Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG 15.6-Inch Full HD Laptop (Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10)
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Ships from and sold by Fateka USA
|Keyboard Cover for Acer Aspire V3-574 V3-574TG V3-575 V3-575G E5-573 E5-573G E5-573T E5-574G E5-575G E5-772 E5-772G E5-532 ES15 ES1-572 V15/V17 Nitro VN7-592G VN7-792G F15 F5-571 F5-573G(Clear)
|AmazonBasics 15.6-Inch Laptop and Tablet Bag
|VicTsing MM057 2.4G Wireless Portable Mobile Mouse Optical Mice with USB Receiver, 5 Adjustable DPI Levels, 6 Buttons for Notebook, PC, Laptop, Computer, Macbook - Black
Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG comes with these high level specs: 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6200U Processor 2.3GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.8GHz, Windows 10 Home, 15.6" Full HD Widescreen LED-backlit Display, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of dedicated DDR5 VRAM, 8GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD, 8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive (M-DISC enabled), Secure Digital (SD) card reader, Acer True Harmony High-Performance Sound System, 802.11ac Wi-Fi featuring MU-MIMO technology, Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet, HD Webcam (1280 x 720) supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR), 1 - USB 3.1 (Type C) port, 2 - USB 3.0 ports (1 with power-off charging), 1 - USB 2.0 Port, 1 - HDMI Port, 6-cell Li-ion Battery (2800 mAh), Up to 12-hours Battery Life, 5.27 lbs. | 2.39 kg (system unit only) (NX.GHGAA.001)
Most helpful customer reviews
2453 of 2498 people found the following review helpful.
The best windows laptop for a $600 budget, go for it!
After a lot of researching, I chose this laptop and am very happy with the purchase.
Received it yesterday, and I've put this laptop to a whole lot of scrutiny and have barely managed to find flaws.
This is most likely going to be a lengthy review, although it should hopefully cover all the important things.
So after some searching, I narrowed down my options to the following 3 new releases -
1. HP 15-ay013nr - HP 15-ay013nr 15.6" Full-HD Laptop (6th Generation Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) with Windows 10
2. ASUS F556UA-AS54 ASUS F556UA-AS54 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) with Windows 10, Icicle Gold
3. This guy
While the HP option is cheaper, 128GB could fill up pretty soon, especially considering I plan to dual-boot Ubuntu and have lot of software I need for work. So I ruled that one out.
The ASUS one comes really close in config to this one with the one major difference being that this fellow has a dedicated graphics card and the ASUS one doesn't. But how major is that? I knew GTX 940MX is not even close in performance to GTX 960 and above but believed it should still be faster than the integrated Intel HD 520 and since it is about 15-30 W TDP, it shouldn't be too heavy on the battery either. Couldn't find benchmarks online comparing Intel HD 520 and GTX 940MX head to head, so I'm sharing some GFXbench benchmarks that I ran to compare the two. Basically 1.5x to 2x improvement in graphics horsepower. Not a lot, but better than 1x, so games should be slightly better :)
Plus I was interested in learning some parallel computing with CUDA considering all the buzz around deep learning. And thus, Acer won!
Hopefully this was useful information if you were wondering how much extra this dedicated graphics card brings to the table.
Now, a quick rundown on different features below -
Build - This is not aluminium like the Mac, nor is this Dell XPS or Lenovo Thinkpad sturdy. It is black plastic but at the same time, it does not feel like a cheap build either. For the price, it is really good, I like the grip. Not too heavy and it's thinner than it appears in the photos. A customer review for the ASUS laptop mentioned that the plastic felt fragile, this reinforced my decision to go with the Acer model.
RAM - 1x8GB DDR4 is fit in this model while the other slot is empty, so you can fit in another 8GB card, make it 16 if you want. Although, for everyday computing 8GB is plentiful. Plus it has 2GB of GDDR5 memory for graphics
Storage - 256GB SSD is so worth it. SSD makes a whole lot of difference to speed, app load times and boot times. Your PC feels so fast, you'd never want to go back to the regular hard drive again. Also, I found out recently that the SSD in this is an M.2 SSD (Samsung MZNLN256HCHP) and the other hard disk slot is empty. So basically you could buy a 1TB hard drive for like less than $75 and bump up the storage while still having Windows and all your software run from the SSD << This feature makes me like the laptop all the more.
