I’ve got a brother going off to college this year. He’s got $500 budget and asked me for help in finding a good school laptop. He’d been out of the country for a couple of years and thus didn’t really have an idea of what he wanted or needed. Having purchased a laptop in the last year, I’d looked around quite a bit and had a pretty good idea of what he should look for.
What Every College Student Needs in a Laptop
While some college students may need a good gaming laptop for their program or needs, most college students simply need a lightweight laptop that’s functional with a long battery life. Another thing I’d highly recommend is a solid state drive. This is something I can’t live without in my desktop computer and is certainly something I wouldn’t go without in a laptop.
Looking around for a laptop that would give my brother the most value for the least amount of money I stumbled upon Acer’s E15 and specifically model E5-575G-53VG. Whereas previous years I’d have recommended going through his school site for a college student discount, this year this laptop is better than any deal he could’ve gotten. If you’re wondering if this laptop is a good as it’s specs, here’s my thoughts on it.
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG Review
As I mentioned previously I wanted to find a laptop with an extremely long battery life. Specifically, I wanted to find something he could move around campus all day with and still come home with a bit of a charge on. The Aspire E 15 advertises up to a 12-hour battery life and delivers on that with casual browsing or programs.
The $550 version of this laptop comes with an i5-6200U 2.8GHz processor while the $700 version comes with an i7-6500 3.1GHz processor. As neither one of these are H processors they both have 2 cores. So, the difference in performance between these processors should be fairly minimal. I’d recommend the i5.
If you’re a college student looking to do some light gaming or even run some photo editing programs, the E 15 even comes with a dedicated GTX 940MX graphics card with 2GB of DDR5 VRAM. I was able to run Overwatch with some ease as well as play other games. It’s perfect for the college student that wants to chill out and game when they come home from class and are finished with homework.
Solid State Drive:
This laptop comes with a 256GB solid state drive. This makes it feel snappy while opening basic programs or booting up. There’s additional room for another 2.5″ drive in the back if additional space is needed; however, this should be plenty for most college students.
If a laptop is too heavy, it’s likely that you’ll not carry it around as much. I remember buying a laptop when I was a student that weighed 12 pounds and really regretting it. The Aspire E15 is just around 5 pounds and easy enough to carry that you could throw it in a bag and carry it around all day.
Even though I love gaming I think I’d actually choose this rather than a heavier gaming laptop simply because I’d actually use it. That being said I do have a gaming rig at home so keep that in mind.
This laptop has all the memory it needs with 8GB of DDR4. With other laptops, you’ll find certain manufacturers cutting it short or charging more for 8GB. This is a definite plus for the Acer E15 E5-575G-53VG. If you ever feel like you need more, there is room for an additional 8GB upgrade.
The Acer E15 E5-575G-53VG comes with a 15″ 1080p screen that has brilliant colors. It’s not IPS, but it still looks fantastic.
On the left side, you’ll find 2USB 3.0, 1 xVGA, 1 xHDMI out, and ethernet while on the right side it has a USB 2.0 and a DVDmulti recorder.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
It’s nice that this particular model includes a backlit keyboard and a fairly responsive touchpad. Around the keyboard and touchpad is a brushed aluminum design which carries itself around to the back of the laptop which is plastic.
GTX 940MX Benchmarks
While Intel Skylake’s integrated GPU is fairly good it’s nice that this particular laptop comes with a dedicated GTX 940MX. This really helps it in gaming. I didn’t see many GTX 940 MX benchmarks on the internet so I thought I’d run through a few games for those of you who are interested. Keep in mind that this is done with this laptop using the i5-6200U processor.
|Game||Average FPS||Minimum FPS|
|Chivalry Medieval Warfare (1080p Medium)||57||47|
|Company of Heroes 2 (1366x768 Low Settings)||39||29|
|CS:GO (1080p Highest FXAA)||101||65|
|Diablo III (1080p Shadows Medium)||66||38|
|DOTA 2 (1080p High)||56||47|
|Fallout 4 (720p Medium)||37||28|
|Hearthstone (1080p Highest)||60||51|
|Killing Floor 2 (1080p Medium)||51||36|
|Overwatch (1080p Medium)||59||45|
|Portal 2 (1080p Max)||168||111|
|Rocket League (1080p Quality Settings)||65||53|
|Team Fortress 2 (1080p Ultra)||84||62|
|Trine 2 (1080p Very High)||52||46|
Overall, I’m more than impressed with the Acer E15 E5-575G-53VG and now understand why it’s been catapulted to the bestseller’s list. I have little to no complaints at this price point and it gets my full recommendation.