Why spend more? This $600 laptop might be all you need

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Before you pull out your credit card and finish that order for a premium notebook that’s well over $1,000, we have a question for you. Are you sure you need to spend so much money?

We ask because we recently reviewed the Acer Aspire E 15, a well-equipped (if very large) notebook that surprised us with its combination of fast components, decent display, and great battery life. We review a lot of notebooks at Digital Trends, and while we do like many of today’s premium notebooks, we have to give proper credit to a $600 machine that can  provide so much of what most people need, for so little money.

That’s why we’re asking that question, and we’ll put it a different way: What do you really need your laptop to do?

Do you need a fast processor that can churn through the usual productivity tasks without slowing you down? Because the Aspire E 15 comes equipped with a quad-core eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU that’s plenty fast. In fact, it’s just about as fast as the processors in notebooks that are way more than twice as expensive, at least for the usual productivity tasks.

What about RAM? Is 8GB enough for you? Because that’s what you get with the Aspire E 15 in our review unit’s configuration. Not only that, but you can open the chassis and expand the RAM yourself, all the way to 16GB. And really, 8GB of RAM is more than enough for most people who aren’t editing huge photos and videos.

Are you looking for a notebook with a discrete GPU? That is, do you want to do some gaming on your notebook and the usual integrated Intel graphics just won’t suffice? The Aspire E 15 has you covered there as well with an Nvidia GeForce MX150 discrete GPU. Now, that’s not going to be fast enough to run modern games at 1080p  with graphics quality turned up. But if you lean towards esports titles or are will to accept lower resolutions and graphical detail, then it’s a good enough GPU for you.

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Of course, you’re likely worried about display quality, and you should be. Most budget notebooks are equipped with lower resolution displays (1,366 x 768, usually), with poor viewing angles and terrible contrast. Not the Aspire E 15, which sports a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) 15.6-inch display that offers surprisingly good contrast and decent  colors. It won’t please photographers or videographers, but it’s just fine for productivity work and Netflix binges. We do wish the brightness was a little higher, but does it do the job? You bet.

Finally, there’s battery life. You might like to take your notebook away from your home or office and not worry about carrying a power supply around with you. If so, the Aspire E 15 is perfect. It offers surprisingly good battery life, better in fact than many more expensive notebooks, promising at least a full working day’s longevity. Even if all you want to do is move your machine around the house, then this is one budget notebook that gives you some freedom from the plug.

That’s not to say that the Aspire E 15 is the perfect machine for everyone. If you’re particularly concerned about thickness and weight, then you’ll find it falls on the wrong end of the “thin and light” spectrum. If you want an all-metal chassis, then you’ll also need to look elsewhere. Needless to say, serious gamers will want a more powerful graphics card than the MX150.

But everyone else needs to at least give the Aspire E 15 a good, hard look. It’s fast, lasts a long time on a charge, and has a good enough display. And best of all, it comes at a $600 price that won’t require a second mortgage to finance.