Processor - 6200U is a dual core, 4 thread CPU. This is less powerful than the 6300HQ i5s found in the more expensive gaming laptops but totally good enough for everyday computing and it consumes much lesser power (<15W) which makes it good for the battery. A single core Geekbench mark of about 2.7k and multi-core benchmark of 5.8k (attached image) is of-course not awesome or anything but more than enough for regular use. I'm also sharing the octane benchmark score - 28k.
GPU - As mentioned above, GTX 940MX offers between 1.5 and 2x improvement in graphics horsepower and is a low power card, so it wouldn't drain your battery. Definitely a nice to have (benchmarks comparing it with integrated graphics attached). Also, if you own an Nvidia Sheild device, please note that 940MX does NOT support Gamestream.
Screen - Pretty good I'd say, 15.6 inch is perfect for working on the couch. It's not IPS, so viewing angles might not be too high but pretty good nevertheless plus it's got the anti-glare finish. I like it, works for me.
Keyboard and touchpad - I was a little unsure how comfortable this will be, I never liked the extra number pad in laptops which shifts the center towards the left making it all weird to type. But surprisingly, it doesn't seem much of a problem in this laptop. Typing is quite comfortable, contrary to what I expected. Backlit keyboard is a bonus. The touchpad works fine, however sweaty hands make it a little un-smooth.
Battery - Excellent battery life. Acer claims 12 hours, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it. Expect about 8-10 hours of battery life, perhaps 6-8 if you constantly stream 1080p videos. But 6-8 hours of youtube is not bad at all, it's awesome in-fact. However, note that the battery cannot be plucked out and replaced (this is a con, though I wouldn't remove a star for just this)
Sound - Now, with everything so good about the laptop, you'd think there has to be a flaw in at-least the sound right. But Nope!, Acer's got this one as well. Don't expect Bose or Beats, but for a laptop, it is quite loud and clear.
I started looking at Macbooks for setting up a work desk at home, but after seeing the plethora of Windows options with much better configs for lesser prices, decided to go with Windows for work and a maybe a chromebook for carrying around (Acer Chromebook 14 - eyes on you).
Very well done by Acer, kudos.
Ports - has got them all - USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type C, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, SD card reader and DVD drive (always a bonus)
Heating - haven't had any heating issues so far, can barely hear the fan.
Adding a couple of photos to the review, one of them shows the thickness of the laptop.
981 of 1026 people found the following review helpful.
All you want at the right price - UPDATE 6/12/16
By Andrea Polk
[[VIDEOID:3c8eb676036bf9a2995f4e66cae70531]]Purchased as a high school graduation gift for my daughter who is headed off to college in the fall, this Acer Aspire E ticked off all of the specs on her wishlist and all the ‘gotta haves’ on mine.
Being a techy sort of person I care what’s under the hood. I have owned many laptops using operating systems from Windows XP to the current 10, on hardware from all the top brands. Acer impressed me with their Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ (15.6-Inch Full HD IPS, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD) so much I’ve purchased them as gifts for both my husband and step-father. Now with this Aspire E, I may just have found my own new ‘favorite’ brand for the sub-six hundred price range.
For this purchase I wanted the laptop to have an Intel processor versus an AMD because in my experience they run cooler. I wanted that processor to be at least an i5, the latest generation if possible. I also wanted at least 8GB of system memory that was expandable if needed. A large hard drive wasn’t as important to me as the speed of that drive, thus a SSD was preferable, and I wanted at least 5 hours of battery life. A backlit keyboard and HD screen were also important, but I was prepared to forgo them if the price went over my target price of seven-hundred.
