Notebookcheck

Acer Aspire E15 Start ES1-512-P1SM Notebook Review

Andreas Kilian, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 06/29/2015

A good "Start". A good "Start". Acer's entry-level office laptop with the somewhat bulky name Aspire E15 Start ES1-512-P1SM can score with a long battery life and useful keyboard among other things. However, is that enough to prevail over the multitude of equally low-priced competitors?

For the original German review, see here.

Despite its low purchase price of approximately 299 Euros (~$330), Acer's entry-level office laptop from the Aspire ES1-512 series is offered with pre-installed Windows 8.1. Although the Bing version is very economical for the manufacturer, there are equally no drawbacks for the customer. The only difference with the full edition is the preset Microsoft search engine, which the user can always change according to personal preferences. We have already tested the former ES1-511-C50C based on the Linux operating system. What qualities make the new device different from its low-cost rivals? What improvements has the series made with the model change? Our report answers these questions.

The laptop finds many 15.6-inch competitors in the 300 Euros (~$330) price range. For example, HP's 350 G1 and Asus' X551MAV-SX391B  are both delivered with Intel processors. However, devices equipped with AMD APUs are often found in the entry-level office sector. In addition to Lenovo's G50-45, we would mention the slightly more expensive in-house rival, Acer's Aspire E5-521.

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Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM (Aspire E15 E5 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Core: 313 - 896 MHz, 10.18.10.3574
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3L-1333, single-channel, one memory bank (filled)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, AUO47EC / B156XW004.7, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Bay Trail Host Bridge
Storage
Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 424 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Valleyview SoC - HD Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: SD card reader
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Atheros Communications AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8HC
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 26.1 x 381.6 x 258 ( = 1.03 x 15.02 x 10.16 in)
Battery
37 Wh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 7 h
Operating System
Windows 8.1 (64 Bit) + Bing
Camera
Webcam: 0.3MP (VGA)
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.21 kg ( = 77.96 oz / 4.87 pounds), Power Supply: 280 g ( = 9.88 oz / 0.62 pounds)
Price
299 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Gap at the touchpad's front edge
Gap at the touchpad's front edge

The casing is made entirely of black, matte plastic. However, the display lid and the wrist rest both feature a decorative tactile pattern. In everyday use, the device made a robust impression, although the areas near the DVD drive and below the touchpad yielded slightly under pressure. The stability of the lid and base could also be better, but such shortcomings are common in the laptop's price range. However, the positive aspects are the narrow, even gaps and the surfaces' pleasant feel. A larger gap was only noticed at the front edge of the touchpad, which suggests inaccurate fitting of the component. The display can be opened with one hand and only rocks for a moment.

The device does not have a maintenance cover, making upgrading or replacing the battery complicated. To access the installed components, the user will have to first release the screws on the underside before separating the base unit's upper side from the other half of the casing. However, two ribbon cables that connect both components make this undertaking difficult. In addition, the motherboard has to be taken out before the working memory module can be replaced.

Connectivity

Although the laptop's Wi-Fi module supports only the 2.4 GHz standard with a maximum of 150 Mbps, it still achieved this transmission rate at a distance of 10 meters (~33 ft) from the router and through 2 walls. Although the signal dropped to 2 bars, no delays were noticed while opening websites. The module also supports Bluetooth 4.0.

Acer's laptop comes with no more than the category standard interfaces. However, their positioning is rather unusual. Except for the card reader and one USB 2.0 port on the casing's left, all ports are incorporated on the back of the device. This can be advantageous for desktop use, although they are slightly more difficult to reach.

Left: Kensington Lock slot, USB 2.0, memory card reader
Left: Kensington Lock slot, USB 2.0, memory card reader
Right: DVD burner
Right: DVD burner
Front: No interfaces
Front: No interfaces
Rear: Power socket, combo audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet
Rear: Power socket, combo audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet

Input Devices

Keyboard

Unlike the former model, Acer's Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM has been equipped with a full-sized number pad. The lightly roughened, flat keys have a sufficient drop and clear stroke. Their typing noise is not too loud. The keyboard proved stable while typing on it; however, the casing yielded slightly under intentional, pinpoint pressure. Consequently, the keyboard should also be suitable for prolific writers.

Touchpad

The generously sized ClickPad (10.7 x 7.8 cm/~4.2 x 3 in), allows fingers to slide easily over the surface, facilitating common multi-touch gestures. The incorporated mechanical keys can be triggered without much effort, and their clear pressure points provide good feedback. Settings that go beyond the usual Windows standard are not available. Thus, the input device functions satisfactorily. However, sometimes it had problems detecting slight finger movements in the test, which led to a delayed response of the mouse cursor.

