CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test computers

Acer Aspire 4710 review: Acer Aspire 4710

We recommend the Acer Aspire 4710 for home users who want a low-cost laptop for basic computing tasks.

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
6 min read
Acer Aspire 4710

Whenever someone asks us if you can really get a decent laptop for $600, we're going to offer up the Acer Aspire 4710 as evidence. Here you've got a thin-and-light laptop with an attractive, 14.1-inch display, a solid keyboard, and all the ports and connections a home user could need, for just $599. The catch, if you consider it one, is that inside the case you'll find a dual-core Pentium processor which, though it has multiple processing cores, isn't enough to keep up with Core Duo and Core 2 Duo systems. No one expects a cheap laptop to win any speed contests, though. Many home users just want a machine for checking e-mail, typing documents, and watching DVDs, so for those users, we recommend the Acer Aspire 4710.


Acer Aspire 4710

The Good

Very low price; dual-core processor; full feature set, including an ExpressCard slot and S/PDIF audio-out jack; comfortable keyboard; easy-to-use system management software.

The Bad

Slow performance on outdated components; display wobbles easily; glossy screen finish results in distracting reflections; lacks external media controls.

The Bottom Line

We recommend the Acer Aspire 4710 for home users who want a low-cost laptop for basic computing tasks.

Price as reviewed/starting price $599
Processor 1.73GHz Intel Pentium dual-core T2080
Memory 1GB of 533MHz
Hard drive 120GB at 5,400rpm
Graphics Intel GMA 950 (integrated)
Chipset Mobile Intel 945GM Express
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Dimensions 13.5x9.4x1.3 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 14.1 inches
System weight/weight with AC adapter 5.6/6.4 pounds
Category Thiin-and-light

Like its larger and more-expensive sibling, the Aspire 5920, the Aspire 4710 features Acer's new Gemstone design, which includes a matte-black lid and a light-gray interior. The case's rounded corners and beveled edges give the laptop a soft look that, in this smaller form, reminds us of the original clamshell Mac iBooks. Despite its soft looks, the Aspire 4710 feels pretty solid, though the screen did wobble a bit on its hinges when we accidentally bumped our desk.

The Aspire 4710's display is great for watching movies and working with images, thanks to its sharp 1,280x800 native resolution. Though not a deal-breaker, it's worth noting that colors tended to look particularly washed out at the highest brightness level. Also, the screen's glossy finish is among the more reflective ones that we've seen lately; the reflections were manageable in a typical office environment but intolerable when we were seated with our backs to an outside window. While higher-end configurations of the Aspire 4710 include a Webcam in the display bezel, the baseline configuration we reviewed does not.

We enjoyed typing on the Acer Aspire 4710's sturdy, full-size keyboard. The keys provided plenty of travel and were remarkably quiet. Our palms did frequently graze the laptop's touch pad while typing, but the sensitivity of the pad was such that doing so did not misplace the cursor. Between the two standard mouse buttons sits a four-way scroll key that's particularly handy for reading Web pages and scrolling through long documents. A vertical row of controls on the left side of the keyboard include a convenient Wi-Fi on/off button as well as two programmable application-launch buttons that default to the Web browser and e-mail. The last button in the row is designed to turn the Bluetooth radio on and off; pressing it on this budget configuration only calls up a message declaring "No Bluetooth device." Given the Aspire 4710's movie-friendly display we wish Acer had found room on the keyboard deck for media controls; volume is controlled by a wheel on the laptop's front edge. Above the keyboard, next to the Dolby surround speakers, sits the triangular Empower key, which launches a suite of utilities for managing battery life, network, and sound settings. We loved having quick access to this information and enjoyed the design of the Empower suite, which looks very much like the Dashboard in Mac OS X.

  Acer Aspire 4710 Average for thin-and-light category
Video VGA-out, S-Video VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Dolby surround speakers, headphone/microphone jacks, S/PDIF out Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data Four USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire, and a multiformat memory card reader Three USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire, and a multiformat memory card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54 slot PC Card or ExpressCard slot
Networking Modem, Ethernet, 802.11g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth Modem, Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

We expected the Aspire 4710's low price to come from small economies on its features, but Acer has packed the laptop with all the ports and connections you'd expect on a thin-and-light laptop, including an ExpressCard/54 slot that should make it easy to add WWAN or a TV tuner. There are also two USB ports on each side of the laptop's base, which makes it easier to plug in lots of peripherals without getting cords tangled. The sound on the built-in Dolby digital speakers was decent, if a little tinny at high volumes; fortunately the S/PDIF audio-out jack lets you connect the Aspire 4710 to external stereo speakers for better sound quality. We like that Acer provides a software tool to quickly choose among multiple sound settings (music, movies, and games) so you get the best sound possible.

With all these great features, the Aspire 4710 achieves its remarkably low $599 price in part by incorporating a budget dual-core Pentium processor (built on the Pentium architecture rather than the Core architecture that's been the standard for more than 18 months) and a single gigabyte of slow, 533MHz RAM. It was no surprise, then, that the laptop displayed pokey performance on CNET Labs' benchmark tests, falling in line with another Pentium dual-core system, the $999 Toshiba Satellite P205-S6237. What surprised us was that the Aspire 4710's performance came close to matching that of the $899 Gateway T-6815, which included a more recent (but still not latest-generation) 1.5GHz Core 2 Duo T5250 processor. In addition, the Aspire 4710 performed well beyond the single-core Celeron processor found on Gateway's budget system, the $699 NX270S, and light years ahead of the $498 Celeron-based Everex StepNote VA4101M. That's not to say that the Aspire 4710 will set any speed records; in fact, it will feel sluggish to anyone accustomed to Core 2 Duo-based systems. But for the money, it's definitely speedy enough for the productivity programs, media playback, and Web surfing that constitute most home computer use.

The Aspire 4710's battery held out for 1 hour, 59 minutes on our taxing DVD drain test; the Gateway T-6815, by comparison, dropped out just four minutes earlier. While we always welcome lengthier battery life, we consider the two-hour mark within the acceptable range for a thin-and-light laptop. Of course you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and productivity work.

Acer backs the 4710 with an industry-standard, one-year parts-and-labor warranty. Adding two years of additional coverage runs $99. Telephone support is toll-free, and runs Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., CT. On Acer's support Web site users will find an e-mail form, some basic FAQs, and driver downloads.

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  
Acer Aspire 4710-2013

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  
Acer Aspire 4710-2013

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  
Acer Aspire 4710-2013

DVD battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
In minutes  
Acer Aspire 4710-2013

System configurations:

Acer Aspire 4710-2013
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.73GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T2080; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 224MB Mobile Intel 945GM Express; 120GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Enpower ENP660
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Mobile Intel 965GM; 120GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Gateway T-6815
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Tecra A6-EZ6411
Windows Vista Business; 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5600; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Nvidia Quadro NVS110M; 80GB Hitachi 5,400rpm Serial ATA/150


Acer Aspire 4710

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Battery 5Support 5