My daughter’s wishes tended to be less techy, but just as important in our search for the best laptop to meet her needs for the next four years. She has previously used a lower-end (about three-hundred when new) HP laptop for the past four years; one motherboard replacement covered under Square Trade warranty, and a Chromebook with an 11” screen. In this purchase she wanted a laptop that included a 15.6” screen, a DVD drive (I tried to talk her out of that one because I never use them anymore, but she wanted one to burn CDs and DVDs), and an Ethernet jack; the dorms are older and have wired internet where she’ll be attending college.
So after much searching I happened to notice this newly released Acer Aspire E 15. The price on Amazon is the same as on the Acer website, and those are the only two places I saw it. When I noticed the incredible specs and how well they matched both our desires for this purchase, I was thrilled!
The price for this laptop is so low by comparison to others with similar specs (particularly with an SSD and such stellar battery life - estimated at 12 hours), that I had to bite on this one. I also purchased a 3 year Square Trade drops, spills, etc… warranty for another one-ten that I’ve found to be cheap insurance on these purchases, especially when the owner is a teen.
I will be adding the Microsoft Office Suite (eighty bucks for 4 years with an EDU email address) and using this laptop for only a short time before giving it to my daughter these are my impressions. Hope you find them helpful when deciding if this laptop is for you.
The bottom line from my point of view is that the low price for great specs with a quality build is incredible. I’ve found no other laptop available on the market that matches up to this Acer when you compare the price to the perks!
What I like about the Acer Aspire E15:
+ It's whisper quiet! I could barely tell this laptop was even on; no fan noise, and didn't get hot at all.
+ Beautiful HD (1920x1080, 16:9 ratio) 15.6” screen - movies and games look great. It's a matte finish so there's really no glare or reflection off the screen in bright light. Viewing straight on is best, offering a sharp, bright picture whether you're viewing media or text.
+ 256 SSD Flash Memory is the best! Really noticeable speed bump when booting the PC and going from one application to another.
+ NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of dedicated DDR5 VRAM - a dedicated graphics card in a laptop at this low price point is unheard of!
+ 6-cell 2800 mAh battery - lots of battery life if you use BATTERY SAVER function. Brightness adjustments will affect the battery life you get with all laptops - including this one.
+ Precision Touchpad works better than expected. It might even be too responsive for some, but you can tweak that in Settings within Windows 10. Pinch, flick, and swirl for intuitive navigation - similar to using an iOS device.
+ Latest in technology (1) USB 3.1 port - (Type C) not found on all laptops. It’s a connector that is ' the size of current USB connectors and you can’t screw up plugging in the cable as it doesn’t matter which side is up. A great way to charge all kinds of things; smartphones, battery back-ups, Bluetooth headphones, etc… while the PC is asleep. Anker PowerLine USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable (3ft) with 56k Ohm Pull-up Resistor for USB Type-C Devices Including the new MacBook, ChromeBook Pixel, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nokia N1 Tablet, OnePlus 2 and More is an example of this cable.
+ USB 3.0 ports - two of them, with one having power-off charging, to allow for charging your smartphone on the go.
+ HDMI - perfect for hooking up your laptop to your HDTV (cable not included but here's an example: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable - 6 Feet (Latest Standard) .
+ Media Card Reader - SD from camera pops right in to upload photos from the SD card.
+ Bluetooth 4.1 - latest standard in Bluetooth allows for wireless pairing with Bluetooth headphones, a Bluetooth mouse, or a Bluetooth speaker. I used a Creative Sound Blaster Roar: Portable NFC Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with aptX/AAC. 5 Drivers, Built-in Subwoofer with it and it sounded fantastic.
+ Backlit Keyboard - such a fabulous perk that if you’ve had one laptop with it, you never want to go without it again. Works great, and looks good underneath this full sized keyboard with number pad.
+ BluelightShield reduces bluelight from the screen, reducing eyestrain. I really, really appreciate this feature (something I use daily on a LG 34” monitor) for allowing me to work more effeciently and comfortably.
+ ColorBlast technology by Acer offers 94% more NTSC colors, which means what you see on your Acer’s screen is much more vibrant and the depths of color that much more beautiful to look at. Since my daughter uses a Wacom tablet for artwork, this feature will be a Godsend and certainly an unexpected bonus.
+Easy access to upgrading the SSD hard drive and memory via a compartment door on the bottom of the laptop.
