Physically, it is unmistakably a low cost notebook. The plain, plastic chassis is finished in matte black, and every edge softens with no sharp edge in sight, into an inoffensive curve. It isn’t completely devoid of style, yet: the sparkle of tiny flecks of silver enlivens the black plastics beneath the surface.
And despite the plastic building, build quality is stable throughout. There’s a little flex and creak in the 2.2kg chassis if you manhandle it, but it is fairly hardy by budget standards.
The computer keyboard is a delight to use, thanks to widely spaced keys and an uncluttered layout – a
reassuring spring to every keystroke, and a full-sized numeric keypad alongside. Our only niggle with the big, buttonless touchpad was its reticence to register edge-swipes; the raised lip around the exterior means that it is necessary to carefully pull your finger in from the border.
The Aspire E1 boasts a specification that is very able. The 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 chip is a low voltage Ivy Bridge-generation CPU, so it is a little slower than today’s standard Center i3s, but it is absolutely adequate for regular endeavors. Factor in the 750GB hard drive and the specification of the Acer is positively generous.