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on 18 September 2014
For what it is, this little notebook is great - it is very light, quick, has a reasonable screen and very good battery life.
the processor and RAM are very good for such a little thing.
I bought it to take on holiday as a cheap and portable little PC - due to the good battery life it doesn't need charging often and is very lightweight so ideal.
It is a bit plastic, but has survived it's first trip to Iceland without a problem.
Within a few days I also had the same problem with the mouse going mad but after installing all the Windows updates the problem went away. I think if you were going to use it often you'd want to use a normal mouse anyway. the mousepad initially feels a bit loose but it's because you click on the mousepad rather than with a separate button.
It has USB sockets so I can plug in a GPS, SD card reader to transfer your photos and HDMI out to plug it into your TV. Everything you could need for just over £200 - bargain.

As others have said, Windows 8.1 is annoying but if you press the start button you can get back to a Windows 7 environment and it comes with a built-in program called Pokki that is a good replacement for the old Windows 7 startbar.
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on 5 October 2014
Having owned several netbooks, I was intrigued by the latest generation of cheap, lightweight Windows laptops. I've had this Acer a couple of days now; I like it, but it's not without minor flaws. I hope the following review can help people decide whether it's for them.

Why did I buy it? I wanted a lighter machine than my 13 inch Acer (Timeline 8371), which after four years still has good battery life, but its large battery makes it a bit heavy for going further than the local cafés. I want to be able to walk around with a machine that doesn't make its presence felt. I also need reasonable battery life, a good-enough processor, a non-reflective screen, and, perhaps most importantly, no annoying fan noise. The E3-111 promised all this and pretty much delivers, at a good price. The supplied 4GB RAM is generous for this kind of machine, and most people won't use it all in normal operation. The 500GB drive puts a lot of expensive ultrabooks to shame, even if it is a conventional drive and not an SSD. Another advantage over expensive machines is that it doesn't have a ridiculously high resolution screen that sounds great on paper, but ends up causing problems for applications that aren't adapted for it. So there are good reasons to look at this machine even if you're also looking at far more expensive small-screen laptops.

I removed much of the bloatware early on. I don't like intrusive security software so I uninstalled McAfee – Windows has some basic anti-malware built in, and personally I'd rather take the remote risk of having to reset the machine to factory settings rather than have my new gadget slowed down by constant file scanning. I've had maybe one Windows virus in 20 years. If the Acer is for a relative who tends to click on any link in random emails, you may want to keep McAfee.

I replaced the Pokki start menu replacement with Classic Shell, as that's what I'm used to. Windows 8.1 then becomes at least as pleasant to use as Windows 7, and there's no need to see the dreaded Windows Store (Metro) apps in normal use.

I ran Windows Update several times and let it get up-to-date. It takes a while...

It's worth making a recovery disk, in case the hard disk fails or you wish to reset it for resale or other reasons. You need a flash drive for this, since DVDs are not big enough these days. I bought a 16GB MicroSD card for a fiver and plugged it into a full-size SD card adapter. This way I can reuse the card in a phone or other gadget if I no longer need it for Acer recovery. Run Acer Recovery Management and click on Create Factory Default Backup to start making the backup.

For those worried about touchpad problems, here are a few tips.

* Get your machine up-to-date via Windows Update – the version of the touchpad driver will then be the same as the latest one on the Acer site, so there's no need to download it manually. (I can't verify whether my machine started off with the latest driver before updating.)

* Reduce the pointer speed by one notch in mouse settings, via the control panel. Leave the pointer precision setting (actually pointer acceleration) checked. This will make the pointer less likely to move accidentally when clicking.

* To left-click, tap the touchpad instead of clicking. Pushing the touchpad down can move the cursor, causing frustration, so tapping is much better.

* To right-click, tap with two fingers, or use the menu button to the right of the Alt Gr key.

* To scroll, drag up and down or left and right with two fingers. This is easier than grabbing the scrollbar.

* To drag, for example moving a window or marking a selection, tap the touchpad and then quickly start dragging (tap-tap-drag). This is equivalent to dragging with the left mouse button pressed.

* Use the keyboard whenever possible. For example, use Alt+Tab to cycle through active windows, use tab to cycle through controls in a dialog, and use Ctrl+Enter to dismiss a dialog instead of pressing OK. Find out what the shortcuts are for your favourite software.

Once you've got used to this way of working, you won't be so tempted to plug in a mouse!

The keyboard is adequate with not much travel – sometimes the space key fails to register, but a firm tap normally does the trick, so it's probably a matter of becoming accustomed to a new keyboard. For me, missing spaces are getting rarer. The positioning of the hash key so close to the enter key is a strange choice – it looks as though Acer is trying to fool you into thinking that there is an extra-large enter key. But it's not a big problem. It's harder to get used to the cursor key layout, in particular the placing of the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys. But again, you do get used to it eventually. Apart from the cursor keys, the keyboard doesn't feel cramped.

