Is a $500 gaming laptop actually any good?

Transcript Of  The Video (04 min)

Hey guys this is Austin.

Is a $500 gaming laptop actually any good?

So this is the Acer Aspire E15, so crack open the box and inside we’ll find the laptop itself. Unboxing actually looks really straightforward it’s literally just the power adapter.
So this is a 15 inch laptop which is actually not crazy when you consider that it actually has some pretty reasonable specs.

It doesn’t feel super premium, it looks interesting even though it’s definitely plastic and it doesn’t feel super premium or anything I think it looks nice and especially when you open it up and you realize that it’s got a nice little contrast with the white.

So looking around the laptop it’s a little old school we’ve got a VGA port here but I think the funnier thing is there’s a spot for an optical drive which this does not come with however that actually can be a cool thing because that might mean that we could, say, put an extra hard drive in or probably in this case put an SSD inside.

What really makes the Aspire E15 special though are the specs.
It’s rocking a Core i5-6200U alongside an Nvidia GT 940M graphics card.

The rest of the hardware is pretty solid as well, you’ve got a 15.6 inch 1080p display which while still a fairly cheap panel with okay contrast and viewing angles it’s a step up over what you’ll usually find at this price point.

The speakers get reasonably loud but they sound tinny, you’ll probably want to invest in speakers or headphones for gaming.

You’re getting solid AC Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0 though which is awesome, there’s just no
excuse for low end Wi-Fi these days.

The rest of the chassis is shared with a ton of other Acer models with different specs reaching back to the $300 range, the keyboard is a bit on the mushy side but it’s totally usable.

Same goes for the trackpad, it’s a decent size and supports gestures but the tracking
feels a bit less accurate than I’d like.

The webcam is completely average.
It’s 720p and while it’s a little soft it’s totally fine for something like a video chat.
While it comes with Windows 10 you’ll find bloatware the second you turn it on, there’s just
tons of preinstalled software like Norton.

It’s definitely worth spending a few minutes when you get the laptop to clean everything up. One unsurprising cost cutting measure is the one terabyte hard drive, while it’s a decent amount of space it is seriously slow.

If you want to upgrade though it’s not too difficult, there are quite a few screws around
back but with a little careful prying it’s easy enough to get into. You’ve got access to the second DIMM slot if you’d like to upgrade to 16 gigs of RAM and you can also see the fairly small battery along with the heatpipe that leads to the surprisingly quiet single fan that cools both the CPU and GPU.

From here you can swap out the hard drive or even get an adapter for the optical bay and put a drive there.

While a Skylake based Core i5 is definitely appreciated it’s a dual core 15 watt part which is typicallyfound in thin and light Ultrabooks.

It’s paired with the GT 940M which Nvidia is pretty vague about beyond the four gigabytes of DDR3 memory but in game this ends up being a good combo.

Lighter titles like Minecraft are totally playable at 1080p which should be no surprise as is Dota 2 which has no problem playing on max at 1080p at around 30 FPS.

You’re getting solid performance in CS:GO too, bump the settings down to medium at 1080 and you’re getting a pretty smooth 50 to 60 frames where Rocket League also works when you play on
quality settings. For more demanding games like GTA V you’ll need to notch the resolution
down to 900p on normal but it’s still totally playable.

With only a single fan though I was curious about thermals, even under sustained load there really isn’t any throttling and temps top out around 70 degrees Celsius.
The keyboard does get a bit warm especially near the exhaust but for what started life as a
budget laptop it handles the heat well.

One thing that doesn’t hold up quite so well though is the battery, under a full gaming load with max screen brightness it only lasted about 53 minutes which is pretty disappointing.
That small battery doesn’t help in normal use either, you’re probably going to want to stay close to an outlet.

The Aspire E15 might not be able to touch a dedicated gaming desktop but at this price having dedicated graphics is a big deal.

Upgrade it with an SSD and you’ve got a surprisingly solid gaming laptop.
So what do you guys think about the Aspire, let me know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to catch more videos like this.

The Acer Blue Light Shield?