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Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844 review: Better graphics, budget laptop

Don't want to pay a lot for your Windows 8 laptop? Still crave some better-than-integrated graphics? Acer has something for you, but you'll have to give up a touch screen and live with a lower-res screen.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
5 min read

Why hello, 2014. Computer shoppers, I have some bad news: some of the products you see out there will feel like they came from 2011. Maybe that's because some of the biggest changes in electronics are happening in phones and things that go in your pocket. Alas, poor budget Windows laptop: you're stuck in time.


Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844

The Good

The <b>Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844</b> has a good combination of processor, RAM, and Nvidia graphics for its price, and all the legacy ports you've always dreamed of (Ethernet, VGA).

The Bad

Non-touch, lower-res display, plastic chassis and unresponsive touchpad all feel low-end; graphics aren't good enough to satisfy serious gamers.

The Bottom Line

Acer's variation on the budget E1-472G Aspire laptop has good guts but an underwhelming exterior and design, and also lacks a touch screen. Nvidia graphics add a boost.

The Acer Aspire E1-472G is a laptop I'm sure I've seen before somewhere. The deja vu occurred the moment I first snapped open its plastic lid. This the big-boned budget laptop, packed with capable but generic specs, ready to serve you decently, but not impressively. It's harder to accept than ever. The one new addition? The latest entry-level Nvidia GeForce 820M graphics, which are better than you'd otherwise get. It's a shame they're stuck in a laptop that feels so low-rent in design and comfort.

But, here's the good news: it's a fair deal for what you get, and with a little extra boost from new entry-level Nvidia graphics that debuted very recently, there's a whiff of something fresh. But these graphics aren't really good enough for serious gamers -- so don't get too excited. You're also paying $100 extra for those graphics, plus RAM. Do you need them?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite
Price $599 $999 $799
Display size/resolution 14-inch, 1,366x768 screen14-inch, 1,366x768 touch screen13.3-inch, 1,366x768 touch screen
PC CPU 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U1GHz AMD A4 Quad-Core
Graphics 2048MB Nvidia Geforce 820M1792MB Intel Graphics 4400512MB AMD Radeon HD 8250
Storage 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive128GB SSD hard drive128GB SSD hard drive
Optical drive NoneNoneNone
Networking 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 8.1 (64-bit)Windows 8 (64-bit)Windows 8 (64-bit)

Design: Functional, generic

Black plastic underneath and a white, glossy lid and keyboard deck design with silver stippled dots give this laptop a generic feel. It's the type of plastic that feels entry-level. This Acer E1's not unattractive, but it's yet another variant on what we've seen before. It's basically the same as the E1 series from last fall (we reviewed a 15-inch version back then).

Windows 8 attempted to transform PCs, but the host is partially rejecting the graft. Lots of "old-fashioned" PCs are still out there, and this Aspire is a classic example. There's no touchscreen. There's no click pad. The chassis feels like any other generic laptop. You make your way around using this Aspire the old-fashioned way, with keyboard and trackpad.

The keyboard, which is plenty wide, feels cheaper than other laptops. So does the matte plastic trackpad, which doesn't have click-- you'll have to use the click bar beneath instead. Off-edge finger gestures to bring up the Charm Bar, for instance, don't work smoothly.

The display, with its lower resolution and worse-than-average picture quality and viewing angles, just isn't good. You get what you pay for, but actually, at $599, I'd expect a little more.

Speakers that fire out of grilles in the bottom are loud enough, fine for everyday use. A door on the laptop's bottom lets you swap your own battery, but this 14-inch Acer doesn't have an easy-open door for hard drive/RAM swapping like the 15-inch E1 did.

Sarah Tew/CNET
Performance: Boosted graphics, extra RAM

In terms of raw under-the-hood specs, you get a fair amount of PC here: 8GB of RAM, a decent ultrabook-level Intel Core i5 processor, and 500GB hard drive. An extra Nvidia GeForce 820M graphics processor with 2GB of VRAM is this particular Acer config's main calling-card feature, since it's part of Nvidia's new graphics line.

The Haswell Intel Core i5-4200U processor matches what we saw last year on the Acer Aspire E1 572-6870, and is the type of ultrabook-level CPU that's cropped up on a lot of laptops, including some priced much higher. It performs well, and is a no-compromise solution for a PC shopper looking for a solid no-frills upgrade on a years-old machine. It's a great CPU for a budget starter laptop, and it's definitely better than some budget processors we've seen horned into other laptops at this level.

Now, about those Nvidia graphics: how good are they, and are they worth getting this Acer for? You can choose an Acer Aspire E1 with otherwise identical specs, half the RAM, and no Nvidia graphics (just Intel integrated) for $499. That extra $100 buys 4GB of extra RAM and boosted graphics...again, not a bad deal.

We were able to run BioShock Infinite with UltraDX11 at 16.5 frames per second and at Medium settings at 28.9 fps, on an admittedly low-res display. That's still good enough that you could consider this an adequate way to play mainstream games, if you really hold back your expectations. BioShock Infinite played fine, with some screen tearing, while older games like Left 4 Dead 2 played very smoothly. We ran this Acer with Nvidia graphics turned off, and the built-in Intel integrated graphics performed at about half the frame rate. So, yes, these particular Nvidia graphics seem worth it...just don't expect the type of gaming boost you'd get from Nvidia's higher-end GPUs.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This Acer covers its bases on ports and connections. There's an SD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. You also get an Ethernet port, HDMI, USB 2 and 3, and -- why not? -- VGA. What looks like a DVD drive door on the right side appears glued shut, a vestigial non-feature. On the left side, vents push out some heat when the Aspire starts getting taxed.

Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844

Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None

Battery life: Passable

Battery life on our tests held up for 4 hours 18 minutes, a completely mediocre and unimpressive result. I'd expect six hours or more. But, for a budget laptop, it's not bad...unless you consider something like the Asus Transformer Book T100, which is a smaller, less powerful laptop, but gets far better battery life. And, it costs less (and has touch).

Good value, unimpressive design

This Acer is fine for a basic starter laptop. But don't expect more. If you really care about graphics on a laptop, spend up a bit. If you want a completely bare-bones laptop, spend down. I wouldn't straddle the line. Acer's addition of Nvidia graphics into this laptop just amounts to a tease. I'd rather have a better-feeling computer that did a little less than cram more performance into a body and screen that make it awfully hard to appreciate.

Handbrake Multimedia test (in seconds)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 594Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844 596Acer Aspire E1 572-6870 691Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 1310
Note: Shorter bars indicate better performance

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 254Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844 269Acer Aspire E1 572-6870 337Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 674
Note: Shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 124Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844 150Acer Aspire E1 572-6870 151Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 367
Note: Shorter bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 429Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 307Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844 258Acer Aspire E1 572-6870 196
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations

Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2048MB Nvidia Geforce 820M; 500GB 5400rpm Seagate hard drive

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14

Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1792MB Intel HD Graphics 4400; 128GB Samsung SSD

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite

Windows 8 (64-bit) 1GHz AMD A4 Quad-Core; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8250; 128GB Samsung SSD

Acer Aspire E1 572-6870

Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive


Acer Aspire E1-472G-6844

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 8Battery 6