+ Wireless & Wired Connectivity: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port) and 802.11ac WiFi with MU-MIMO technology (up to 3x’s faster for streaming), allows for internet connectivity no matter what’s available.
+ HD Webcam - (1280 x 720) which supports HDR for super sharp video chats. Paired with Skype, this is ideal for business or home users.
Black, textured chassis of the laptop is simple and doesn’t give away what a powerhouse it is, making it less attractive to thieves (in my opinion) than a Macbook with similar specs purchased at almost three times the price..
+ Gaming on this laptop is fun and easy thanks to dedicated graphics and the SSD. If you want to add more memory to the laptop, that’s easy too.
+ Software: Windows Defender antivirus/anti-spam is included, thus no need for other antivirus. PowerDVD 12 included, with trial of Microsoft Office. (I removed the trial and used EDU address for full student version for 4-years; better deal!) Not a lot of bloatware, but be sure to uninstall unused apps to save on space. Find My Device is a great addition to Windows 10 as is Microsoft Edge - the new browser replacing Explorer.
+ Sound: Very good! To add depth you may want to pair with Bluetooth speaker or headphones, but the volume is excellent! At only 30% it almost seemed too loud to me while watching videos at 3' away.
+ FREE SSD space in the laptop to add a second SSD to the PC!
+ Upgradeable memory up to 32GB! (Two 4GB sticks are installed = 8GB, so to max it out you'd need to replace them with two 16GB sticks.) Kingston Technology HyperX Impact 16GB RAM DDR4 2133 HX421S13IBK2/16 will work to upgrade your system memory to 16GB using the two available slots.
Changes that could make it the perfect traditional laptop for all users:
+/- No touchscreen or 4K resolution found in the higher end laptops would be fabulous, but not ever an expectation at this price point. (Remember, this list is ‘to make it perfect’.) Certainly the HD of this screen is much better than the lower resolutions found on most laptops at the same price, and most notable when viewing video, although text seems sharper too. As for touchscreen - not a desired spec for either my daughter or myself, so really no big deal.
+/- 8X DVD Super Multi-Double Layer Drive (M-DISC enabled) is OK, but as with most disc drives in laptops it feels somewhat flimsy.It's not a Blu-ray drive, and it adds to the overall weight of the laptop (5.3 pounds). Works as expected though for loading software and playing movies.
Windows 10 is not my favorite, but once you get used to it, I guess it’s OK. The new standard in Windows operating systems, some older programs and hardware (printers for example) won’t work well with it. Would have loved to keep Windows 7 or 8, but I get it… not gonna happen unless you purchase a business class laptop from Dell for example.
+/- 256 SSD drive space (218 GB to store stuff with the OS and programs as shipped) may be too little for some users, but I find that by using Dropbox or Amazon Cloud storage and adding a low profile USB flash drive. I'm adding a SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ43-128G-GAM46) [Newest Version] which while solving the available storage issue does remove the ability to use the USB 3.0 port. You could also install a second SSD in the laptop to add storage.
+/1 The build quality is on par with its price point, but still not bad. I added the SquareTrade 3-Year Computer Accident Protection Plan ($500-600) to this purchase as I considered the college environment in which it’s going to live to be a bit harsher than how I’d be using it in my home. I didn’t find problems with this laptop, but it’s not going to feel the same as a higher end one.
+/- The AC power adapter's cable from the pin connection to the laptop to the power brick is VERY thin! I worry that without careful consideration each time the laptop is charged, this may break. I will consider purchasing a backup for this reason.
In Conclusion... "Buy it."
I really can’t stress enough how much useful tech you are getting for such a low price with this laptop. This Acer is a breeze to setup and enjoyable to use. Any student who is not looking to drop a couple pounds off the weight of their laptop by eliminating the optical drive or getting a smaller screen will love it.
As a daily user of related technology, It really blows me away! Right now, I know you can't do better on a traditional laptop with a DVD drive, HD screen, all the ports you need, SSD drive, backlit keyboard, and amazing battery life. You simply can't do it at this price. I like it so much I’m considering purchasing a second one.