Input device's of Acer's Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Input device's of Acer's Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM

Display

The 15.6-inch screen in the Aspire ES1-512 has a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, common for this category. Other screen options are not offered, even for a surcharge ex-factory. Compared with the former Aspire ES1-511, the approximately 22% higher maximum brightness of 228 cd/m² in the new laptop is a positive feature. However, in battery mode it is reduced almost imperceptibly to the level of the older model. Although some competitors, such as HP's 350 G1 with a maximum of 250 cd/m², can serve with a slightly better brightness, the brightness can still be called appropriate for the price range. The relatively homogeneous illumination and the screen's matte surface is also compelling. The contrast of 356:1 and black level of 0.63 cd/m² are roughly on par with the rates of the comparison devices.

226
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
221
cd/m²
224
cd/m²
202
cd/m²
222
cd/m²
222
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AUO47EC / B156XW004.7
X-Rite i1 Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 228 cd/m² Average: 218.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 185 cd/m²
Contrast: 356:1 (Black: 0.63 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 11.81 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 12.93 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
60% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 38% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.17
Acer E15 vs. sRGB
Acer E15 vs. sRGB
Acer E15 vs. AdobeRGB
Acer E15 vs. AdobeRGB

With an average DeltaE 2000 shift of 11.81, the laptop reiterates class typical values, although the ideal range (DeltaE less than 3) is clearly missed. The screen also displays a significantly bluish cast in factory state, especially compared with other screens. As expected, it is not suitable for professional image editing due to the poor color space coverage rates of both AdobeRGB (38%) and sRGB (60%).

Asus' X551MAV is an exception in the comparison field. It is delivered with a preloaded color profile, and thus at least achieves a better color accuracy than many other devices from the same price range.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

The installed AUO TN screen does not achieve a good score in viewing angle stability. While only a clear brightness loss is seen when looking from the sides, the colors fade extremely vertically, and heavy inverting is noticed from below.

The screen's matte finish allows using the laptop in the outdoors. However, direct sunlight should be avoided to ensure the clearest possible view of contents.

Viewing angles: Acer E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Viewing angles: Acer E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Outdoors under cloudy conditions
Outdoors under cloudy conditions
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
1366x768px AUO-TN-Panel
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
1366x768px ChiMei-TN-Panel
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
1366x768px Samsung-TN-Panel
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
1366x768px ChiMei-TN-Panel
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
1366x768px LG-TN-Panel
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
1366x768px ChiMei-TN-Panel
Screen
Brightness middle
224
187
-17%
250
12%
221
-1%
227
1%
185
-17%
Brightness
219
169
-23%
234
7%
203
-7%
210
-4%
174
-21%
Brightness Distribution
89
80
-10%
88
-1%
85
-4%
87
-2%
85
-4%
Black Level *
0.63
0.39
38%
0.75
-19%
0.75
-19%
0.55
13%
0.64
-2%
Contrast
356
479
35%
333
-6%
295
-17%
413
16%
289
-19%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
11.81
9.73
18%
13.31
-13%
5.61
52%
11.12
6%
8.84
25%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
12.93
10.95
15%
13.24
-2%
6.55
49%
11.22
13%
11.04
15%
Gamma
2.17 101%
2.61 84%
2.48 89%
2.79 79%
2.12 104%
2.49 88%
CCT
14625 44%
12639 51%
15975 41%
8018 81%
12270 53%
10890 60%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
38
52
37%
33
-13%
52
37%
40
5%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
60
52
-13%

* ... smaller is better

Performance

Acer's Aspire ES1-512-P1SM is an affordable entry-level office laptop, and has enough power for Internet browsing, general word processing and watching videos. Our review sample is available for 299 Euros (~$330) in shops, but Acer also has many other configurations at different prices.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z SPD
HWiNFO64
LatencyMon

Processor

Intel's Pentium N3540 from the Bay Trail M platform powers the Aspire ES1-512-P1SM. Its four Silvermont cores clock at up to 2.66 GHz, but its base speed is lower at 2.16 GHz. The Atom chip introduced to the market mid 2014 has a TDP of 7.5 watts. The rivals with AMD's A6-6310 or Intel's Haswell ULV Pentium 3558U processor are specified with a TDP of 15 watts.

