This review was posted on Amazon's product page for the Acer E5-573G on 2016-03-12. Direct link to the review.
This review is for the Acer E5-573G-52G3 laptop computer purchased 2016-02-15, sold by and shipped from Amazon.com. This product family is currently the value leader in the categories of desktop replacement and entry level gaming. Overall the machine is excellent, but with a few compromises that have to be taken into account. I'm giving it 4 stars.
I use my laptop 100% in Linux (OpenSuSE 42.1) for software development, document preparation, system administration across the net, and web page maintenance.
You get unbeatable bang for the buck.
Aesthetics. We can debate whether you want your new laptop in crow color, but if you can accept that black is beautiful, Acer's industrial designer has done a good job making it look handsome, not tacky. This model has a charcoal color keyboard deck; Amazon stocks a few models with white decks.
Touchpad. Out of the box in Windows 10 and Linux it is very civilized and I have not been tempted to change the speed and acceleration. Compared to my old Sony Vaio it is much more resistant to stray touches and palm strikes. The reviewer who was bothered by swoopy and twitchy behavior needs to get into the Pointer Options property tab and restore the defaults, i.e., slow it down to about 50%, and put back Enhance Pointer Precision (i.e. acceleration). To get three buttons in Linux see the synaptics man page, the SoftButtonAreas option. Percent dimensions recommended.
Con factors -- as always, it's a lot easier to criticize than to congratulate.
Display. For my use case the screen is fine, but you aren't going to
be doing digital art on this screen. You should do it on a different
machine, like I do. The colors on other displays are
looks like the lightness is turned up, reducing the saturation. On Linux
as a future project I can make my own CMS matrix and I hope to be able to
de-tweak the colors. For viewing angles, horizontally the colors are
reasonably constant in +-20deg and I call them legible in +-60deg.
Vertically there is really no constant color range; call it decent in +30
to -20deg and legible in +45 to -35deg. An IPS display would be so much
nicer, and the small extra cost would definitely be worth it. Suggestion
to Amazon: commission products with upgraded screens, particularly for the
The Case. I look back fondly to the Dell Inspiron 3800 (year 2000): after removing one screw you could just slide the drive cage out the side, which is important when sending the machine in for warranty repair. The bottom had a door closed by one screw behind which you had easy access to the memory sockets and the BIOS battery. To get the bottom cover off the Acer you need to remove 21 screws and then you get to deal with the grabbers. But I've seen worse -- disassembling the Acer is at least feasible.
Keyboard. The keys have a good feel, don't miss keystrokes, and don't double strike. But they are noisy, and this will bother some people's wives.
Battery. It is not removable, so you could not take a spare battery with you, and you have to disassemble the machine to disconnect power. On a related point, battery life is reasonable but far from spectacular; I measured 2.4 hours playing MPEG-4 continuously, 18 watts measured. Estimated for software development etc. is 2.7 hours (16W); the estimate for Windows similarly lightly used is 4.8 hours (9W). There is a PC Magazine review of this machine where they played MPEG-4 continuously in Windows for 8 hours. Obviously Windows knows some power management tricks that Linux doesn't.
Hurdles for the Linux user, which you will need to work around:
GPU. The nVidia GeForce 940M (GPU GM108M) is fine in Windows but is not recognized by current versions of xf86-video-nouveau for Linux. The usual way to handle this is to install the x11-video-nvidia package, which downloads the nVidia proprietary driver. Beside security and political issues, this driver is fixated on the distro's stock kernel, which does not support Wi-fi and the touchpad [see below for workaround]. However, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000 is completely adequate for desktop replacement uses and appears to be as good as the old Vaio's GPU (which was bought as a gaming machine).
Wi-fi. The laptop uses the Qualcomm-Atheros QCA9377 chip, which is
quite new. If you reinstall Windows it may or may not be necessary to
download a recent driver (I didn't test). On Linux the ath10k_pci driver
is used, and it gained support for this chip starting in kernel 4.4.0, the
most recent. In the likely case that your distro is not up to the minute in
the kernel version and you wish to use the stock kernel, the Atheros
community has an aggressive backport program, and Ubuntu 15.04
Vervet (not OpenSuSE) includes the backported driver with the official
Touchpad. Similar to Wi-fi, it's working in kernel 4.4.0 and not in 4.1.5. Edit: this is a bad interaction with a touchpad firmware bug. In BIOS set the pad for Basic mode and it will work including acceleration and scroll gestures. Earliest report found that it works: kernel 4.0.8.
UEFI booting. My distro has a signed kernel image and supports UEFI booting, including Secure Boot, and the installer can be UEFI booted, but so far I have not figured out the secret to making the installed OS boot on this machine, and nobody else reports success. You will have to use legacy booting for Linux. BIOS version 1.25 has a bug that prevents reading a partition table with Linux partition types. It's essential to upgrade the BIOS (using Windows) before trying to install Linux. Version 1.35 is current, and works for me.
Suspend to RAM or Disc. Both were tried in Windows 30 times in succession with no failures. The outcome was not so good in Linux; it appears that there is yet another BIOS bug, which Windows must compensate for. On line power if you suspend to RAM or disc the machine always freezes. You need a hack script that takes the non-boot CPUs offline. See the Arch Linux wiki page for Acer Aspire E5-573. With this script, hibernation (S4, suspend to disc) worked 30 times in succession. S3 (suspend to RAM) had about 10% probability of not waking, when I left it asleep or awake for 15 seconds at each step of the test. I repeated the test with 5 minutes per step, and it woke 30 times error free, which is a very welcome development.
So my conclusion is, this machine has a lot of good features, but there are some significant issues on which you will have to be willing to compromise, and Linux support has not caught up to some important features.