This laptop is totally worth the asking price and a great choice for anyone who wants it all, but doesn’t want to pay top dollar for it.
An ENTHUSIASTIC 5-Star rating!
NOTE: Learning Windows 10 and How To Speed Up the Operating System
For those who buy ANY Windows 10 PC check out YouTube for helpful tutorials on how to use the operating system, but also how to make Windows 10 faster. I found two that were helpful to me.
"How to Optimize Windows 10 for GAMING & Power Users". Some intermediate knowledge of Windows is needed to reap the full benefits of this video, but after doing most of the things mentioned in it my Windows 10 PC's are much more fun to use. It's about 15 minutes long and well worth watching.
"How to Optimize Windows 10 for Performance & Make Windows 10 Faster" has beasically the same info as the first, but I think it's a touch easier to follow than the first. If it's too fast in its delivery, remember you can pause and rewind as needed on YouTube.
NOTE: In the BIOS settings for Windows 10 (see YouTube Acer video: "Windows 10 - Accessing the UEFI (BIOS) Setup" to find it on your laptop, it looks like there is room for a second SSD hard drive for those who want to add one. **I added a photo of my screen to show you.
It's hard to believe, but after about 3 weeks on standby, this little beauty still has 34% battery life using the battery saver mode with 50% brightness. I'm very impressed with this one, and I really think it's an awesome option for students who also enjoy gaming, streaming movies and doing it all with great speed.
(I like this one so much, I'm going to be saving up to buy the i7 version soon!)
259 of 278 people found the following review helpful.
(Updated 1/1/17) A near-perfect, rather powerful budget laptop
By Mark Schauer
I'm writing this review on this very system, so that I can accurately give you all of the information you'll need prior to purchasing. Granted, I already can tell you I'm not a fan of the keyboard—but that's not at the fault of Acer; rather, I'm not a fan of *any* membrane keyboard. More on this particular keyboard later.
Quick summary: No IPS panel, grippy trackpad, low disk space, mushy keyboard, great I/O, solid performance, easy upgradability, runs quiet, good battery life, very light, flaky HDD area, decent-sounding speakers.
Now, what kind of person is this laptop suited for? This, in my mind, is by no means a desktop replacement. Not a chance. Instead, it would make for a nice desktop peripheral. It's light and powerful enough that you can take it on the go, but I wouldn't expect to render a Full HD video on this thing and have it take less than four hours. Can you comfortably use this with Photoshop? Sure you can. You can even get Vegas up and running on here, and with the extra RAM slot being open you can stick another 8 GB in it. I'm not certain what the maximum amount of RAM you can have in here, but I heard that you can get up to 32 GB (2x16 sticks), but I cannot verify that.
Onto the performance: This laptop has two models that you can choose from here on Amazon. This was the part that confused me the most, and it led to much research on my end. You can pick from either the i5-6200U or the i7-6500U. If you're on the edge, save yourself the extra $150 and get the i5 version. Why? At this particular price point of $550, you aren't going to notice any difference at all while using it unless you want to save an extra few minutes rendering video. The i7-6500U has a mere 10% performance increase over its i5 counterpart. Both have two cores and four threads. Trust me, the i7 is not worth the $150 upgrade or the fancy sticker. The included RAM is 2133 MHz Kingston. To be honest, it's rare to find this kind of speed on a non-gaming laptop. RAM speeds don't make much of a difference in real world applications, but I was expecting something along the lines of 1600 or 1333 MHz. Also, the included SSD is a much-needed upgrade from a standard HDD. It also happens to be a Kingston, but I don't have any numbers for write and read speed. Sorry about that. Either way, the system boots up in seconds, and apps open very quickly.
Build quality and comfort: This thing has acceptable build quality. The screen has flex (expected), and the entire thing is made out of a plastic brushed-aluminum mock-up. It's trying to look like aluminum, but it's just not. Because of this, it is a fingerprint magnet especially on the typing/wrist rest area. Side note: this thing is not very comfortable to type on. The area where my arm rests to type is met by a sharp edge of the laptop, and it happens to leave an imprint on my wrist. Not comfortable for extended periods of time. The area I'm talking about is right where the lid closes. I think they made it the sharp edge to meet with the lid better, but my wrists certainly don't appreciate it.
