- Build quality, Case and design and looks
- Keyboard and Trackpad
- Sound and Speakers
- General subjective performance experience
- Gaming Performance
- Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling
- Screen / Screen quality
- Competing gaming laptops / alternatives
++ Main reason to consider:
Best 3D performance under $500 for a new laptop with the extra value of 1TB SSHD, 8GB RAM and 802.11ac wifi card.
-- Main reason to avoid:
Rather low performance in demanding games and much better refurbished options.
+ Very good thermals, CPU almost at full speed
+ Case gets hot only slightly, doesn't get annoying
+ 1TB SSHD is a good storage option, deliver good boot/loading times, good common performance
+ 8GB RAM
+ 802.11ac wifi card (Qualcom QCA9377)
+ Empty ODD bay, can house another storage device
+ Quite quiet even under load
+ Rather good power efficiency allows for at least 4-4.5 hours of normal use and almost 7 hours at low use
+ Display is rather easily replaced. Good alternatives available.
- Low quality TN 768p display
- Low quality keyboard with slightly uncomfortable layout. Non backlit.
- Mediocre at best speakers
- Narrow selection of connection ports (2xUSB 3.0, no DisplayPort)
- No mSata/M.2 slots for future storage components
- Small battery results in only 4-5 hours of normal use (though it has high efficiency)
Welcome to the Acer E5-573G Review. This is Acer’s new cheap low end gaming model. It sports a good combination of basic features – I5-5200U CPU, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GT 940M 2GB DDR3, 1TB SSHD, 802.11ac wifi card.
The E5-573G is interesting because of the value it offers for its price point which is usually $470 new (Newegg, Amazon), and will probably get lower. Competitors under $500-$550 do not offer as much usually. The New HP Envy 15z with coupons and all can sometimes be found for around the same price with AMD Carrizo FX-8800P APU, but we need some good reviews to know how it is really.
Anyway, let’s see if indeed the E5-573G is good enough for such a price, except for delivering good 3D performance.
|Model||Acer Aspire E 15 E5-573G-59C3|
|Price||Basic version: ~$470-$500 (Newegg)|
|CPU||I5-5200U (2.2GHZ-2.7GHZ, 15W)|
|GPU||Nvidia Geforce GTX 940M 2GB DDR3, GM108 (Maxwell I), 384 shaders, core@1072MHZ, DDR3@1176MHZ, 64-bit bus|
|Motherboard Chipset||Intel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Premium), Acer ZORO_BH|
|RAM||Hynix 1x8GB DDR3@1600MHZ |
2 banks of memory available, totally
|Storage||HDD : Seagate ST1000LM014-1EJ164|
SSHD, 5400RPM, 32MB cache
|LCD Panel||In review: 768p AUO B156XTN04.0 |
|Weight / Dimensions||2.4kg (~5.29 Lbs.), PSU around 300 grams|
381.5 x 256 x 29.2 mm
15.02" x 10.08" x 1.15" (highest)
(w x d x h)
|Keyboard||Standard, no backlit|
|Connection Ports||Left: 2XUSB 3.0, VGA, 1xHDMI. RJ-45, 1xLexington key, audio out|
Right side: 1xUSB 2.0, power-in, ODD slot (empty)
front: card reader
|WiFi / Ethernet||WiFi: Atheros QCA9377 802.11ac|
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
|Speakers / Audio||2.0 speakers|
|Bios / EC version (test unit)||1.13 / 1.4|
The E5-573G build quality can be considered reasonable and even good for such a price range and considering the competitors. There is almost no flex under light pressure with keyboard surface being firm. Hinges are ok (though, as said in other reviews, I don’t really know how to test it). Screen’s outer lid is also ok in terms of sturdiness. The bottom can be a bit soft when trying to pull it out, but it’s ok.
Acer did some work with the E5-573G. The outer lid has a brushed surface looks which are nice and the working surface as some nice texture to it. Personally I don’t like this specific matte white color and combination of colors. Also, the E5 still looks rather cheapish to me, even though Acer did some effort. Anyway, nothing too bad.
Maintenance and inner parts
Opening the back panel requires removing something like 15 screws and using some card or knife to pull the bottom plate as it’s not easy with just bare hands. Discovered are two memory slots (one empty in this case), 2.5″ bay, empty ODD bay, Wifi card.
One fan is taking care of the heat and as we’ll see, it’s more than enough even at highest load. Both CPU and GPU are connected to one rather big heatpipe.
In terms of inner components quality – I hear some small fast beeps constantly. I don’t know if it means some electrical overload. It sounds to me like it comes from around the Wifi or GPU or CPU area. It’s not the first time I hear such a thing in a laptop, but I don’t like it.
Connection ports 2xUSB 3.0 + USB 2.0, HDMI and VGA, Lexington Key. Nothing special. No USB 3.1. More USB 3.0 should have been implemented.
Keyboard. Not very good. Spacing betweeng keys is good and some keys have good feedback, but mostly the feedback/resistance and travel depth are not good. I didn’t really enjoy using it and didn’t get used to this keyboard. The experience is also not uniform accross all keys – some keys have a better feedback, but not a lot better. The keyboard surface is firm, however – at least that. I don’t know why Acer couldn’t invest another $5-10 for a good keyboard.
Also, the UP/Right/Down/Left keys are in a strange layout and not a very comfortable one. A power button is located at the top right of the numpad pad, which may cause annoying mistakes for some.
Touchpad. Multitouch and relatively smooth and nice to use, but not great. It is big, which is good.
Nothing to wait for. Really, two tiny speakers located at the front bottom of the laptop, providing almost no bass and mediocre mids and lows at best with sound smashed all over and boxy. Nothing to really add.
