Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Acer Aspire E 11 Laptop

After taking a look at the inner beauty that is the Dell Latitude E7240, now we turn to a latest Bay Trail laptop from Acer, the Aspire E 11. There is also a similar but better equipped V 11 model. The particular model we look at is Acer E3-111.

Bay Trail is the latest iteration of Intel Atom platform. However, its performance is dramatically better than previous generation Atoms. So generally speaking one shouldn't carry the image of slow netbooks of the past. Acer manages to make a fanless design with this notebook.

Bottom of Aspire E3-111, 13 screws to release bottom cover

Reveals SATA hard drive, battery and system board

SATA hard drive should be replaceable with SATA SSD. However note the hard drive is of 7mm thin 2.5" form factor. Also the SATA slot is attached to system board so it may require lifting system board (sigh). There is no mSATA slot in this laptop.

The battery is secured by two screws and plugs into the system board. It's not swappable but can be replaced by user with some care.

Two screws and unplug battery from system board

No SODIMM slot seen yet. The laptop does have one SODIMM slot, but unfortunately it is buried on the other side of the system board.

A couple more screws and disconnect cables on system board

One SODIMM on the other side of system board

It's clear that Acer does not intend users to upgrade RAM in the laptop. Acer doesn't even indicate whether it supports 8GB RAM or not in their spec sheet (update: Acer now indicates a max of 8GB RAM on both the dual-core and quad-core bay trail models). Given the uncertainty and troubles of accessing the SODIMM slot, the laptop wouldn't receive RAM upgrades from most users if any.

Gigabit Ethernet and 1 USB 3.0 are present. Rest USB ports are of USB 2.0.

Bottom Line:

Aser Aspire E 11 and V 11 are major upgrades from netbooks of the past. Fanless designs are appealing as well. Intel now supports up to 8GB RAM for Bay Trail processors, but Acer does not appear to want users take advantage of it.

Score Card:

Upgradability: 2/10
Serviceability: 3/10
Portability: 8/10
Connectivity: 7/10

Expected Service Life: 3 years

(Images courtesy of MyFixGuide)


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