Twice as many execution units enable the Bay Trail Pentium to surpass the Haswell model in Cinebench R15. Thanks to the virtually consistent Turbo utilization, both the Celeron N2930 SoC in the former Aspire model and the dual-core processor in Asus' X551MAV are defeated. Then again, AMD's A6-6310 is on par with Intel's N3540. It is also interesting that the older Pentium N3540 clearly outperforms Intel's Atom x7-Z8700 based on the Bay Trail successor generation, Cherry Trail, in Microsoft's Surface 3. Whether this is due to the somewhat higher maximum clock or the TDP limitation of a passively cooled tablet will be seen in future laptop tests. However, a clear performance advantage of the new chip generation is not evident.

The single-core tests show a similar CPU ranking, although the Haswell-based Pentium 3558U ascends to the top of the test field owing to its very high single-core performance.

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
2546 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
6670 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
1960 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
2524
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
4750
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1379
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
6.78 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.92 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.5 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
6.54 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
157 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
42 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
42 Points ∼19%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
35 Points ∼16% -17%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
67 Points ∼31% +60%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
37 Points ∼17% -12%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
47 Points ∼22% +12%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
47 Points ∼22% +12%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
38 Points ∼17% -10%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
157 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
123 Points ∼3% -22%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
129 Points ∼3% -18%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
66 Points ∼2% -58%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
159 Points ∼4% +1%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
157 Points ∼4% 0%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
134 Points ∼3% -15%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
0.5 Points ∼20%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
0.41 Points ∼17% -18%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
0.74 Points ∼30% +48%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
0.43 Points ∼18% -14%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
0.56 Points ∼23% +12%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
0.57 Points ∼23% +14%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
0.46 Points ∼19% -8%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.92 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.58 Points ∼4% -18%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1.45 Points ∼3% -24%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
0.81 Points ∼2% -58%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.98 Points ∼4% +3%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
1.94 Points ∼4% +1%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1.79 Points ∼4% -7%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1960 Points ∼19%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2271 Points ∼22% +16%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
6670 Points ∼9%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
6743 Points ∼9% +1%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
3267 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2727 Points ∼3% -17%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2592 Points ∼3% -21%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
1557 Points ∼2% -52%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3564 Points ∼4% +9%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
3534 Points ∼4% +8%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
3300 Points ∼4% +1%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
988 Points ∼20%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
842 Points ∼17% -15%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1468 Points ∼30% +49%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
891 Points ∼18% -10%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1229 Points ∼25% +24%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
1244 Points ∼26% +26%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
970 Points ∼20% -2%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
303.3 ms * ∼3%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
378.6 ms * ∼4% -25%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
181.5 ms * ∼2% +40%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
339.6 ms * ∼4% -12%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
254.3 ms * ∼3% +16%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
6205.4 ms * ∼10%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
4079.5 ms * ∼7% +34%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
6278.9 ms * ∼11% -1%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
5052 Points ∼10%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
7963 Points ∼15% +58%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
5574 Points ∼11% +10%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
842 Points ∼14%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1793 Points ∼29% +113%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
1108 Points ∼18% +32%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

The scores from the PCMark 7 tools give an overview of the laptop's general performance. In addition to the processor's speed, the program focuses particularly on the performance of the installed storage device. Therefore, it is not very surprising that the combination of Intel's Atom CPU and the conventional hard drive achieves a below-average result. For example, HP's 350 G1 competitor achieves 21% higher scores because the installed Intel Pentium 3558U has a significantly higher single-core performance. It looks even better in Lenovo's IdeaPad G50-45 whose hybrid hard drive benefits from its SSD cache.

PCMark 7 Score
1750 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1750 Points ∼19%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2113 Points ∼23% +21%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2555 Points ∼28% +46%

Storage Device

The conventional hard drive with a capacity of 500 GB from Western Digital achieves typical rates for a model that spins with 5400 revolutions per minute in both CrystalDiskMark and HDTune. Lenovo's IdeaPad G50-45 that comes with an SSHD proves that more is possible even in this low price range.

Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Transfer Rate Minimum: 49.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 118.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 86.7 MB/s
Access Time: 17.9 ms
Burst Rate: 150.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.8 %

Graphics Card

The processor-integrated graphics core, Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), supports DirectX and is specified with a maximum clock of up to 896 MHz. However, the Aspire ES-512-P1SM does not completely utilize this headroom. The GPU reached a maximum speed of 860 MHz in the test. Therefore, it is not surprising that the 3DMark 11 and 3DMark (2013) benchmarks scores are on par with the slow Celeron chip in the tested precursor (max. GPU frequency: 854 MHz), although the rates at least remain stable in battery mode. The graphics unit integrated in the Haswell ULV Pentium 3558U CPU, and even more so the AMD competition achieve a considerably higher performance.

