With its eye-catching raspberry-red paint job, the $500 Aspire E5-471-59RT stands out in a sea of drab black and gray budget laptops. You also get pretty beefy specs for the price, including a Core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive, though you're limited to 4GB of RAM out of the box. Overall, this Acer is an attractive value for those who don't need a touch screen.
The first thing you notice about the Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT is its raspberry-red paint job enhanced by a subtle silver pattern. While the shiny clear coat doesn't really resist fingerprints, they are much less noticeable on top of the metallic patterning. The display bezel and bottom of the unit are made of a matte black plastic, giving the whole system an attractive two-tone appearance.
At 13.6 x 9.8 x 1.2 inches, the Aspire E5-471-59RT is similar in size to other 14-inch systems such as the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (13.5 x 9.7 x 0.9) and the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (13.7 x 9.5 x 1). Weighing 4.6 pounds, the Acer is a bit heavier than the 4.4-pound Dell Inspiron 14 5000, but lighter than the 4.8-pound ASUS VivoBook V451LA.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Click to EnlargeThe layout of the Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT's keyboard felt right at home. Its key travel of 1.6mm (1 to 2mm is typical) combined with an actuation weight of 60g made typing a pleasure. After just a few minutes of using the keyboard, I nailed my normal 70 words per minute average.
For mouse control and scrolling, the Aspire E5-471-59RT features a 4.1 x 2.5-inch clickpad. The clickpad has a smooth matte surface and generally responded well to both mouse movements and gestures like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling.
Click to EnlargeColors on the Aspire E5-471-59RT's 14-inch 1366 x 768 display aren't the greatest. I watched part of 2013's Art of the Steal and found colors to be muted and slightly washed out. While side-to-side viewing angles were generally fine, I found that moving it just 20 degrees up or down could completely blow out images or black them out.
My impressions were backed up by our lab tests, as the Acer could only display 55.3 percent of the sRGB spectrum, barely better than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (52 percent) but behind the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (63 percent) and the thin-and-light average of 77 percent.
Click to EnlargeThe E5-471-59RT also didn't fare very well on color accuracy with a Delta-E rating of 10.4. (Closer to zero is better.) This score is slightly worse than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (9.8) and inferior to the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (0.7). The thin-and-light-average is 7.2.
At least the screen is decently bright. The panel registered 207 nits on our light meter, which is higher than the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (173 nits) and on a par with the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (209 nits).
The Aspire E5-471-59RT features stereo speakers located on the two front bottom corners of the laptop. The laptop produces plenty of volume, but it comes somewhat at the expense of quality. When I listened to Cut Copy's "Hearts on Fire," highs had a metallic sound and the bass lacked oomph.
The E5-471-59RT produced 93 decibels of sound measured from 23 inches away. This is better than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (84 dB), ASUS VivoBook V451LA (74 dB) and the thin-and-light category average (82 dB).
Click to EnlargeOn the Laptop Mag heat test (15 minutes of streaming video from Hulu), the top of the Acer Aspire E14 stayed relatively cool with the touchpad measuring just 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys was slightly cooler at 79.5 degrees. The bottom of the laptop reached 95.5 degrees F, which just barely exceeds our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Ports and Webcam
Click to EnlargeAcer equips the E5-471-59RT with a 720p camera, which produces photos that are grainy and a little soft, but it's hard to expect too much from a budget laptop.
Ports are also pretty standard, with two USB 2.0 ports on the right side, and an SD Card reader up front. The left side holds the majority of ports and connections starting with a headset jack, lone USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Ethernet and VGA jacks.
Click to EnlargeAcer equips the Aspire E5-471-59RT with a 1.7-GHz Intel Core-i5 4210U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 5400-rpm hard drive. I had little problem browsing the Web even with five tabs open in both Internet Explorer and Chrome and a game downloading in the background. There were some hiccups from time to time, mostly because this system had just 4GB of RAM. Thankfully, there is a extra open memory slot, which means you can add another 4GB of RAM stick for as little as $40.
On PCMark 7, the Aspire E5-471-59RT scored 2,394. That's good, but behind more expensive competition from the $669 ASUS VivoBook V451LA (2,782 with 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-4200U and 4GB of RAM), $650 Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (2,734, with 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-4210U CPU and 8GB of RAM) and the thin-and-light average of 4,121.
The E14 copied 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 2 minutes and 54 seconds for a transfer rate of 29.2 MBps. This is faster than the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (23 MBps) but behind the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (31.6 MBps) and the thin-and-light average of 99.8 MBps (which includes systems with SSDs).
On the Laptop Mag Open Office test, the Aspire-E5-59RT matched 20,000 names and addresses in 5 minutes and 15 seconds. This is faster than the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (5:18), Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (5:58) and the thin-and-light average of 6:47.
Click to EnlargeThe Acer E5-471-59RT relies on the integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics, which gives it the ability to smoothly stream HD video and tackle less demanding games.
Trying to play a newer game such as Blizzard's Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls was barely manageable. Frame rates hovered near 30 frames per second at the notebook's native resolution, but I had to keep the settings on low.
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In World of Warcraft, the E5-471-59RT managed a playable 35.7 fps at 1366 x 768 and auto settings. This wasn't far behind the more expensive Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (37 fps), but below the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (42 fps).
The Aspire E14 boasts prodigious battery life. On the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits), the system lasted 8 hours and 10 minutes. This was more than an hour longer than competitors such as the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (6:54), Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (5:48) and 45 minutes longer than the thin-and-light average of 7:24.
Click to EnlargeThere are no other configurations for the E5-471-59RT available, with Newegg.com being the only current retailer for this model. However, there are over 50 other E series models for sale. Check the Acer website for more options. For instance, the Aspire E5- 471-52VZ features 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $550 (which would be the one to get for my money).
Software and Warranty
Click to EnlargeAcer includes a standard one-year warranty with the Aspire E5-471-59RT. Unfortunately, the company also includes a good deal of bloatware such as WildTangent and Private Wi-Fi and links to online retailers preloaded on the system.
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Useful preinstalled software include trials for Microsoft Office and McAfee Internet Security Suite, as well as full versions of Skype, Netflix, Hulu, Acer Cloud and Amazon Kindle.
Click to EnlargeThe $500 Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT does a lot of things right. It has strong processing power for the money, great battery life and a solid keyboard wrapped in a sleek raspberry coating. While I wish the display were better and that Acer had included an extra 4GB of RAM, the Aspire E5-471-59RT is a solid budget machine than can compete with more expensive 14-inch systems from ASUS and Dell.