Performance – it's pretty good. Netflix runs flawlessly, with surprisingly clear and powerful sound from the bottom-mounted speakers. The machine generally doesn't feel slow and LibreOffice runs fine (I'm resisting the temptation to install Microsoft Office on this computer).

It even runs Visual Studio 2010 without difficulty; compiling a large C++ application was about 25% slower than on my 13” laptop, but that's not bad for a budget machine. Installing an SSD would probably improve the performance and battery life for this kind of use, but for now, debugging, editing and relinking is perfectly fast enough if you don't expect everything to be done instantly.

Battery life – it's slightly disappointing compared with my wife's Chromebook (also made by Acer) but it's enough for several hours of compiling and editing; my brain will run out of juice before the laptop does. It's fairly quick to recharge and the charger is quite small and light, so not too intrusive if you want to take it with you. You can conserve battery life by switching off WiFi (Fn+F3) and turning down the brightness (Fn+Right Arrow). Acer have thoughtfully provided a way to turn off the screen backlight (Fn+F6) so you can conserve battery juice while getting coffee or figuring out your novel plot. Pressing any key or touching the touchpad wakes up the backlight. As a very rough indication of battery life, 2.5 hours of mixed debugging and word processing reduced the battery to 65% from fully charged, with a fairly bright screen and WiFi switched off.

The screen is at the edge of what my no-longer-young eyes can cope with, being 1366x768 at 11.6 inches. So, everything is a bit smaller than you may be used to on a 13 inch-plus screen; but you can increase the zoom in web pages and word processors, so it's not a big problem. You can also change the DPI setting in Windows to increase text size, but that tends to cause ugliness in a variety of applications so I've left the settings alone. The screen is matte – hurrah – but Acer have put a shiny, dust-attracting bezel around the screen – boo. Adjusting the screen angle slightly to avoid glare from the bezel will sometimes be needed.

I can't say what the long-term reliability will be but for now, I give it the thumbs-up – it's quiet, light, cheap and a whole lot more powerful than netbooks used to be.
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on 14 October 2014
This is a great laptop for its price; I got it for £219.

For £219 it would be stupid to expect £800 worth of laptop but you do get a decent machine for your money. I got this laptop because my primary 15.6inch laptop is too bulky to carry around university all day and I needed a lighter replacement, this one is perfect for that task. A chromebook was out of the question because I needed to be able to run Visual Studio, Netbeans, IntelliJ IDEA etc.

The machine is very light as many people have previously mentioned but so too is the power brick... it's tiny which can only be a positive thing. The battery life is adequate I get around 5 hours usage, on battery saving. I'm sure better machines will give you a better mileage in this regard.

The keyboard takes a few minutes to get used to, the space bar sometimes doesn't register unless you hit it close to the center but I've not had any serious problems in using it. The touchpad isn't great but I haven't had the issues with it that others have mentioned.

It comes with a whole bag of bloatware pre-installed, all the same usual offenders. But what cheap laptop doesn't these days. It can all be easily removed using pcdecrapifer and some many labour in about 10 minutes.

This laptop isn't built for gaming, that is obvious. It's fast enough for most tasks but don't expect too much from it. It's great as an "out of the office" type machine but personally it can never replace my primary laptop. If you can get it sub £250 then I can happily recommend it.
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on 19 February 2015
Great small laptop. Good price and smart looking.
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on 23 September 2014
I could say a lot about the positive points of this great little laptop, but I want to address a problem that is aggravating a lot of people who have Acer Aspire machines of the E3/V3 and E5/V5 series and maybe others too.

There are many complaints about the touchpad being skittish, freezing, or plain not working. Here's how to fix it:

1. Go to the Acer support site for your locale, type in your model number (E3-111 in this case) and download the latest BIOS update. Update the BIOS. Reboot.

2. Download the latest Synaptics driver from the Acer support site and install it.

3. Install all Windows updates. Reboot.

You should now have a working, less skittish touchpad. But when you look in Device Manager, you will only see an HID-compliant mouse listed under Mice and other pointing devices. The Synaptics driver will appear under Human Interface Devices. That is by design, it's not an error. I spent a wasted day installing various drivers over and over trying to get Synaptics touchpad to appear in Mice and other pointing devices - can't be done.

What we have is a 'precision' touchpad, not a full-blown Synaptics one. It's far less configurable. To adjust what little you can, open Charms by swiping in from the right of the pad, then choose Settings>Change PC settings and search for Touchpad. The result will take you to the configuration dialogue for mouse and touchpad.

Hope that helps.
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on 9 October 2014
I have now owned this computer for about 2 weeks. I didn't buy it on Amazon, but rather from Staples at a price of just £199 with Microsoft Office 2013 (Home and Student) thrown in for free in my case. Be aware though that Staples do not usually provide this software free. It was just a special little deal for me. The machine comes in several colours and I have the blue which I think is the most striking. Indeed, many people think it's an expensive model and are rather surprised to find I got it so cheaply. It has a good and bright (sometimes a little too bright) non-reflective screen. However, it is not really a matte screen as such. You could call it a non-relective glossy screen. My 5 year old Samsung netbook has a proper matte screen and that never shows reflections of any sort. In certain conditions, this computer screen does show some very faint reflections, but they are hardly noticeable.

