or need them.

An SD card reader makes it easy to transfer pictures and files onto your computer from your camera or cellphone, and a built-in webcam makes this machine video chat ready right out of the box.

The machine measures 15.02 x 10.16 x 1.03 inches and weighs 5.3 pounds – small and lightweight enough to carry around easily. And, with a reported battery life of up to 7 hours, you can be sure of getting plenty of use out of this machine, whether it lives on your desk or travels around with you.

Overall, the Acer Aspire ES1-512-P84G 15.6-Inch Laptop (Diamond Black) is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an entry level machine. It should be easily able to cope with routine computing tasks, although it will probably struggle with demanding applications and modern games. As an inexpensive first machine for the kids, an extra machine for your living room or kitchen, or perhaps as a means for elderly relatives to keep in touch, this laptop is well worth considering.

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