Specialist laptops will become mainstream or that's the thinking behind Acer's new ENDURO N3 model. This is a very sturdy laptop design. For those who are not in an air-conditioned office and may face the weather while they work.
The amount a business spends on a computer just so that it breaks down without being repaired due to accident or carelessness is huge, so asking for a little more for a solution with a longer life expectancy makes economic sense.
But with most system makers embracing laptops that can be taken anywhere, what makes the Acer ENDURO N3 is different and worth considering?
Price and availability
Acer makes a narrow suite of N3 hardware, and our review model is one of two new SKU's they've just added. The starting point for this machine is £899.99 in the UK and $1,099.99 in the US (excluding local taxes). But European machines only have Core i3-class processors, where the US version offers the Core i5 for that price. Enduro N3 can be found directly from Acer or through local retailers, who may offer lower prices or higher specifications specifically for them.
Before dissecting this design, it's a good idea to understand where the N3 fits into the larger Enduro picture. The bottom rung is an 8-inch semi-rough tablet. The T1 is then on it are the 10-inch T1 and T5 models. The T5 is the first fully sturdy Enduro design and has 14- and 15-inch T7 options on it. The semi-rough torch is handed over to the 14-inch N3, and this is the largest semi-rough design that is being sared. Acer's definition of semi-rough is that the hardware has passed some of the MIL-STD-810G tests commonly associated with being dropped. It also has IP53 certification. It is defined as being protected from the entry of limited dust and protected from water sprays less than 60 degrees from the vertical. It doesn't make the N3 waterproof or sink. But it doesn't matter if you are exposed to a light rain shower while using an outdoor machine.
Rancangan Acer Enduro N3
With a sturdy design, the first aspect of the N3 that stands out is not too heavy. It displays all the classic motives of a tough computer. Such as rubber corners and waterproof port covers. But at just 1,985kg, it's one of the lightest we've ever tested. The 14-inch IPS panel is bright and colorful, and the incredibly strong hinges allow it to be laid to the level with the chassis.
Because of that screen's range of movement, the back edge of the N3 has no port on it, and all connections are exclusively on the side. There are no fewer than five rubber-coated port covers that can be easily moved. To reveal a total of eleven ports below, three on the left and two on the right. In some cases. As in the case of a Smart Card reader slot, the cover only reveals one item. And elsewhere, there are as many as three ports underneath.
We have used other machines with port covers that are easy to open nails, but the one Acer uses here is very easy to open. Our only reservation about them is that if they don't fully sit when closed, they won't offer as much protection from the influx of moisture and dust as they can.
Another possible place to enter is a large thermal exhaust that is at the bottom and extends to the rear edge. The 50mm fan sucks in air from under the N3 and then, once heated, ejects it through the slot at the back. That avoids the excess heat we've seen with the lower port. Although to give enough permission for air to flow on the back legs of the N3 extended. In our initial reconnaissance, we only saw two things we weren't particularly interested in. The first is the odd left offset touchpad under the keyboard.
Statistically, most users will use the right hand, this is not ideal. Its placement makes for a comfortable place on the right. For a fingerprint reader that is compatible with Windows Hello, but it damages the touchpad. Since most use fingerprints very rarely and touchpads most of the time, that choice doesn't make sense. Our other red flag is an electrical connection that uses one of the pin-barrel containers that is very easy to break. The plug on the cable of the small external PSU ends with an L-shaped spin. That avoids power connections being accidentally detached if the laptop is moved. However, this creates excessive force on the inflow if one tries to go with the machine while still connected. It often results in a plug, port, or both being damaged. That this machine has a USB-C port that is not used to charge. This is very disappointing, and Acer needs to throw the ERA of PC connectors into the past.
Here is the Acer ENDURO N3 configuration sourced from TechRadar
:CPU: Intel Core i5-10210 processor
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM, can be increased to 32GB
Screen: IPS 14.0" screen
Storage: M.2 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x HDMI, 1x VGA, 1 x universal audio jack, 1 x SD card slot, 1 x Smart Card reader, 1 x RS232 port, 1 x RJ45 Ethernet
Connectivity: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1, Intel XMM 7360 Global LTE-Advanced
Camera: 1x Camera & RGB Microphone
Security: Acer Bio-Protection fingerprint solution, featuring Windows Hello Certification Authentication
Weight: 1,985 kg (4.38 lbs.) with 3-cell battery pack, one SSD
Size: 306.5mm x Depth: 207.5mm x 17.7mm (P x L x T) Battery: 3-cell Li-ion Battery 48 Wh
Acer Enduro N3 hardware
How these specifications look to users will depend entirely on the type of work they do, and how much performance they need to complete their workload. For public office use,
This quad-core and octo-thread CPU may be too powerful. But anyone who needs video acceleration will find that GPUs are sorely lacking because Intel doesn't consider video performance worthy of its importance. Acer does offer this design with Nvidia GPUs, but the power variation is so low that it's not worth the extra cost of that option.
The best technology in the N3 is an excellent screen and the latest Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 chipset that enables good wireless network performance when connected to a precisely defined router. What's disappointing is the selection of USB ports that fail to include even one 3.2 Gen 2 port. Having a USB-C port is nice, but it should be 10-Gbit or ideally, Thunderbolt