Intel Pentium B960 2.2GHz – 4GB RAM – 500GB HDD – Windows 8 64-bit
As with many Acer laptops this punches above its weight in terms of style and build quality. Despite costing around £320 at time of writing it has the feel of a circa £400-£450 price range laptop. Much nicer than the similar priced eMachines laptops which are actually owned by Acer but aimed at a lower end market.
The lid is an attractive modern glossy black and is durable and should clean easily with a cloth and some furniture polish when the time comes. Some laptops we have fond such as the HP 4510s Probook is almost too glossy and hard to clean properly without leaving marks.
The front size of the screen uses the same colours and sides are rounded to create a seemless look.
The build quality feels as sturdy as it can be for its price. That’s one of the main things you will notice when comparing a £350 laptop to one around £600 plus. The more expensive laptops will generally be built with more metal than plastic and the feel of opening and closing the lid will be more of a clunk than a click. Think of how a BMW door opens and closes compared to that of say a Ford Fiesta.
On a more positive note, it is nice and slim and easy to carry due to its lightness of 1.3KG despit having a very nicely sized 15.6” screen.
The 15.6” display offers 720p in High Definition in the 16:9 cinematic format and using the onboard HDMI port ups the 720p to 1080p when connected to your TV.
The colourful Windows 8 looks a treat on the E1-531. The colours are bright and vibrant, but then again what screen does’nt look good on Windows 8. Its like being in a sweet shop. We tried out the Sky Go app for just a few minutes over a fibre broadband connection to see how the colours shone through in full screen mode and found the images to be sharp.
We also tried a DVD of Monsters Inc to see the HD capabilities. While its no HP 8760w the clarity is pretty sweet and unless you have the eyesight of an eagle you’ll be more than satisfied.
Its also worth mentioning that the screen used LED as opposed to LCD-CCFL technology which in theory uses up to 30% less power.
While the E1-531 is more than powerful enough for web browsing, Skype, Youtube home cinema and spreadsheets don’t expect to it to be able to handle games.
We tried out Farcry and Assasins Creed and were forced to turn it off within seconds. For casual online internet games it will work just dandy but don’t try to push it beyond its limits. Playing games is one of the most intense exercises you will make a computer perform and too much of the wrong ones will cause the CPU fan to run high and hot. Unless you want a dead motherboard on your lap keep this for casual shopping, spreadsheet, entertainment use.
As HD webcam with zoom lens is built in with microphone. Acer Crystal Eye HD Webcam with Built-in Microphone.
The keyboard has quite a soft feel to the keys and if you were doing a lot of typing could get the sensation sometimes of not pressing down hard enough on the buttons. Perhaps this is just because I am used to a clunkier keyboard on my work desktop computer.
The touchpad is spacious and has rotating and scrolling features built in if you learn how to use them. This is very convenient for viewing and editing photos or large articles.
In conclusion, this is a nice looking laptop in terms of style and build quality. Also with its large 15.6” screen it certainly gives some of the over £400 priced laptops more than a run for their money. Just bare in mind if you enjoy your games then you will need to go for something more expensive like the HP Envy 17, great for watching home movies and casual internet games with its sharp HD 720p resolution and even higher if using the HDMI port.