CeBIT 2007: Review Acer Aspire 5114WLMi Notebook
Multimedia for Everyone. Among other Acer notebooks which were exhibited at the CeBIT, we would also like to present the Aspire 5114 to you. The Aspire 5114 is basically interesting, because it provides multimedia equipment, is fit for current games and this all for an absolutely low price - a mobile Core 2 Duo processor and an ATI X1600 video card just under 1000.- Euro.
This review is a summary of tests done on-site. We ask for some understanding that some of the measurements could, therefore, not be done.
The Aspire 5114WLMi's case is the well-known Acer case, which is basically used for all notebooks of the Aspire 5000s series. This type of case is wide-spread, basically, because Acer wants to have its notebooks placed on the multimedia segment, which plays an import role, and on the other hand because the design pleases the eyes. E.g. the Die Aspire 5600 series comes with the same case than the 5114. Simple geometric forms and well-placed curves is what most of the customers seem to like.
The quality of case is in our opinion not really the most important reason for the wide spreading and the success of this design. Even at the first glance the first the first inexplicable weakness gets obvious: Above the keyboard there is a gap across the whole notebook. The problem is that this is not only for the eyes, instead the parts of the case are really separated from each other.
Therefore, if you, e.g., apply bending forces in order to adjust the position of the display by moving the hinges, these can hardly be absorbed by the whole case and you can observe clear deflections in the region of the cut. To be fair, we have to mentioned, that this issue has been improved compared to older model, however, in principal the problem resists.
Furthermore, the moderate flexural rigidity of the base unit and the poor pressure resistance at some parts have to be criticized. Especially these should be definitely be improved at the display or more precisely at the display cover.
In general the Aspire 5114 should be, therefore, more or less be used as desktop notebook, whilst it should be avoided to expose it to extraordinary stress or force. If you treat your notebook carefully, the above mentioned weaknesses are put into perspective and should not cause any problems. In case you are planing an intensively mobile use this notebook, you should maybe reconsider buying it.
The order of the ports of Aspire 5114 is again typical Acer: The audio ports are in the middle of the front edge, the right side keeps the card reader, and the card slots, and the backside keeps most of the ports, among others fortunately a DVI port. Besides the audio-ports at the front, this order seems to be rather reasonable.
The keyboard seems to be rather dense, because it is only slightly structured. However, the big keys make a comfortable use possible. The travel seems to be somewhat short, if you type, however, we could not observe any annoying rattling.
Furthermore, we observed that the right upper part of the keyboard unit does not have a stable support plate, so the keyboard heavily deflects under pressure. We think, that this stems from missing support points or struts above the DVD drive, which is placed in this region.
The touch pad is excellent in use, and pleased us by good and precise response, and a comfortable surface. The touch pad buttons were too easy to use. Maybe you might need to first get used to the 4-way button in its center.
The Acer Aspire 5114WLMi is equipped with a 1280x800 Acer CrystalBrite TFT display. The reflecting surfaces contributes to a good subjective contrast and a good brightness.
Horizontally, the stability to the vantage point is limited by reflections at too acute angles. Vertically, the usual darkening and lightening can soon be observed.
The Aspire 5114 is equipped with an AMD Turion 64 X2 CPU with a clock rate of 1.8 GHz and a L2 Cache of 1MB (TL-56). An ATI X1600 video card with 128MB video ram, which can be enhanced to provide up to 512MB by hypermemory, is the provided graphical solution. Furthermore, 1GB memory and a 160GB hard disk are provided. Considering a price of hardly 1000.- Euro, this is more than adequate.
Still you should consider a memory upgrade, because using Windows Vista and a video card with hypermemory will quickly use it all up, so that the available memory could easily become the bottle neck regarding performance. So: A GB more can not do any harm...
The performance of this notebook is sufficient for current Windows and office applications as well as for current games, which should run without problems, if you adapt the resolutions, and the level of details. However, it's yet a long way from the Aspire 5114 to a top notebook.
The temperature of the upper side as well as of the bottom was on-site (idle mode) clearly increased, but yet alright. Thereby, the left side got slightly warmer than the right side.
Most of the time the fan was deactivated during idle mode. Under load it started to run, but its noise emissions were rather decent.
This notebook is equipped with a 4800 mAh 8-Zellen lithium ions battery, which should be able to provide 2 up to 3 hours unplugged use, depending on the chosen energy profile.
The Acer Aspire 5114 has some weaknesses regarding case robustness and workmanship. Therefore, and because of an only moderate stability to the vantage point of the display the mobile use is rather limited.
The input devices are besides some trifles alright and can be used without problems.
So, the Aspire 5114 is a only partly mobile desktop notebook, which can be used to play some games every now and then, whereby the price is clearly the most important aspect.