Acer E1-472-6688 14-Inch Laptop Review

Acer E1-472-6688 14-Inch Laptop (Misty Silver)

The Acer E1-472-6688 14-Inch Laptop (Misty Silver) is a powerful yet easily portable – to say nothing of stylish – laptop that should handle everyday tasks with ease and have power to spare for more demanding activities.

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It is driven by a 4th Generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor, a dual-core, Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) component designed specifically to provide a good balance between performance and power consumption in small laptops and Ultrabooks. Based on Intel’s Haswell architecture, this CPU offers significantly improved performance over 3rd generation processors, while simultaneously reducing power consumption. It supports Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which allows each core to handle up to two threads in parallel, and, thanks to Turbo Boost, is capable of automatically adjusting the speed of each core from their base speed of 1.6 Ghz up to a maximum of 2.6 GHz. Together, these techniques ensure that the processor is always used efficiently, consuming only the power that it needs for the current task while remaining able to deliver extra computing capacity on demand to cope with more challenging tasks.

The i5-4200U processor is supported by 4GB of DDR3L memory. This should be more than enough to allow the installed copy of Windows 8.1 to show off its new features while multitasking your favorite applications with ease. Of course, the more memory a system has, the better, and the 4GB is less than is supplied in many more expensive laptops. However, while 8GB of RAM or more may be desirable, the supplied amount represents a sensible balance between cost and features that offers perfectly reasonable performance at a budget-friendly price.

For permanent storage of your documents, music, movies and, of course, software applications, the E1-472-6688 offers a 500GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). As with its memory, this should be more than enough storage capacity for most purposes, and represents a fair balance between features and cost. And, should you eventually need additional storage space, it is an easy matter to connect an external HDD to one of the machine’s USB ports.

Pros :

  • Good, Powerful, Lightweight Workhorse Laptop
  • Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6 GHz (3 MB Cache)
  • Large 500GB Hard Disk
  • 14-Inch Screen
  • Windows 8.1
  • 4.5-hour Battery Life

Cons :

  • Graphics Underpowered For Serious Gaming
  • No Optical Drive

Staying with disk drives for a moment, this machine doesn’t feature a built-in CD / DVD optical drive. Again, this represents a reasonable design choice – there is only so much space available inside the machine’s case, and for a small, easily portable yet powerful laptop, some compromises will inevitably have to be made. Memory sticks and cards (the machine has a built-in SD Card Reader) and cloud storage have made CDs and DVDs less essential than they were just a few years ago, but they still have their uses, such as installing software from disk, burning music CDs or watching a movie from your collection, so it’s worth bearing in mind that you will need to purchase an external USB DVD drive if you think you will want or need to use optical media.

The machine’s 14-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel, LED backlit, CineCrystal display is driven by an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 controller with 64MB of dedicated memory. HD Graphics 440o is faster than the older HD Graphics 4000 controllers found on 3rd generation processors, but is still less capable than many dedicated graphics controllers, or even the integrated HD 5000 used on other Intel processors. That said, it should be more than adequate for day to day tasks, including office applications, video chat, HD video and casual gaming, although it will probably struggle with more demanding modern games, particularly at high detail settings. In fairness, however, this machine is not – and does not claim to be – a gaming laptop; it is a reasonably powerful, budget-friendly workhorse, for which HD Graphics is very well suited.

Of course, there will inevitably be times when you want or need to use a display larger than the built-in 14-inch model, and for those occasions the machine provides two different options for connecting to external displays. An HDMI port with HDCP support makes it easy to watch movies etc on an HDTV or modern monitor, while a legacy  VGA port ensures that you can still use older monitors, TVs or projectors.

A similar degree of flexibility applies to network connectivity. For those who want or need to connect to a conventional wired network, the machine is equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet port. However, for wireless networks, either at home, in the office or on the road, the E1-472-6688 features built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, making it easy to get online wherever you may be.

Built-in Bluetooth 4.0 makes it equally easy to connect to wireless peripherals such as keyboards, mice and headsets, as well as cellphones etc. And, of course, the machine’s three USB ports allow you to connect just about any USB device. For devices that don’t need to transfer large amounts of data to the computer as quickly as possible – keyboards, mice, etc – there are two standard USB 2.0 ports. However, for more demanding peripherals, such as external Hard Disks, there is also a high speed USB 3.0 port.

With an HD Webcam (1280 x 720) built right in, this machine is video chat-ready right out of the box. The supplied copy of Windows 8.1 ships with Skype, the popular video chat software, so you don’t have to install anything – simply sign in to your account, or create a new one, and you’ll be chatting with your friends and colleagues in minutes.

Measuring 13.46 x 9.65 x 1 inches (L x W x H) and weighing  just 4.6 pounds this machine is small and light enough to easily take around with you. And, with a reported battery life of up to 4.5 hours, you can be sure that you’ll be able to get plenty done when you get there.

Overall, the Acer E1-472-6688 14-Inch Laptop (Misty Silver) is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a laptop with enough computing power to get through routine tasks with ease and still have some to spare for more challenging applications. It isn’t a gaming machine, and may struggle with demanding modern games (although casual games shouldn’t trouble it at all) but gaming isn’t its intended purpose; it is a general purpose machine, and should be perfectly capable of carrying out that role. For power and style at a reasonable price, this machine is well worth a look.

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