Acer has been a great manufacturer when it comes to providing lightweight and portable laptops that don’t cost a lot. Their Aspire 3 lineup has seen many improvements over the long period of time that it has existed. Today we have the 2021 version, which we will compare against its predecessor.
Starting from the exterior, the design seems awfully familiar, as both laptops look very similar. As these devices are targeted towards a younger audience and are situated primarily in the budget market, you shouldn’t expect premium materials, as the body is mainly made out of plastic. The best that you could hope for is a metal lid, but that’s it. Regardless, you should expect a well-built device, with a few bends here and there, as this is a fairly thin and lightweight notebook. The new machine has a mechanism that lifts up the base when you open the lid, which in turn gives the fas more room to breathe and improves the ergonomics when typing. Weight and height-wise, the new device is 200 grams lighter, which is a lot, while retaining the same height of 19.9 mm.
The display situation is vastly improved for the new model year. The older device had a single option for a 15.6-inch Full HD TN panel, which even in 2020 shouldn’t be passable. The new device has two choices with either a 768p TN panel, which you shouldn’t even consider, or a Full HD IPS panel, which should have comfortable viewing angles and be bright enough to satisfy your desires and expectations. IPS panels also generally produce better colors.
The specs are also greatly improved because the new laptop implements the Tiger Lake chips, which are some of the best processors that Intel has ever made. They come to replace the Ice Lake CPUs, which never really took off. The Tiger Lake processors definitely have the performance to back the claim that Intel put out with even the Core i3-1115G4 offering enough power to handle daily tasks with ease and even dabble in some video editing, which still will be slow, but still doable. If you want more performance, there are the i5-1135G7 and the i7-1165G7, which are the real deal and can handle heavy workloads.
The graphics inside the Tiger Lake chips are also much better than the ones inside the Ice Lake CPUs. Intel has done a tremendously great job with the Iris Xe Graphics, which are the most powerful iGPUs on the market right now. They can even rival some discrete GPUs. You can even do some gaming with them, with some of the most popular games like CS:GO or DOTA 2 or even some AAA titles from past years. If IGPUs aren’t your thing, Acer is offering you a discrete GPU option, in the face of the MX350, which replaces the MX330 from the previous year’s device.