£280 inc VAT •

Tech Advisor - - GROUP TEST -

Acer’s Ex­tensa EX2508-C3QZ is a ba­sic bud­get busi­ness lap­top, although its no-non­sense val­ues may ap­peal to any­one look­ing for a cheap Win­dows lap­top. It has an equally ba­sic In­tel Celeron pro­ces­sor and low-grade 15in dis­play, although a 1TB hard disk, DVD drive and 8GB of mem­ory may help dis­tract from other short­com­ings.

Build and de­sign

The all-plas­tic case is matt plas­tic from top to bot­tom, with a light tex­tur­ing to help with pur­chase when han­dling. Weigh­ing 2.2kg and just over 26mm thick, it’s a chunkier mass than to­day’s pop­u­lar ul­tra­porta­bles, but about av­er­age for the tra­di­tional class of 15in­screen gen­eral-pur­pose lap­tops.

Most of the ports are ranged along the back be­low the screen hinge – power in­let, au­dio head­set, HDMI and eth­er­net, plus one each USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

On the left side is an SD card slot and another USB 2.0, while the right side is host to the in­creas­ingly rare tray-load DVD drive. Like most such mech­a­nisms to­day, it can write to dual-layer DVD RW discs. For Wi-Fi, the Acer has a rudi­men­tary sin­gle-stream 11n adap­tor.

The Ex­tensa is sim­ply built, which is ev­i­dent from the solid un­der­side that of­fers no easy way in to up­grade mem­ory or even change bat­tery. Any up­grade work would re­quire re­mov­ing 18 screws to strip down. The key­board and num­ber­pad stretch across the top deck of the Ex­tensa, with deeply-sprung tiled keys that proved ex­cel­lent for easy typ­ing. The track­pad was, how­ever, nearly un­us­able due to a bro­ken right-click but­ton that clunked on each press. It’s a large com­po­nent at 106x78mm, and but­ton­less to fol­low the cur­rent

Build Fea­tures Per­for­mance



fash­ion even if real but­tons work bet­ter on low-grade track­pads fit­ted to cheaper lap­tops. If this unit had been a per­sonal pur­chase, it would have been hastily re­turned as de­fec­tive.


Screen qual­ity was av­er­age for the cat­e­gory, which is to say rather poor. The res­o­lu­tion is coarse at just 100ppi, the colour qual­ity lousy with only 57 per­cent cov­er­age of sRGB, and the con­trast ra­tio is low at just 80:1. View­ing an­gles are also lim­ited by the bud­get TN tech­nol­ogy, if not as bad as the worst we’ve seen.

In the Geek­bench 3 test, it scored 1053- and 1850 points for sin­gle- and multi-core modes, low scores roundly bested by even a two-year old iPhone 5s (1415- and 2550 points). Look­ing at the com­plete sys­tem rather than just CPU and RAM, PCMark 8 Home scored the Acer with just 1239 points in its Ac­cel­er­ated test.

Nei­ther bored busi­ness types nor home users should get ideas about any gam­ing from the Ex­tensa 15’s in­te­grated In­tel graph­ics. In our starter test with Bat­man: Arkham City at na­tive screen res­o­lu­tion of 1366x768 and Low de­tail, it man­aged only 12fps. Drop­ping down to 1280x720 brought the av­er­age up to a still un­playable 14fps.

The bat­tery life was more sat­is­fac­tory though, at over seven hours in our stan­dard stream­ing-video test. VER­DICT: Be­ware of qual­ity-con­trol is­sues on an oth­er­wise just about ser­vice­able Win­dows lap­top. The Ex­tensa keeps the price and per­for­mance low with its cheap com­po­nents and free Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem, but at just £280 it should prove pop­u­lar.

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