Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 review: Simple Win 8 laptop for simple needs

The Aspire E series is available in several configurations, which includes Windows 7 models starting around the $360 mark. The configuration for the Aspire E1-572-6870 is certainly a good deal and worth the extra $100.

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The Aspire E1-572-6870 has the essential ports and connections that most people will need. It's nice that Acer didn't drop Bluetooth or an SD card slot to save a few bucks and even included Gigabit Ethernet.

As for performance, this configuration probably isn't going to blow you away. However, if you're coming from a laptop that you paid about the same amount for a few years ago, this should be an all-around improvement. It did well on our performance benchmarks, but compared with other, more expensive systems running this processor and integrated graphics paired with better surrounding components, it's definitely slower.

The key question is: does it matter for your needs? For general everyday tasks like Web surfing, word processing, e-mail, streaming music or video, or editing JPEG photos, it's sufficient. In anecdotal testing, applications launched with reasonable load times and files weren't noticeably slow to open. It can play casual games, but more complex games will need to be turned to lower settings to get playable frame rates. Running several things at once might drag the system down some, but that's not out of the ordinary. Basically, it can handle some demanding tasks, it's just a matter of how long you're willing to wait for them to finish.

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The big benefit we've seen from having a fourth-gen Intel Core i5 processor hasn't been performance, though, it's been battery life. And that's probably the biggest disappointment here. On our video playback battery drain test, the Aspire E1-572-6870 died at 3 hours and 16 minutes.

With some power management and a less-demanding workload, you should be able to reach the 4 hours of life Acer claims for the laptop. I wouldn't expect much more than that unless you're really not doing much more than typing on a dimmed display. Having the power-efficient Haswell processor probably helps in general, but when the surrounding components aren't as efficient, well, you end up with barely more than 3 hours of battery life.

Getting a 15.6-inch laptop for less than $500 with a battery life up to 4 hours is a pretty good deal and that's what you get with the Acer Aspire E1-572-6870. Having the Intel Haswell processor at this price is a nice touch, but the rest of the Aspire E1 is decidedly entry-level, making it only a good value if you just need a nice laptop for everyday tasks.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Handbrake MMT
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

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

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

Sony Vaio Fit SVF14A15CXB Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 3427; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 750GB Toshiba 5400rpm 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