The comparison to the Bay Trail successor generation, Cherry Trail, is again interesting. Its integrated GPU is based on a newer graphics architecture. The HD Graphics (Cherry Trail) in the Surface 3 achieves a twice as high score in 3DMark 11 compared with the graphics core in the current Aspire ES-512. In contrast to the CPU's performance, clear progress is evident in this sector.

3DMark 11 Performance
268 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
17701 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
1444 points
Help
3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1444 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1467 Points ∼2% +2%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2426 Points ∼4% +68%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
1196 Points ∼2% -17%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2825 Points ∼5% +96%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
2853 Points ∼5% +98%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
17701 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
18953 Points ∼2% +7%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
27941 Points ∼3% +58%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
16076 Points ∼1% -9%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
31319 Points ∼3% +77%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
31626 Points ∼3% +79%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
268 Points ∼1%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
259 Points ∼1% -3%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
574 Points ∼2% +114%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
227 Points ∼1% -15%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
795 Points ∼2% +197%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
788 Points ∼2% +194%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
562 Points ∼2% +110%

Gaming Performance

Since the review sample is an entry-level office laptop, rendering games will not be a key aspect. While casual games in the browser or games from the Windows Store should run without problems, smooth frame rates should not be expected from newer games even in minimum settings. Rivals equipped with AMD APUs or Haswell-based processors are better for this purpose, and can render “Tomb Raider” relatively smoothly at least in minimum settings. The graphics unit of the Cherry Trail SoC, Intel Atom x7-Z8700 in Microsoft's Surface 3, plays in the same league as the latter two alternatives.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 16.5 8.3 5.4 fps
Tomb Raider - 1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
16.5 fps ∼3%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
15.9 fps ∼3% -4%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
31.8 fps ∼5% +93%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
14.2 fps ∼2% -14%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
31.7 fps ∼5% +92%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
31.2 fps ∼5% +89%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
33.6 fps ∼5% +104%

Emissions

System Noise

Overall, the Aspire's noise development can be called moderate. Although the fan is always audible in quiet surroundings, even while idling, its noise and that of the hard drive remain unobtrusively in the background. As expected, the cooling gets slightly louder under full load. However, a maximum noise level of 36.5 dB(A) in the stress test is not distracting. Furthermore, the low frequency of the operating noise is a positive improvement. However, the competition shines with equally good rates.

Noise Level

Idle
32.7 / 32.7 / 33.2 dB(A)
HDD
33.2 dB(A)
DVD
36.5 / dB(A)
Load
36.5 / 36.5 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Intel N3540
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
Intel N2930
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Intel 3558U
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
Intel N2830
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
AMD A6-6310
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
AMD A6-6310
Noise
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
32.7
32.8
-0%
32.4
1%
31
5%
29.6
9%
32.9
-1%
Idle Average *
32.7
32.8
-0%
32.4
1%
31
5%
30
8%
32.9
-1%
Idle Maximum *
33.2
33
1%
32.4
2%
31.4
5%
30.4
8%
32.9
1%
Load Average *
36.5
35.1
4%
34.2
6%
32.9
10%
32.4
11%
33.6
8%
Load Maximum *
36.5
37.5
-3%
38.9
-7%
32.9
10%
32.9
10%
34.4
6%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The Aspire E15 in the stress test
The Aspire E15 in the stress test

The device fully utilizes the CPU's Turbo of 2.66 GHz in the stress test via the programs Prime95 and FurMark for long periods, and the GPU can also maintain its high clock rate. The chip's temperatures, however, are always close to the maximum temperature of 100 °C (~212 °F) specified by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, thermal throttling, i.e. clock rate drops below the base rate of 2.16 GHz, occurred for only a few fractions of a second. The processor's average frequency of 2.58 GHz during the observation period also confirms this.

Despite these high temperatures and the relatively restrained noise of the casing's fan, the laptop's surfaces remain astonishingly cool. The maximum temperature of 35.8 °C (~96 °F) is found on the device's underside, and is even lower than that of the precursor equipped with a weaker Intel Celeron N2930. Overall, Acer has designed a successful cooling system that fuses maximum performance with quiet, cool operation. However, it must be mentioned that the efficiency of laptop cooling systems usually lessen over time due to dust accumulation, and the performance could gradually deteriorate under stress conditions.

