The Gebesse Blog

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Product review – Acer Aspire E11 laptop

As I mentioned in the recent update to the article about my mobile office, I had to replace two laptop computers. The machine chosen to replace them was an Acer Aspire E11, model number E3-111-C9AR.

The specifications of the machine were rather basic. It’s not my main computer so it doesn’t need to be super powerful. The main use for it is doing training and demonstrations and to provide something reasonably light to carry when I’m travelling. It obviously had to run Windows and have enough disk space to store all the programs and data that I travel with. It also needed enough power to run my everyday programs at a reasonable speed. Price was also a consideration, because this is not my main computer so there was no real need to spend a fortune on it.

I was attracted to Acer because I have used their machines in the past without any problems. One machine being replaced was an Acer laptop which had survived rather harsh treatment such as being dropped from the top of some stairs and bouncing to the bottom. I have also had a couple of Acer desktop machines which have worked very well and I know a lot of my clients use them without any problems as well. By pure chance the cheapest laptop available from Officeworks when the time came to purchase was an Acer.

Specifications.

  • Processor: Intel Celeron N 2830 2.41GHz (more powerful processors are available in the range)
  • Operating system: 64bit Windows 8.1
  • Screen: 11.6 inch diagonal, 1366 x 768 pixels (not a touchscreen)
  • RAM: 2 GB (see more about this below)
  • 500Gb hard disk
  • 2 USB 2 ports, 1 USB 3 port
  • HDMI port
  • SD card reader
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • No cooling fan, for silent running
  • Full sized keyboard
  • Touchpad optimised for Windows 8
  • Dimensions: 288m wide, 210mm deep, 21.2mm thick at the thickest point
  • Weight: 1.3Kg
  • Additional software: Various things from Acer, none of them essential to use the machine.

Things that it doesn’t have:

  • Enough RAM. The minimum recommended for Windows 8 in 64 bit form is 4Gb. Unfortunately it can’t be expanded as all RAM is built into the motherboard and there is no room in the thin design to allow any expansion slots. As other machines in the range have up to 8Gb and RAM is relatively cheap there is probably no excuse for not having at least 4Gb. The impact on performance is mentioned below.
  • A VGA port to connect a projector. This is another casualty of the thin design, but it was easily fixed by buying a USB to VGA adapter (shown at right). Cost was about $20 from eBay.
  • It doesn’t have a touch screen. I didn’t want one anyway, so this is not really a problem.

Performance.

Rather surprisingly the small amount of RAM doesn’t appear to have affected performance badly. Large programs like Photoshop can be slow to load but once they are running performance is quite adequate. It was never going to be a ball of fire, but a Celeron isn’t an i7 either. The sort of use to which I put it generally doesn’t require me to have more than one program running at a time, so I can live with the performance. Program starting times would be improved by replacing the hard disk with an SSD device but there is no great urgency to spend money on this right now.

Durability.

I haven’t had the thing long enough to know how long it will last and what sort of treatment it can stand, but it feels robust, the keyboard has a strong feel to it, and my experience with Acer products suggests that it should remain useful for a long time. My only concern is that the screen can contact the base just above the keyboard when the cover is closed, leaving a mark on the screen. Whether this would turn into permanent scratching I don’t know, but I use a small square of thin foam which I place on the keyboard when I close the cover.

Summary.

The Acer Aspire E11 is a perfectly adequate computer for people with limited needs. It doesn’t pretend to be a powerhouse machine, but for someone who just needs to write some letters, do some accounts, maybe do some photo manipulation, play music with iTunes, and the usual Internet things like web and email it will do the job quite well. I’m certainly satisfied with it and I don’t regret the purchase at all.

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24 thoughts on “Product review – Acer Aspire E11 laptop

  • Phil says:

    Hi, great to see a review on this. Is this the same at Dick Smith?
    http://www.dicksmith.com.au/netbooks-ultrabooks/acer-aspire-11-6-e3-112-c6yy-w8-1-netbook-dsau-xc0243

    Also, how did you find the battery life?
    I’m wondering if I can turn this into a Hackintosh.

    Thanks!

    • Looks like the same. Battery life is as good as can be expected. I haven’t done any tests, but it’s never gone flat on me when I’ve been using it for what I bought it for.

      I’ve seen an Atom-based netbook running OSX, so I assume you could do the same with this machine.Personally, I wouldn’t bother.

  • Damian says:

    Thanks

  • gaiageek says:

    I wonder if you might be mistaken about being able to upgrade the RAM: several websites state that you can upgrade the RAM on the Aspire V11 and E11, but that it’s tricky because it’s on the other side of the motherboard, requiring further disassembly. It’s possible that there is a difference between the E11 and V11 beyond just the addition of a touchscreen, though it seems unlikely, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

    • I’m sure you can upgrade the RAM, but it might cost more than the computer did.

    • PaulK says:

      I upgraded the single stick of 2G DDR3L (“L” for Low power.. it is NOT standard notebook RAM, it runs at a lower voltage! BE WARNED..!!) to one stick of 8G DDR3L. This is the maximum it (the CPU N2840) can “handle” (address). No problems but yes, it is a pain in the arse disassembling and re-assembling it. I would not suggest this unless you are competent with such things. One mistake, one slip, one error and you can kiss it goodbye.

      • Thanks. I’ll talk to someone at the local computer repair place about doing this. I might have been in the IT business since before the invention of the Internet (yes, there was such a time, and I don’t mean the invention of the World Wide Web) but I know my limitations when it comes to fiddling with the internals of computers. The real limitation to the machine is the low amount of RAM.

  • fev says:

    I had just bought it this afternoon and I found your article.. and I just realized there isn’t a port for projector LOL (but it could be embbed via usb anyway). Thanks for sharing information about this one.

  • Quite nice information but whats the warranties?? we had a lot trouble in the warranties issue in toshiba and as well as acer.

    • Warranty is what the law prescribes for consumer goods. If you have trouble getting warranty service from the vendor or manufacturer you should contact your local government consumer affairs department. In NSW it’s the Department of Fair Trading.

  • william says:

    I bought it but the mother board fried up, on being replaced by acer dealers the laptop now keeps on shutting down and am wondering if it an issue to do with the fun, that is it keeps on overheating

  • It seems that this machine no longer comes with a hard drive but instead has 32 gigabytes of internal storage. The USB 2 port on the side of the computer has also been deleted. I could possibly live without the USB port (on my machine it permanently holds the aerial for an external mouse), but reducing the internal storage to what is hardly even acceptable for a tablet (or even a phone) would have been a deal breaker. If I was buying today I would be buying something else.

  • nicole says:

    Well I have been checking reviews on this same machine and sad to say that its a waste of money I agree with Peter , I have only installed programs for office use and I cant even run 2 programs without a notification that my memory is too low no movies etc loaded ….

  • pius says:

    mine motherboard has been damaged please help me to get it spare part so i can use it again.

  • ndulue ebube says:

    how about the gaming capabilities. can it run games like call of duty or others because i love games. please reply

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