The machine runs on Windows 8.1. The first thing I did was download Classic Shell which gives you Windows XP-style start-button menus. In fact, there is even one option that haven't seen since the days of Windows 98. I would highly recommend downloading that software since it will be dead simple from then to operate this computer without a touchscreen and without ever needing to swipe even the touchpad and with no keyboard commands to remember. Indeed, I can honestly say that I haven't found Windows 8.1 much of a challenge at all. The tabs are different and so is the appearance of folders, but, all in all, it operates just like previous versions of Windows.

It comes with Acer sofware, Internet Explorer, Spotify, Cyberlink Photo Director and McAfee. I uninstalled McAfee and downloaded Kaspersky 2015. It is better in my opinion. The battery lasts a long time (about 5 hours) and it has loads of ports, including 3 USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI, SD Card Reader and headphone jack. The keyboard is good enough, but with so many ports, you could always connect an external keyboard too. I do sometimes at home.

I love what it looks like and think it's quite a bargain. It may not be the world's fastest computer, but it's good enough, given the price. However, an Intel Pentium version also exists. That would certainly be faster. However, I am not sure whether it is on sale in the UK though.
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on 10 October 2014
Had this a month, impressions so far
- incredibly lightweight and good battery life
- screen resolution good and the display is excellent for this price
- sound is easily loud enough to watch video, suprisingly good given its small size
- can't say fan noise bothers me much, but this is silent
- I like the silvery finish; obviously not top quality but, once again, for the price, the design is well executed.
- my first experience of Windows 8 and I can't see what some people are moaning about; this has 8.1 and mine booted straight to the desktop out of the box; once you set that up, hardly at all different to previous versions. Just ignore all the apps/metro/tile stuff if you don't like it.

- only real dislike is the touchpad. As some people have described it, it is definitely 'skittish'. See some of the other reviews for details on how to improve on this.
- despite good dual processors, it's not fast. Streams video (e.g. iPlayer or netflix) perfectly well, but graphics can be slow on some programmes. I fiddled with the graphics cards settings and sacrificed a bit of quality for speed.

OVERALL - for the price, I think it's great. My first Acer and I have to say I'm impressed. If, like me, you still want a machine with a hard drive and able to run MS Office offline, this is megavalue for your £££s
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on 5 September 2014
For the price its definitely great value for money - decent screen, lots of memory, Windows 8.1 (almost as good as XP and still supported) and a zippy CPU. Thankfully not too much "bloatware", mostly Apple-wannabe apps by Acer that can be easily removed. On the downside I don't like the cheap keyboard (no touch typing on this) and the "precision touchpad" seems to be anything but - the lack of physical buttons is a particular problem. I'm using a USB mouse but would prefer not be.
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on 16 January 2015
This is decent little computer for travelling or working on the go. It's small enough to fit in a good size handbag or backpack, lasts up to five hours, charges quickly and runs every programme you'll need. In terms of specs you'll be hard pressed to find something better for the price. My only hardware gripe is the touchpad -- as many have noted, this is not up to scratch, with scrolling not working on mine. I have yet to try out the remedies suggested by other reviewers, but I used a mouse a lot of the time anyway (and there's always pg up/down). For the price, I was willing to put up with this. My other gripes are more software related: yes there is quite a bit of bloatware, esp. McAfee slows the computer down a lot (I uninstalled it and replaced it with AVG). Also, with 8.1 apparently the Skype app needs to be linked to your microsoft account to work?? (I've fixed this replacing it with the 'traditional' Skype for desktop and have created a local user account rather than a Microsoft user account.) Nonsense like that is annoying, but it doesn't detract from the fact that I can now easily bring my work to any location. This is too small to be a home computer, but for portability it's fabulous.
ps. tip for those of you who only need Office sporadically and don't want to pay the full (expensive) programme: get LibreOffice instead, it's free and nearly identical.
*update: have since discovered that the touchpad *does* in fact scroll - but only if you scroll using two fingers at the same time!
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on 21 February 2015
This laptop does not warrant the effort to spend much time reviewing it, other than to send out a warning to you ...

Firstly, the track pad is nigh on useless. It is temperamental and jerky. Downloading the suggested (by Amazon support) synaptics driver made no noticeable difference. Trying a work around I bought a Logitech Bluetooth mouse, but when the laptop freezes that is rendered redundant too. A usb mouse seems the only usable interface .. which kind of misses the point of having a track pad at all!

As to the construction? I came to use it this morning and noticed that it was rocking as I typed. When I took a look at the base, it had warped diagonally which was the problem. I stick the notebook in a protective neoprene sleeve and then in a carry case ... so trying to minimise the risk of damage. Basically its about as robust as a sheet of cardboard!

So why even two stars? Well, it was cheap, it mostly works and has not yet burst in to flames. But if one more thing goes wrong then (just for the personal pleasure of it) I will likely be setting it on fire!

My advice, stay clear and spend your money more wisely.
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