During Amazon’s Prime Day sale even more on this already affordably priced laptop—it’s now a low $280, a whopping $90 off its list price.

The Acer Aspire E15 (E5-576-392H) is a bargain laptop that delivers solid productivity performance. Given its low price, mainstream users may be willing to overlook the laptop’s extra weight, so-so display and lack of keyboard backlighting. But if you have any high-demand applications (or a bit of a gaming bug), it would be better to consider one of its pricier cousins. 

Note: This review is part of our best laptops roundup. Go there for more information about competing products and how we tested them.  

Price and specifications

This $379 Acer Aspire E15 (E5-576-392H) comes with an 8th-generation, dual-core Core i3-8130U processor (which sits on the low end of Intel’s line of Core CPUs for laptops), 6GB of DDR3 RAM (up a couple of gigabytes from last year’s budget model), and a 1TB hard drive. For visuals you get a 15.6-inch HD (1920×1080) display, integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics (so don’t expect much in the way of gaming), and a feature that you’ll have a hard time finding on a laptop anymore: an honest-to-goodness 8X DVD-RW optical drive.

We’ll dive into benchmark numbers in a minute, but based on the raw specs, the 8th-gen Core-i3-powered Acer Aspire E15 stacks up nicely as an everyday workhorse, perfect for web browsing, productivity applications, casual photo editing and even spinning your old DVDs. That’s a pretty impressive package for a sub-$400 laptop, and it’s easy to see why this model regularly sits at the top of Amazon’s laptop best-seller list.

If you’re looking for a peppier Aspire E15 that can handle more CPU-intensive tasks and even some gaming, you can spring for a $599 version (The E5-576G-5762, which we’ve reviewed), which boasts a quad-core Core i5-8250U processor, a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card, a 256GB solid-state drive, 8GB of RAM, and a better IPS-technology screen. There’s also a $799 Aspire E15 that ups the ante with a Core i5-8550U CPU.

Design

Measuring 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches and weighing about 5 pounds, 1 ounce (or 5 pounds, 10 ounces if you include the 65-watt power brick), the Core i3-8130U version of the Acer Aspire E15 looks and feels almost identical to last year’s budget model—which is to say, sleek and professional but unquestionably on the heavy side. While the Aspire E15 is no ultraportable, good luck finding a slim-and-light clamshell with similar specs for anything less than double the price.

acer aspire e15 e5 576 392h keyboard top lid detail Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Acer Aspire E15’s etched lid looks both understated and professional.

The E15’s etched lid looks understated and reasonably stylish, while the brushed aluminum finish of the palm rest looks pretty sharp. The plastic feel of the E15’s shell may give it away as a budget model, but the laptop as a whole still feels reassuringly sturdy, complete with a stiff display that barely wobbled as I typed. My only real complaint (a repeat from last year) is that the slide-out DVD tray feels worryingly flimsy.

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