Our Notebook Reviews


ACER APSIRE 5101 Review


Processor: AMD Turion 64 MK-36 2Ghz
Video Card: Radeon Xpress 1100
Chipset: Not Specified
Audio: Realtek HD Audio
Weight: 2.8 kg

System Ratings

Build Quality:
Screen Quality:
Battery Life:
Port Placement:

Where it was purchased?

Purchased From: Not Specified
Date Ordered: 2006-10-24 00:00:00
Store Comments: Not Specified

How is the service?

Pre-sale Service:
Order Ease:
Shipping Price:
Post-Sale Service:
Tech Support:

The Review

I am new to laptops and this is my first purchase. I am about to move out of a nice spacious

house probably into single room accomdation. Bearing this in mind lugging my desktop

computer and CRT monitor around everywhere was going to be a pain. I had initially set my

desktop up to be a good gaming machine but soon realised I wasn’t using it much for that. So

the laptop I was after only had to be good for basic functions, DVD, and probably TV. I

wanted as good as spec as I could get (naturally), and a must was a dual layer DVD writer.

After doing a little research I decided on an ACER ASPIRE 5101. In terms of spec it had

everything I wanted, and was a bargin at under £400.

I have now been using my laptop for several weeks and I have to say I am very impressed.

Out of the box everything seemed brand new, and where it should be with the exception of one

of the back panels covering the memory which needed pushing into place. Nothing major. The

only assemble needed was to install the battery and plug it into the mains. Booting up the

computer took it into a setup routine. This did seem to hang on the ATI catalyst program and

after ten minutes plus of waiting I aborted this process. Everything else installed without

issue and I don’t seem to be missing this piece of software.

Once the set up program installed I inspected how the system was set up. My main

disappointment was that the hard drive was in two 27GB partions. This limits the use of the

hard drive. 60GB in total is fine for me but I like to use the My Documents file setup and

whilst it was easy enough to move the default location to the blank D drive I will soon fill

up the 27GB space. Once this happens things will start to get untidy and I will have to

consider buying a new drive and setting it up how I like which will be a pain.

That gripe aside the laptop boots up quickly, has no error messages, and to date has worked

without one BSOD. Making things tidy I uninstalled various ACER utilies which was easy

enough to do and with the edition of Firefox browsing the net is now a pleasure.

The 15.4 inch widescreen display has a nice coating which gives it a crisp feel. It does

however increase the glare which is a little bit of a pain. The viewing angle I also feel is

a little limited. Whilst you can see the screen from almost anywhere the colours are only

accurately displayed from front one. Any slight difference to this angle and they become

distroted. Not a huge problem for me since I intend to be the only one using the laptop. I

have compared this with a friends entry level Toshiba and there is no difference so I think

it’s just me being fussy.

Graphically I have not tested any games, and imagine it wouldn’t be up to too much. On

3dMark 2003 it gets a score of 1391 (although this is with an extra 512MB ram on top of the

original 512MB). My old desktop was around the 9000 mark so I’m guessing Battlefield 2 will

pretty much be out of the question.

The build quality is good but not amazing. But then what would you expect from a sub £400

machine? It all works and it seems sturdy enough. I have a Logitech laser mouse to use most

of the time but then I doubt I’d get on with any touchpad for prolonged periods. One nice

touch is a scroll bar under the touch pad though. The keyboard is average – a normal desktop

keyboard is preferable but again I suspect I would have the same issues with any laptop

keyboard – it’s a good thing this review is probably the most typing I’ll do on it!

There are 3 USB2 ports which is more than enough for me. On the front are a 3.5mm jack, a

microphone jack and one other. To the side is a card reader which covers all the common

formats, most importantly for me SD. There is one PC Express slot, a network port, a modem

port and a VGA monitor port. I don’t need any more or any less than this so it’s perfect.

The DVD drive writes to dual layer at 2.4 times and whilst this is a little slow it isn’t a

problem for me. I have already made several back ups on it without any issues. At the front

are also two small speakers. As might be expected they aren’t great but it’s not tricky to

plug in something better so this isn’t an issue.

Battery life is poor – on average it will last about an hour before I need to plug in the

adaptor. Again not a huge issue for me but if I did travel with it (and it is light enough

to travel with) I would find this limiting.

I use the wi-fi feature of the laptop and it works perfectly, but I haven’t tested it over

any range exceeding one floor in my house so I couldn’t say what it’s like trying to use


To conclude I would say there are many things about this laptop which could be a little

better, HOWEVER for under £400 I am very impressed. I did not expect something which was all

singing, all dancing and makes the tea. I have got a laptop which does everything I want,

and does it quickly. It will run multiple applications without any problems or pauses

(although I’m sure the edition of 512MB ram for £15 from ebay helps with this) and boots up

in around 15 seconds which is on a par with my desktop. If you want a cheap laptop for

everyday use, excluding gaming I don’t think you can find a better laptop out there, and if

you can tell me please!

March 13, 2007 - Posted by | Acer

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