The 1TB SSHD that comes with the Acer E5-573G is an excellent component and the difference is felt – boot times and loading stuff are faster, just give it few rounds before you judge. The E5-573G is relatively very fast and most people should be happy with it.
Here are GPU-Z and CPU-Z screenshots
OS is Windows 8.1 fully updated and drivers in use are the Nvidia 353.30. All games were tested on 768p resolution and I’m sorry for no 1080p tests, I just don’t have an 1080p external monitor.
3DMark performance – link to source:
Benchmarks are all for 768p resolution with varying graphics settings. Highest settings, unless otherwise stated:
A performance level that is sufficient for low-mid graphics settings can be expected.
I didn’t test the lowest settings available, but even at medium graphics settings, Thief is too much. It’s playable ofcourse, but probably the lowest settings would be better in this case.
Don’t take hard the minimal FPSs – this is mainly due to the benchmark internal testing problem.
Bioshock Infinite is playable on low-medium settings.
FPSs for Civilization : Beyond Earth are not high, but remember that this is not an FPS game and fast response is not required.
The new iteration of Total War : Rome II, Attila is a much more demanding game and FPSs are much lower.
Barely playable, but at lowest settings it is playable.
The new version of Dota 2, still in beta stage. Dota 2 Reborn is built on the new Source 2 3D Engine which also compatible with the Vulkan API (OpenGL DX12 alternative).
Performance is very good.
Both CPU and GPU are connected to one heatpipe. Cool air sucked from the left bottom of the machine and is thrown from th rear ventilation holes.
1. Idle, power saver mode
2. Gaming : Crysis 3 gameplay. “Low” settings with SMAAx2 For Crysis 3, “High performance” power mode.
3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.
4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1280×720 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.
The CPU and GPU under full load do get hot, but getting too hot. Also, while gaming, the temps are quite good.
The bottom of the E5-573G remains at fairly reasonable temps, though it does get warmer. Palm rests also get warm but not to a point where it becomes annoying (for me, at least). Same goes for the keyboard, with even lower temps.
I’d say that it’s not perfect, but many higher priced laptops get hotter than that. And, since it does not get too hot, in my opinion, it should be considered good thermal handling.
As usual with the U CPUs, they are limited by their 15W TDP limitation. In this case, the TDP/thermal performance is pretty good with th I5-5200U succeeding in keeping 2.4GHZ which is almost its maximal frequency and above its base 2.2GHZ. Pretty good.
Even under highest load, the E5-573G noise level is quite low – nothing near annoying and barely interferes with Music, for example. Under light load or near idling, the noise levels are very low.
The AUO B156XTN04.0 is medicore TN panel display with low stated viewing angles and relatively bad colors. Horizontally, viewing angles are not good, but not that worst ever, but vertically they are worse (check pictures).
Brightness and contrast are also low and you’d probably want to replace the display. Well, owners will be glad to hear that it’s not hard to replace the E5-573G display. It’s quite easy to open the display front bezel (again, use some plastic card), disconnect the eDP cable, remove the screws and replace it. A good 1080p IPS screen like the B156HAN01.2 (link) or a 768p IPS display like the LP156WHA-SPA1 (link to for purchase) are good options. I’d probably go with the 768p one for gamers, as the 940M won’t make it with 1080p resolution, except for low graphics settings and sometimes medium graphics settings in some less 3D demanding games like LoL.
The E5-573G comes with a 37Wh battery which is pretty small. However, the good efficiency results in reasonable battery running times of something between 4.5 hours and 7 hours, depending on the use. We are talking here 5.5-8.5W under balanced mode, doing stuff, browsing the web.
Well, options are not many in this price range. The laptops that can beat this offer are mainly refurbished/used laptops for $500-$700. But under $500 it’s a pretty solid option. I think it won’t remain like that for long though, as AMD Carrizo is on the doorsteps with HP already offering it in their Envy 15z:
- HP Envy 15z. Not long ago could be bought for less than $500 with AMD’s new FX-8800P which is the Carrizo top model. Still no good info about it, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Other models that would probably come from other manufacturers like Dell.
Well. The E5-573G does deliver some punch for less than $500 (current price is $470). It’s the fastest for 3D/gaming under $500 and even $550 or as fast as others, if only new laptops are considered, but it costs less. It also comes with 1TB SSHD which is much better than the usual crappy 5400RPM 500-1000GB HDD. Add to that 8GB of RAM and a 802.11ac wifi card. This is currently unbeatable.
Moreover, heat and throttling are not a real issue here. Yes, the case does get a little warm, but nothing too bad, even at these hot summer days.
Few drawbacks. The screen is mediocre and uninspiring. Connection ports variety is small and keyboard is pretty awful. The screen, though, can be rather easily replaced and good 768p IPS displays are available for like $50 with 3 years warranty. Good 1080p IPS display for $80-$100. Remember that though some other laptops come with some 1080p TN panel for $550-$600, it’s not a good display and also, it really kills the gaming performance (native resolution).
The bigger problem, however, is that the E5-573G performance is rather low for a gamer, even though it’s the highest under $500. refurbished laptops are available for even as low as $500-$700 with much higher performance for gaming (like the Y50), and sometimes even new laptops. True, these are not too common, but almost no one is in hurry for this specific kind of laptop. The difference is something like x2.5-x3 in gaming performance on average with much higher minimal FPS and stability of frame rates and even more than that for good refurbished laptops. For example, the Dell Alienware 15 is available refurbished for $800 with 1 year warranty, GTX 965M, IPS, much better keyboard and more.
So, bottom line, if you are ok with the low 3D performance (compared to higher priced laptops) and/or you are really limited to this price (not that $500 is small money), then this is a good option. Games like League of Legends and Dota 2 will run well on such a machine. The ability to easily replace the display to an IPS for like $50-$80 is there and will make this laptop good for watching movies without being annoyed.