Max. Load
 27.4 °C
81 F
31.5 °C
89 F
26.4 °C
80 F
 
 27.2 °C
81 F
29.4 °C
85 F
26.1 °C
79 F
 
 22.7 °C
73 F
23.3 °C
74 F
23.6 °C
74 F
 
Maximum: 31.5 °C = 89 F
Average: 26.4 °C = 80 F
25.5 °C
78 F
35.8 °C
96 F
35.6 °C
96 F
25.8 °C
78 F
35 °C
95 F
34.2 °C
94 F
22.4 °C
72 F
23.4 °C
74 F
23.6 °C
74 F
Maximum: 35.8 °C = 96 F
Average: 29 °C = 84 F
Power Supply (max.)  41.8 °C = 107 F | Room Temperature 22.3 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 26.4 °C / 80 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 31.5 °C / 89 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 35.8 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.6 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 24.2 °C / 75.6 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (+3.9 °C / 7 F).

Speakers

The speakers on the device's underside have a sufficient maximum volume and reproduce speech clearly. These, together with the installed microphone and webcam are sufficient for video conferencing. However, they are not as suitable for enjoying multimedia contents or music. The sound is always tinny and there are no audible low ranges. The resulting, unnatural-sounding playback also lacks any surround feeling. On the positive side however, there are no audible distortions even in high volumes.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Compared with the Aspire ES-512's precursor that was also tested with a quad-core SoC from the Bay Trail M generation, only minor savings are seen in standby and idle mode. This is different under load where the stronger Pentium processor consumes slightly more power than the Celeron in the ES-511. However, the laptop is very frugal with a maximum power consumption of 20 watts. The included 45-watt power supply is consequently generously sized.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.01 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.6 / 8 / 8.2 Watt
Load midlight 16.6 / 20 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

With a battery life of almost 6 hours in the real-life Wi-Fi test, the Aspire ES-512 clearly places itself ahead of most entry-level devices from other manufacturers. Only the in-house rivals last even longer. However, this is not surprising since Acer has installed a 3-cell battery with 37 Wh in its latest model, while the previously tested Aspire ES-511 still featured a 4 cell battery with 53 Wh. Our new, more demanding test procedure in version 1.3 also contributes to the determined difference. Nevertheless, the possible battery life is extremely good for a device from the under 300 Euros (~$330) price range.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 41min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (IE11)
5h 49min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 58min
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3 (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
349 min ∼120%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
HD Graphics (Haswell), 3558U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
290 min ∼100%
WiFi (sort by value)
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2930, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
414 min ∼97%
Asus X551MAV-SX391B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
244 min ∼57%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
230 min ∼54%
Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
427 min ∼100%

Pros

+ Windows 8.1 included
+ Robust, matte surfaces
+ Decent keyboard
+ Full-sized number pad
+ Large touchpad
+ Cool surfaces
+ CPU's good Turbo utilization
+ Quiet operating noise
+ Long battery life
+ 24-month warranty
+ Matte, sufficiently bright screen...

Cons

- ...with low resolution and poor viewing angle stability
- Touchpad's sensitivity & fitting
- GPU's Turbo not fully utilized
- High CPU/GPU temperatures in the stress test
- No maintenance cover

Verdict

Acer Aspire ES1-512-P1SM
Acer Aspire ES1-512-P1SM

Acer's ES1-512 is a decent entry-level laptop with a good price-performance ratio. The matte screen with its sufficient brightness, the useful input devices and the long battery life facilitate routine office use. Robust surfaces that remain agreeably cool even when the internal components are heavily loaded while the fan's noise is always restrained also contribute to pleasant usage. The quad-core SoC certainly has enough performance reserves for Internet browsing, watching videos or office tasks like word processing.

The buyer gets a balanced office device at a price of 299 Euros (~$330), including an operating system.

Compromises have to be made, for example, in the screen's resolution and viewing angle dependency as well as upgrading the hardware components. Users who want to play the occasional 3D game should look at the competition. Devices with an AMD APU in particular, such as Acer's Aspire E5-521 or HP's 350 G1, can score with better performance points, even if they only have a limited gaming suitability. It might also be worthwhile to wait for a future model of the Aspire with Intel's Bay Trails successor, Cherry Trail that offers a higher graphics performance.

Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM - 06/22/2015 v4(old)
Andreas Kilian

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
75%
Connectivity
61 / 80 → 76%
Weight
62 / 20-67 → 89%
Battery
89%
Display
74%
Games Performance
41 / 68 → 60%
Application Performance
53 / 92 → 58%
Temperature
94%
Noise
87%
Audio
31%
Camera
39 / 85 → 46%
Average
66%
76%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Acer Aspire E15 Start ES1-512-P1SM Notebook Review
Andreas Kilian, 2015-06-29 (Update: 2018-05-15)