At its New York City event yesterday, Acer announced its new E-series notebooks that are available with either a 14-inch or 15.6-inch display. While these are budget machines aimed towards cost conscious buyers such as students, they still can be configured with some higher-end components like discreet graphics, Haswell CPU’s, touch and Full HD panels. Like the many of the other Acer products announced at the event, the E-series notebooks will come in a number of different colors.
A couple of other features that Acer is touting with these notebooks, are its Precision Touchpad, which supports Windows 8.1 gestures, that reduces “un-intended tap and cursor motions on the touchpad” and a “Zero Air Gap technology” screen, which is supposed to improve screen visibility in bright environments. Both the E 14 and E 15 have up to 7 hours of battery life, decent for budget machines, and both feature optical drives. This, of course, makes them fairly thick – Ultrabooks these are not – however, Acer does claim that the E 15 “is one of the slimmest form factors in this size and product segment.”
We got a chance to briefly go hands-on with both the E 14 and E 15 at the event, and liked what we saw. While no one will confuse these for premium machines, they certainly hit the targets that Acer has set. The color choices are good, and they look great in some of the brighter options, but of course they also have a high-gloss finish that does attract fingerprints like crazy.
The E 14 is available with a 14” 1366 x 768 screen, in either touch or non-touch. There will be a wide selection of CPU choices available, from both AMD (E1, E2, A4, and A6) and Intel, (Core i, Celeron and Pentium). You’ll be able to get E 14 with up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage. There is no word if Acer will also offer models with SSDs, but given their budget price, this is unlikely. As you can see from the pictures above, the E 14 has a full-sized Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, headphone and one USB 3.0 port on the left side. On the right, there is an optical drive and two USB 2.0 ports. It would have been nice if Acer has spent a tiny amount more to make these USB 3.0. The E 14 is available in six colors - Piano Black, Pearl White, Glossy Copper, Ruby Red, Topaz Blue, and Jade Green.
The E 15 is available with a 15” touch and non-touch 1366 x 768 screens, and a non-touch Full HD 1920 x 1080 panel. It is also available with both AMD and Intel silicon, but the CPU choices are greater on the AMD side – you can get it with an E1, E2, A4, A6, A8 and A10. Like the 14-inch model, the E 15 comes with up to 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. The E 15 has the same port configuration as the E 14, including the USB 2.0 ports on the right side. The E 15 is available in five colors - Midnight Black, Titanium Silver, Tiger’s Eye Brown, Sapphire Blue, and Garnet Red.
Both models can also be equipped with optical drives that support the M-DISC archival disc format. Discrete graphics is also an option – The E Series incorporates “NVIDIA GeForce 800M series or AMD Radeon R-Series discrete graphics for an exceptional cinematic or gaming experience.” Of course, a model with all these additional features is going to be quite a bit more than $300, but as of yet Acer has not provided us with any more pricing details.
The Acer E14 will be available in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa starting at $300/€349 in June. The E 15 will also be available in the same markets starting at the same price, but will be on sale in Europe, the Middle East and Africa a little earlier in mid-May.