The Acer Aspire ES 15 (ES1-572-31KW) hews to the traditional ports and throws in-there modern connectivity options and good performance. It’s a perfect choice if you need to use Windows 10, love your CDs or DVDs, but the competition is tough from other budget desktop-replacement systems.
PROS: Windows 10 and Core i3 performance affordably. Massive 1TB hard drive storage. Ethernet, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.
CONS: Could use more than one USB 3.0 port. 1,366-by-768 screen shows some pixelation.
The Acer Aspire ES 15 (ES1-572-31KW) is a basic desktop-replacement laptop, with an above-average feature set and a good price, like a 2.3GHz sixth-generation (SKylake) Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB memory and 1TB hard drive storage. It is especially a good choice if you must have a full-fledged Windows PC instead of a Web-centric or tablet, but are on a somewhat tight budget. It’s a good value but its not-so-good battery life and other nits, like a 720p LED display, ultimately hold it back from replacing the Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) as our Editors’ Top Pick for budget desktop-replacement laptops. The Aspire E15 features impressive like the latest seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) processor, longer battery life and a 1080p full HD screen, for (a bit) more.
Design and Features
The ES1-572-31KW’s chassis is midnight black, with concentric circles running through the top lid and keyboard deck. It measures about 0.97 by 15.03 by 10.16 inches (HWD), and weighs 5.3 pounds. It’s certainly light enough to tote around in the house, but some might find it bulky to fit comfortably into a student backpack or airline tray table. It essentially shares the same chassis and weight with our Editors’ Top Pick budget laptop, the Acer Aspire E 15, with the latter being slightly thicker at 1.19 inches. Design-wise, the ASUS F555LA-AB31 eschews both Acers, and it is slightly lighter at only 5.1 pounds, making it ideal for students and those always on the move.
The 15.6-inch screen has a 1,366-by-768 resolution, which is common for such a budget system, but the Aspire E 15 and ASUS F555LA-AB31 boast full HD (1929-by-1080 resolutions) at around the same budget. As expected, viewing angles are narrower n the LED-display than those on an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, but the screen is clear and quite usable. The ES 15 lacks a touchscreen, which isn’t a necessity in the pre-installed Windows 10 Home as it has been tweaked to work with touchpad inputs. Instead, you have a responsive one-piece multitouch touchpad, that tracks well, placed centrally under the non-backlit keyboard-it is comfortable to use, even with the narrow keys. Sound from the speakers is clear, though somewhat soft.
The system has a mix of legacy and modern I/O ports. You’ll find a DVD drive, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a headset jack, a Kensington lock port, an SD card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.0 port. The Ethernet port is handy if you don’t have a wireless router. This is quite impressive, but the Acer Aspire E 15 delivers some of the best I/O port options we’ve seen on a budget system, like a USB 3.1 (Type C) port, two USB 3.0 ports and a HD Webcam (1280-by-720), in addition to the base ports. Wireless connectivity comes by way of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The system comes with 4GB of memory, which is the same as Aspire E15, though it is still upgradable to a maximum of 16GB, if need be. The 1000GB, 5,400rpm hard drive certainly offers more space than, say, a 64GB solid-state drive, but it’s slower that the latter, especially at system startup.
Components include a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor, the aforementioned 4GB DDR3L memory and an Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 video card. The Intel Core i3-6100U is a late 2015-release, with a CPU Passmark score of 3509 points, which is among the low-end Skylake processors. Still, it suffices for anyone who needs a budget laptop for day-to-day tasks like office document editing, webcam conferencing, and Web browsing. Its gaming scores are on the low side, so you’ll so you’ll probably want a faster system if you’re interested in games that are more challenging than, say, Angry Birds.
That said, the Acer Aspire E 15 features the latest seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 4GB memory with Intel HD Graphics 620; all of which give it a slight push in performance, but significantly long battery life. You are safe looking at it if all you need is a laptop that will pull through day-to-day tasks for the next few years before it starts to feel slow.
Battery life on the Aspire ES 15 is average. It lasted 5 hours 39 minutes on our battery rundown tests, although Acer claims it can last 6 hours 30 minutes. This is quite acceptable for a desktop replacement as it is at par with the Lenovo Edge 15’s 5 hours 39 minutes, although the Aspire E 15 outshines both of them at 9 hours 45 minutes. This is enough to last through a school day before having to be plugged in.
The Acer Aspire ES 15 (ES1-572-31KW) is a good budget desktop-replacement laptop, and is without a doubt a passable choice if you need to replace some older system and still keep compatibility with older programs and peripherals. Its 1TB hard drive and superb connectivity options are an advantage over most budget 15-inch laptops. However, the Acer Aspire E 15 holds on to its Editors’ Top Pick award, due to its latest seventh-generation processor, Full HD (1080p) screen for a list price that is near-impossible to pass by for all those features.