Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 review

The Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 is a laptop for the budget-minded power user.
Photo of Acer Aspire E1-572-6870

The Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 ($579.99 list) is a fairly nondescript, glossy-black laptop, with a 15.6-inch screen and full-size keyboard. It’s the moderately priced replacement for that ancient wheezing laptop with the battery that can only last fifteen minutes before it needs a recharge. The Aspire E1-572-6870 has a six-hour battery and excellent performance for a system with a price that is on the high end of the budget laptop category. However, the fact that it’s significantly more expensive than other budget laptops we’ve reviewed holds the Aspire E1-572-6870 back from earning top honors.

Design and Features
The Aspire E1-572-6870′s glossy, black exterior measures 10 by 15 by 1 inches (HWD). That means the system is ready to replace that six-year-old 15-inch laptop you’ve been toting around. As a bonus, the Aspire E1-572-6870 is probably a bit lighter than that old laptop, at 4.44 pounds. It eschews weight-gaining features like a touch screen (it has none) and optical drive (it has a dummy insert instead of a DVD drive). Online downloadable installers have almost entirely replaced the DVD as the installation medium of choice, so you likely won’t miss the DVD drive at this price point. The system has two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 ports in case you need to hook up an external optical or hard drive. It also comes with a HDMI port and VGA port for data, as well as an Ethernet port for wired connections. It also has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi standard.

One nice throwback is the Aspire E1-572-6870′s removable battery pack. The included 37WHr battery can be swapped out for a new one once the original battery wears out. It can also be swapped out for a freshly charged one if you’re planning on being away from a power outlet for most of the day. This is one area where budget and mainstream laptops have an edge over sealed systems like ultrabooks.

The Aspire E1-572-6870′s wide trackpad comes with a physical mouse button in addition to the trackpad’s native tap-to-click feature. This makes it easier for users of older laptop users to get used to using the trackpad; note that the mouse button is one piece (you have to press on the right half of the button for right-click) and feels a bit cheap. The Lenovo G580 has a more substantial feel to its keyboard and split mouse buttons.

The Aspire E1-572-6870 doesn’t have a touch screen, which usually adds cost and complexity. This puts the system among peers that lack touch screens, like the Gateway NE72206u, Toshiba Satellite C875-S7340 and our current budget laptop Editors’ Choice, the Dell Inspiron 15 (I15RV-6190 BLK). Like the Lenovo G580, and Dell I15 (I15RV-6190 BLK), the Aspire E1-572-6870 has a 15-inch display with 1,366-by-786 resolution, while the Gateway NE72206u and Toshiba C875-S7340 have 17-inch screens with 1,600-by-900 resolution.

Picky users will be miffed to see a bit of screen-door effect on the Aspire E1-572-6870′s display. You can visually pick out individual square pixels, especially on solid colored tiles on the Start screen. This is understandable, since it’s a symptom of a 1,366-by-768 resolution blown up on a 15.6-inch screen. It’s one of the tradeoffs that Acer had to make in order to put a higher-performing Core i5 processor in a sub-$600 system.

There are a lot of extra apps included on the Start screen (which is why we picked out the square blocky pixels right away). These programs include eBay, Zinio, Kindle, Wild Tanget, Chacha, Netflix, iCookbook, Amazon, Xbox Games, Cut the Rope, Hulu Plus, Stumbleupon, Newsxpresso, Music Maker, Skype, Social Jogger, Spotify, Microsoft Office Trial, McAfee, and other Acer utilities. These tiles and icons clutter up the Start screen and desktop unless you already use most of these programs. Budget an hour or two of installation time if you want a cleared Start screen. The Aspire E1-572-6870 comes with a standard one-year warranty.

Performance
The Aspire E1-572-6870 comes with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor with Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4GB of system memory, and a 500GB hard drive. Thanks to all these newer components, it is more than a match for the Pentium-powered Dell Inspiron 15 (I15RV-6190 BLK) and the AMD A6-powered Gateway NE72206u on all the benchmarks tests, including day-to-day tests and multimedia benchmark tests. No wonder, since the Aspire E1-572-6870′s CPU is the same one used in $700-to-$1,500 ultrabooks.

The Aspire E1-572-6870′s performance dominance extends to battery life as well: the energy efficient Core i5 processor in the Aspire E1-572-6870 helps it achive a six hour battery life, much better than the four hours of the Dell Inspiron 15 and the 5 hours of the Gateway NE72206u. If you’re looking for performance on the cheap, the Aspire E1-572-6870 is a better laptop than most of the sub-$500 systems out there.

And there’s the rub: The Aspire E1-572-6870 is one of those systems that skirts the mainstream and the budget categories, and at this price or higher you really want a touch screen. With a list price of $580, the Aspire E1-572-6870 is $200 more than the Editors’ Choice Dell Inspiron 15 (I15RV-6190 BLK). That makes the Dell Inspiron a much better value, since aside from performance, the two laptops are competitive, feature for feature. Yes, the Aspire E1-572-6870 lasts two hours longer on the battery rundown test and is perceptibly faster, so it earns our recommendation for budget-minded people who are impatient or want to use the system unplugged. The majority of general users trying to save (more than) a few bucks on a new system will be better served by the Dell Inspiron 15 and $200 in their pockets.

Specifications
Touchscreen No
Processor Name Intel Core i5-4200U
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8
Storage Type HDD
Weight 4.44 lb
Screen Type Widescreen
Type General Purpose, Value
RAM 4 GB
Networking Options 802.11n
Processor Speed 1.6 GHz
Screen Size 15.6 inches
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 500 GB

Verdict
The Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 is a high-performing budget laptop that outlasts and outperforms rivals. It's a great choice for those value-minded users who don't mind paying a little bit more to get a little more performance.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc