Dell and Acer are two of the best laptop brands.
Acer excels at offering a wide selection of affordable and progressive laptops. Acer’s main strength is its reputation for value for money — offering great features for a low price.
Dell laptops have a reputation for being reliable and robust with features that are consistent with the price. Dell is a trusted brand that also offers a diverse range of models and some good bargains.
Acer is a contender in terms of affordability and innovation but Dell is also forward-thinking and maintains the winner’s place for overall quality.
In this article, we’ll compare the latest models and specifications for each brand in detail for business, everyday, and gaming use.
Dell is better for overall build quality, performance, and customer service support. Whilst not famed for being the cheapest on the market, Dell can also deliver a durable, good-quality bargain.
Our top pick from Dell is the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 convertible, touchscreen laptop. Starting from $799.99 with an Intel Core i5 processor it can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics.
It’s adaptive, comfortable to use, and made from environmentally friendly materials.
Dell and Acer offer good laptop choices to suit different budgets, and both brands perform well for business, gaming, and everyday use
The Acer Swift 3 is a handy, low to mid-range laptop starting from around $600 with a Ryzen processor and a 13.5” display. It performs well enough for emailing, jumping into conference calls on the go, and everyday multitasking work.
Ample ports are included together with WiFi 6 and Thunderbolt connectivity — usually reserved for more premium laptops. Lower-spec models come with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, which can be upgraded for around $99. The inbuilt bottom-mounted speakers are of mediocre quality, but this is a fair compromise for the price.
From $1,000 upwards, Acer offers the TravelMate P6 for business travel. Weighing in at only 1.1kg and 16.6mm thickness, the 14” TravelMate P6 comes with a sleek, lightweight, and ultraportable design, 1080p webcam, GeForce MX330 graphics card, and Thunderbolt connectivity.
The TravelMate P6 is MIL-STD-810G accredited for withstanding the environmental stress of travel and includes Windows Hello 1 and fingerprint recognition security features. Overall, it has great features for such a slim, lightweight design. The main drawback is that there are reports of excessive bloatware — unwanted, preinstalled software and pop-ups, although this can be uninstalled.
Dell has a wider range of business laptop lines including Latitude, XPS, Vostro, and Inspiron. The 15.6″ Inspiron 15 3000 base model starts from around $400 with bare essential specs. Ports include HDMI but not Ethernet or Thunderbolt connectivity, which Dell reserves for higher-end models. The Inspiron 15 3000 comes with Windows 10 Pro included, so it can work out cheaper than the Acer Swift 3 depending on what you need. It also offers a larger screen.
At mid-range, the Dell Latitude 3520 starts from just under $1,000 with similar configurations to the TravelMate P6 minus Thunderbolt connectivity. It has a larger 15.6” screen and is not as slim and lightweight, but works out slightly cheaper. It comes equipped with Windows Pro and is EPEAT Gold Certified.
Overall, Dell offers quality aligned with price and in some cases, works out cheaper depending on your preferences. This puts Dell in the lead for business laptops.
Acer offers a lot of good value gaming laptops. The Nitro 5 is available with low to mid-range specs and is an entry-level range for playing games that are not demanding. Starting from just under $800, the perks of the Nitro 5 include a 15.6” HD screen display and WiFi6 connectivity.
The Nitro 5 delivers a standard 60Hz refresh rate and has lower (256GB SSD) storage compared to higher-cost models. However, this can be upgraded, and as a low-cost starting point, it’s great value for money.
The Predator Helios 300 is Acer’s mid-tier offering. With a 15.6” screen, configured with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, it delivers a 240Hz refresh rate and costs around $2,300. Benefits include strong performance and a bright and smooth display. However, this laptop has poor-quality bottom-mounted speakers and low battery life.
The most expensive, full-power gaming laptop from Acer is the Predator Triton 900. It offers an Intel Core i9 – 9980 HK processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, 3840 x 2160 screen resolution, 2 X 512 GB SSD, 32GB RAM, and Thunderbolt connectivity, and costs around $4,800. With a 17.3” screen and weighing 9.92lb, it’s a powerful and heavy machine. It has a 60Hz refresh rate due to its size and sheer power.
Dell bought high-end gaming line Alienware back in 2006 and offers its own brand G Series for a low-mid range budget. The G15 Laptop for gaming essentials is Dell’s cheapest line, also starting from around $1,000.
There’s not a huge difference in specs between the lowest priced 15.6” G15 and the Acer Nitro 5 apart from the G15 Intel Core i5-11400H processor, which is faster than the Intel Core i5-10300H when offered with the Nitro 5.
Dell’s Alienware X17 is its most expensive gaming laptop. At 17.3”, it weighs around 7.05lb and is surprisingly thin and light given its size and power. When configured with similar configurations to the Predator Triton 900, it works out around $400 cheaper.
Offered in one futuristic white color option and with Element 31 Cooling Technology, it can deliver a 120-360 Hz refresh rate depending on the configuration.
Acer’s Nitro 5 is the cheapest gaming laptop available. On a low budget, this would be a great choice. When it comes to mid-premium gaming, Dell, again, offers better overall features and build quality.
The Aspire 3 for $300 is Acer’s cheapest Windows laptop, followed by the Aspire 5 that retails for around $700 with basic specs. Both come with Intel and AMD processor options. The Aspire 3 is all plastic, whereas the Aspire 5 has a more premium sandblasted aluminum cover.
Both have an array of ports and include Bluetooth connectivity. For the price, they are both great for emailing, surfing the internet, and watching movies.
The Acer Spin 5 is a mid-range convertible, touch screen laptop from the $800 mark with an Intel i7 processor, 13.3” display screen, and metal body. The 360° hinge allows you to ‘spin’ it from a laptop to a tablet.
It promises 10 hours of battery life with full HD resolution and comes with an Acer stylus pen for taking notes and sketching.
The cheapest everyday use Dell laptop is the Inspiron 15 3000, starting from a $300 price point with a choice of Intel N Series and Intel Core processors and extended battery life.
With similar specs to the Acer Swift 3, this is a decent entry-level laptop for routine tasks. Also with plastic casing, it is well built with a matte finish and rounded front edges, so that there are no sharp edges with typing.
For a higher budget, the Dell XPS 13 starts from around $850 with a choice of up to a 17” screen, up to an Intel i7 processor, WiFi 6, Bluetooth, and Thunderbolt connectivity. With an aluminum casing and a carbon fiber palm rest, the build is also good quality.
The Dell Inspiron 14” 2-in-1 laptop starts from $800 with an Intel i5 processor. This too comes replete with a 360° hinge, ultra-narrow side bezels, extended battery life, wide-angle viewing panels, and compatibility with the Dell Active Pen.
Acer offers good choices for low-cost laptops that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. However, Dell offers better overall build quality even with budget materials and can save you a few more bucks depending on your requirements.
Acer was founded in the 1970s in Taiwan. In 2000, Acer shifted from contract manufacturing to designing, marketing, and selling hardware and software products in over 100 countries. Acer bought Gateway and Packard Bell in 2007 and as of January 2021, is the world’s 6th-largest PC vendor by a unit of sales.
Largely aimed at the low-mid range budget consumer, Acer laptops offer a wide variety of models and include features that you would not expect to find on a low-cost machine. Aesthetically, Acer adds fun and creativity through carefully selected color palettes with shades such as mist green, safari golf, and magic purple. Even the cheapest models such as the Aspire 5 come in a range of colors to pick from.
Acer joined the RE100 initiative earlier this year, committing to 100% renewable energy use by 2035. Their first ‘Earthion’ mission-inspired product committed to a sustainability focus is the Aspire Vero. With an eco-friendly design built from PRC plastic, it includes energy-saving software to extend battery life, and all packaging is 100% recycled.
There are compromises at the lowest price, but you can’t have every premium feature for a low cost, and Acer manages to add style and sustainability whilst still being value-orientated for the consumer.
Acer laptops always come with lots of ports within all price ranges. These laptops also have some ingenious ways of incorporating features that you would not expect, not just for the price but also for the size.
At just 16.6mm thick, the TravelMate P6, winner of the Good Design Award 2019 and the Red Dot Design Award 2020, is ultra-slim and lightweight. However, it houses Thunderbolt, full HDMI, and Ethernet connectivity using a clever hinge port that can open out.
Acer includes future-proof Thunderbolt ports, bringing more speed and higher performance to affordable models such as the Swift 3.
Acer offers great design choices and maximum connectivity whilst keeping costs down, proving that low-budget doesn’t have to be bland.
Our top laptop picks are:
Dell was founded in Austin, Texas in 1984 by then university student, Michael Dell with a vision that by selling PCs directly to customers, the company could better understand and therefore meet the customer’s needs. Dell became the number one computer systems manufacturer in the world in 2001 and is currently the 3rd largest PC vendor worldwide.
Dell offers high overall build quality on all its models. At the lowest price-range where cheaper materials are used, Dell still ensures that the build is as sturdy and as comfortable as possible for the user.
Low budget models such as the Inspiron 15 3000, are generally a bit bulkier and not as colorful as Acer equivalents but details such as rounded keyboard corners, which prevent sharp edges from digging into your wrists whilst typing, larger keycaps, and Dell comfort view low blue light software for eye health are included even with models as low as $299.
Dell tends to have better customer service reviews than Acer and offers a more extensive range of support options, especially for business laptops.
While both Acer and Dell offer a standard 1-year warranty with extensions, Dell’s additional Pro-support for up to 4 years, works out cheaper than Acer’s extension and includes onsite service after remote diagnosis.
Lines such as Vostra are specifically designed for small businesses and the support they need.
The design of most Dell laptops tends to be less aesthetically exciting with minimal color choices and generally bulkier machines than Acer. The user’s needs and experience are prioritized through build quality and customer support.
Our top Dell laptop picks are:
You should buy a Dell laptop for the brand’s attention to build quality, even on laptops with the cheapest specs and materials.
Dell also provides good quality cheap laptops that can, at times, work out less expensive than Acer. For business, Dell offers wider choice and generally tends to focus more on practical needs and support for the user.
You should buy an Acer laptop if you are clear about what features you need because Acer can provide you with great value and personality.
There are good mid-range options for all purposes too and premium models such as the Predator Triton for gaming certainly perform well and are a matter of personal preference for the professional gamer.
Comparisons of all the best laptop brands:
Marcus has a graduate degree in computer engineering and has many years of experience in cutting-edge technology research and development in both startups and Fortune 500 corporations. In his free time, he enjoys RTS gaming.
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