Weight: This thing is light (just over five pounds). So light that you can't lift the lid with one hand; instead the entire thing comes with you. I wish this wasn't the case, as I'm used to only using one hand, but I'll excuse it because of its lack of weight (my other laptop is well over 10 pounds). The performance to weight ratio on this machine is definitely above average especially at this price point. Good job on that, Acer. I won't mind hauling this around to class all day.
I/O: Probably important to you if you're looking for specific ports. This machine is loaded with I/O: both old and new. It has a 3.1 type C port (not Thunderbolt compatible, unfortunately), two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a multi-jack (headphones, line in, etc), a HDMI port, and a VGA port. It also includes a Kensington lock, and of course the AC power port. Oh yeah, you even get a DVD drive in this thing. You won't usually see those elsewhere.
Graphics/Display: This has a dedicated video card, which I wasn't expecting. Granted, it's not the best, but it's better than the integrated graphics. It may not be by a huge margin, but at least it's there. Probably around a 2x increase over the Intel HD Graphics you usually see in laptops like this. The display is 1920x1080 on a 15.6" screen. This is my first laptop this small, and to be honest it took some getting used to. For most people, 15.6" seems to be the sweet spot, and I can see why. It's not bulky enough to be a nuisance to lug around, but it's not small enough to where videos aren't enjoyable to watch. The panel is not IPS, however, so you're going to have some off viewing angles. But then again, I'm usually indifferent about panel type because I always look at the screen head-on.
Update 8/12: I notice this display has some type of "adaptive brighness." While I can't find any documentation on it (granted I haven't looked for it in the manual), if you're looking at a rather dark image (dark grays, dark forests, night photos, overall dark videos, etc.) the display will dim regardless of the brightness setting. If you switch back to a white image, it'll slowly fade to the higher brightness. It also appears to flicker during this process. I can't find a setting to disable this option, but perhaps I've not looked hard enough. I'll report back later if I find one.
Update 8/13: I checked the Windows settings and adaptive display is turned off in the power options menu. This must mean it's baked into the hardware unless there's a setting somewhere in some Acer program.
Update 1/1/17: I figured out that the brightness adjustment is via Intel, and some of you pointed this out to me via the comment sections. To disable it, you need to open the Intel HD Graphics software, navigate to Power, and disable the power saving technology.
Also, I tweaked some of the color settings in the Intel control panel because the colors seem oversaturated. I'll blame the display technology, and I have no idea what Acer ExaColor is. I hate proprietary technology that isn't explained.
Keyboard: Dedicated area for this. Pretty much your run-of-the-mill laptop keyboard. Key travel is not what I want it to be, and it seems especially mushy to type on. This is coming from somebody who has a heavy bias towards mechanical keyboards. Somehow I was able to type this whole review on this laptop's keyboard, however. Also bare in mind that this is my first membrane typing experience in a few months, so if you're used to laptop keyboards you probably won't be disappointed. Probably the best thing about the keyboard is that it's backlit. This is also one of the reasons I purchased this laptop. I tend to sit in the dark a lot, and even though I am a touch typist, it's still nice to see the keys.
Update 8/12: I neglected to mention another petpeeve of mine about laptop keyboards. This keyboard has the half-sized arrow keys. I tend to use the arrow keys a lot, and while the left and right arrows are full sized, the up and down ones are only half sized. They could have prevented this by shrinking the right shift key along with the numpad 0 key, but I'll have to deal with it. If you're like me and you like full arrow keys, then this may bother you as well.
Trackpad: Not glass. I find it to be rather grippy, so my finger tends to lag across its surface. I'll definitely be using a mouse whenever I can with this laptop. At least it uses native windows drivers, so you don't need any additional software for gesture support.
Sound: Decent speaker system. Unfortunately, they're bottom mounted. That means sound quality will depend heavily on whatever surface your laptop is on. YouTube videos sounded acceptable, but music sounded a bit underwater-like. They're still decent nonetheless. I opt to use headphones most of the time anyway, but your ears should hold up if you decide to rely on them.
