Poor Acer. Nothing about the Aspire E-15 (model number E5-573-516D) that Acer sent us is wrong. Literally nothing at all. It's a perfectly good machine.
The problem? It's almost exactly the same machine as the Toshiba C55-C we took a look at--only marginally worse. And it costs fifty dollars more. It's the America's Got Talent to Toshiba's American Idol. It's the Ken to Toshiba's Ryu. It's the Mr. Pibb to Toshiba's Dr Pepper--and don't you dare tell me you "enjoy Mr. Pibb more."
Okay, if you are one of those weirdos that prefers Mr. Pibb maybe you're also someone who wants to spend more money to get less laptop. In that case, read on.
Like the C55-C, the Acer Aspire E-15 is a 15.6-inch laptop with a 1366x768 resolution screen. That 1366x768 resolution is standard at this $500 price point--literally every single laptop in this round-up used the same. If there's place where Acer edges out Toshiba though, it's the screen. The viewing angles are a bit wider, the colors a bit more vivid, the backlight a bit brighter. Not a lot, mind you, but it's enough to be worth mentioning.
Oh, and it's built better. The lid on the Toshiba C55-C feels like you might rip it right off the hinges or bend it in half if you're not careful. The E-15 is sturdier and can take some punishment, though the screen still flexes more than I'd like.
Aside from that, the E-15 casing is pretty damn similar to the Toshiba, down to the same faux-brushed metal look on the lid. The E-15 does opt for a two-tone design though--black on the outside, grey on the inside.
The keyboard is your standard, mushy (cheap) laptop keyboard--with one exception. All the keys are, as far as I can tell, ever-so-slightly concave. Or at least that's what my fingers are telling me, even though the keys look flat. It's a bit weird.
The trackpad is a mixed bag. It's more precise than most of the other trackpads in this round-up, which is great. There's nothing more frustrating than fighting against the trackpad when you're trying to move the mouse. But Acer's also following the trend of eschewing physical mouse buttons in favor of clicking the trackpad itself. The E-15's trackpad is loud, and not just when you click--tap-to-click causes the trackpad to quack/rattle in a distinctly unpleasant way.
And one more obnoxious choice: The E-15's speakers are on the bottom, towards the front corners. Placing the laptop on any soft surface (like, you know, your lap) immediately muffles and distorts the already-not-great audio, and cuts the volume practically in half.
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