A rugged notebook on a budget
Recently when Acer unveiled its 2020 laptops, among the new devices is the Enduro N3, a rugged notebook for those working outdoors in accident-prone environments.
The Enduro N3 is one of five new rugged devices unveiled by Acer, three of which are tablets. Aiming to balance durability with portability, the N3 is surprisingly light for a laptop that promises to survive in harsh conditions. The 4.4-pound machine has a 14-inch, 1080p display, up to a Core i7-10510U CPU and promises up to 13 hours of battery life.
I’ve been using a pre-production unit of the Enduro N3 for the past few days, and overall I have good things to say about it. Again, this is not a production unit. With that in mind, I’ll give you my general feelings about the machine. Our team will also review the other Enduro products Acer introduced, so you can decide which one is right for you.
Acer has designed these devices for professionals who have to work with their equipment outside the office, in environments where normal devices would break easily. And in the case of the tablet, also for children who are used to carrying them around.
- 1 Acer Enduro N3 Technical Features & Specifications
- 2 Enduro N7 vs Enduro T5 vs Enduro T1
Acer Enduro N3 Technical Features & Specifications
|PROCESSOR||Up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7|
|MEMORY||Up to 32GB DDR4|
|GRAPHICS||Nvidia GeForce MX330|
|STORAGE||Up to 1TB SSD|
|CONNECTIVITY||USB Type-C port, Thunderbolt 4, SD card slot.|
|WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY||Intel Wi-Fi 6|
|AVAILABILITY||During the third quarter of 2021|
The main feature of the Acer Enduro Urban N3 is its highly resistant exterior, although it can also boast quite powerful technical features. This 14-inch device includes anti-fall reinforced corners, waterproof ports, speakers, buttons and a fan, and even a drainage system to expel any liquid that penetrates inside.
Its resistance is such that it has obtained MIL-STD 810H military-grade certification, which endorses its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, higher drops, splashes and dust.
All this external reinforcement means that its weight and dimensions are somewhat greater than those of recently released laptops, as it weighs 1.85 kilograms and is 21.95 millimeters thick.
Beyond its sturdy frame, the technical features of the Acer Enduro Urban N3 notebook are also remarkable. This device incorporates processors up to the 11th generation Intel Core i7, depending on the model chosen, and integrates an Nvidia GeForce MX330 graphics, an SSD hard drive up to 1TB and 32 GB of DDR4 memory, powerful hardware that offers ample possibilities for demanding workloads and heavy programs.
In terms of connections, it has USB Type-C port, Thunderbolt 4, SD card slot and Intel Wi-Fi 6. Its display is IPS FHD (1920×1080) with 450 nits of brightness that allow it to offer sharp and well-contrasted images even in bright outdoor conditions. Acer claims that it can reach a battery life of up to 13 hours.
Price and Availability
Before we move on, let’s take a look at the Enduro N3’s price and availability. Acer Enduro N3′ is available worldwide right now as it begins shipping in August at a starting price of approximately $900, which is very affordable for such a rugged laptop.
I’ll break down the other Enduro models later in this post, but just note that pricing and release date have already been revealed.
Acer Enduro N3 Design
My initial reaction was “this feels like one of those cheap rugged Chromebooks”. I’m not saying it’s offensive, just the Enduro N3’s plastic materials and reinforced rubber corners remind me of some rugged Chromebook models. Compared to other high-end rugged laptops, the Enduro is slimmer and sleeker.
To achieve its IP53 water resistance, the Enduro N3 has rubber covers over the ports to seal them against water ingress. In terms of aesthetics, the Enduro N3 is a thick rectangle in black and gray with a basic, utilitarian design. The lid has a subtle Acer logo and a woven texture that should help prevent accidental drops.
There’s a fingerprint sensor inside for quick and secure login and discreet left and right click buttons so you can operate the laptop with wet fingers.
At 13.8 x 9.7 x 1 inches and 4.4 pounds, the Enduro N3 is a bit thick but quite light for such a rugged machine. For comparison, the Dell Latitude 5420 comes in at 6.2 pounds and 13.7 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches.