Update 8/13: I found out that disabling Acer TrueHarmony in the sound settings improves the sound and makes it less underwater-like. I'm not a huge fan of software-based sound modifiers, so I'll be sure to keep this setting off. In some cases, however, it helps, but in my daily usage of this laptop I find it's better to have it turned off.
Upgrades: As I alluded to above (mostly in the RAM section), this laptop can be ugraded. Not extensively, but it's there. There's an open RAM slot, so you can pop in another 8 GB 2133 MHz stick and have a total of 16 GB. Will you need that much for this laptop? Also, there's an empty SATA port. You can insert a 2.5" HDD or SATA SSD, but be warned that it's kind of roomy in there. Your drive will pop out and slide around (effectively disconnecting it) if you move the laptop around a lot (i.e. toss it on a bed, throw it around in your backpack, etc.) I don't know if you'll be able to get a HDD slot to make it snug in there, but mine already has come loose after barely turning over my laptop. Maybe I should tape it down. Also, if you flip your laptop over and then back again, you'll hear the drive hit the upgrade bay door. It seems to still be connected to the system when it does this, but I'm really going to need tape or a drive bay. I'll just need to find one that fits, because the last thing I want happening is for the HDD to randomly disconnect while I'm transferring data to or from it.
Battery: I haven't been able to fully test this claim of "up to 12 hours." I'll agree that, on full brightness, you'll probably see up to 7 or 8 hours. Either way, that's a full class day for me. I'll come back to this portion in the future.
Update 1/1/17: I think the 12 hour claim will only hold up if you keep your processor speed capped, your brightness all the way down, and have every power saving feature enabled. I've had this laptop for several months now, and while it can last me a class day, I usually don't trust it. I usually woke up around 8:30 a.m. and powered on my laptop at 9:15 a.m. By the time of my third class at 2:15 p.m., battery is around 20% or less. I usually charge it before that class, and keep in mind the thing is powered on, but idle. Not sleeping usually, just lid closed and not doing anything. So, that's around a real-world battery life of 5-6 hours, which really isn't bad. But not close to the claim of "up to 12 hours," at least for me.
Noise: This is a very quiet laptop. The fan can barely be heard. After all, the specs aren't very power hungry, so they don't generate a lot of heat. I haven't put this under a full load yet, so I haven't been able to hear the loudest fan speed yet. I'll probably come back to this section as well.
Update 8/13: While running Cinebench, the fan did kick up to what I believe was full speed, and it was still relatively quiet. It was noticable in a quiet environment, but if you're in class or in a meeting I doubt you'll be doing anything that would cause the fan to spin up to maximum RPM. But, if you do, it shouldn't be noticable at all.
I'm enjoying this laptop for the price of $550. I don't really think you can beat this right now. I mean come on: a SSD, 2133 MHz RAM, a decent CPU, and even a dedicated GPU, and a backlit keyboard? If ANYBODY asks me for laptop recommendations, this one is going to be at the top of the list regardless of budget. I have to really praise Acer for this one. This is my first laptop review, so be sure to leave a comment if you want to see anything covered that I perhaps missed.
Even with its flaws, this laptop is getting a five-star rating from me. Only the i5 version, though. As I stated above, the i7 version is really not worth it. There is definitely a general consensus out there that "i7s are always better because they're top tier," but that's not always the case, and this system makes a point of that. However, if you have the extra $150 lying around, you will likely increase the resale value of this laptop because an i7 will make people think it's the "premium" version. Knowing this, I still got the i5. If the i7 version was a 25 - 30% increase in performance, then sure, the extra $150 would be it. Not at 10% though; it just seems like a ripoff.
Updated 8/11: Because I typed this on the laptop keyboard, I made some typing errors. I've fixed them, and I made some other minor tweaks here and there.
Updated 8/12: If any of you are familiar with Cinebench, here are the scores for this particular i5 model:
53.31 fps OpenGL
Updated 8/13: I feel like I'll be updating this daily as I find out more information about it.