Acer Enduro N3 Durability and Safety
With its reinforced corners and rigid plastic chassis, the Enduro N3 is rated MIL-STD-810G impact resistance. Acer didn’t specify from what height (and I wasn’t allowed to do my own fiendish drop tests), only that the shock-absorbing materials can withstand “drops, falls, and water”.
The Enduro N3 has a Corning Gorilla Glass display with giant bezels to protect the edges, and what Acer calls an Aquafan, which expels water from all angles.
The Enduro N3 feels like a structurally rigid laptop; the platform doesn’t flex when I press on it, and the hinge feels stable. There is some flex in the lid, so I expect some improvements to be made in the production version.
As mentioned above, the Enduro N3 has an IP53 rating, which means the laptop is protected against dust and water spray for three minutes when tilted at a 60-degree angle. This means the Enduro N3 should survive a brief rain shower, but you don’t want to submerge it in a pool. This is the same rating as our current favorite rugged laptop, the Dell Latitude 5420.
Inside, the Enduro N3 is protected by a TDP 2.0 chip, which ensures that all data is encrypted before being transmitted. There are also password-protected hard drives, a fingerprint sensor and AEMS, a platform for managing and securing a large fleet of laptops.
Acer Enduro N3 Display and Keyboard
The Enduro’s 14-inch, 1080p display gets very bright, so you should have no trouble seeing outside. That said, we weren’t able to do any quantitative testing on this pre-production unit, so we’ll have to wait to see exactly how many nits it hits.
Don’t expect to get the best picture quality for streaming videos and movies. While the screen looks good for web browsing, the colors look pretty dull. They aren’t washed out, but they definitely lack pop.
The keyboard feels great. The keys are bouncy and appropriately sized. Only the top row has undersized keys and, rather annoyingly, the power button key is placed next to delete .
Acer Enduro N3 Performance and Battery Life
The Enduro N3 runs Windows 10 Pro and is powered by 10th generation Intel CPUs. You can equip the laptop with an Intel Core i3-10110U CPU, a Core i5-10210U CPU, or a Core i7-10510U CPU.
RAM can be configured for up to 16GB, but there are two slots for up to 32GB if you want to upgrade. Storage goes up to a 1TB SSD or 1TB HDD, while graphics are limited to Intel UHD or Nvidia GeForce MX230, a low-end discrete GPU.
My specific unit included a Core i5-10210U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and Intel UMA graphics. I had no problems browsing the web with multiple Chrome tabs running in the background. I even watched some YouTube videos and didn’t notice any sluggishness.
Acer advertises the Enduro N3’s battery life at up to 13 hours. Of course, your battery will vary depending on your work, but you can expect to get at least a few hours out of the N3 before rushing to a power outlet.
Enduro N7 vs Enduro T5 vs Enduro T1
The Enduro N3 is just one of the new rugged notebooks from Acer. The Enduro N7 is the more expensive sibling of the Enduro N3. It offers increased durability and a 14-inch display that achieves 700 nits of brightness.
Designed for first responders and industrial manufacturing workers, the N7 is not as portable as the N3, but is IP65 certified for improved water resistance. The N7 has two batteries, one of which is hot-swappable for up to 10 hours on a charge.
Acer also introduced the Enduro T5, a 10-inch tablet designed for industrial and warehouse work. It also has a hot-swappable battery with MIL-STD-810g and IP65 resistance. Interestingly, it runs on an older 7th Gen Core m3 CPU, so don’t expect the best performance.
And finally, there are two versions of the Enduro T1, a tablet designed for use with gloves. Available as a 10-inch windows
Enduro T1 Technical Specifications
|DISPLAY||10-point touch, 1920x1200 with 450 nit brightness|
|BATTERY||Up to 8 hours|
|CAMERAS||Rear: 5MP, Front: 2MP|
|SOFTWARE||Android 10 (Go Edition)|
|AVAILABILITY||During the third quarter of 2021|
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