The Acer Aspire R11 is an 11.6 inch notebook with a touchscreen display and a 360 degree hinge that lets you use the computer like a tablet. It’s a relatively low-cost device, with prices starting at about $330 in the US.
For that price, you get a computer with an Intel Braswell processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. Want to make some changes? It’s pretty easy to perform upgrades.
Acer loaned me a demo unit to review, and one of the things I wanted to find out was how easy it would be to open up the case and perform upgrades. While my demo unit arrived with 4GB of RAM, the chipset can support up to 8GB.
So I flipped the computer over onto its back, pulled out a screwdriver, and set to work removing the 12 screws holding the bottom cover in place.
Each of those screws is in a pretty deep well, so you’ll need a magnetic screwdriver, a pair of tweezers, or some other sort of prying tool to get the screws out. You could also just flip the laptop over when the screws are loose, but you run the risk of losing some that way.
Once the screws are out, feel around the sides of the case and try to pry the plastic cover from the bottom of the laptop. I found the easiest place to start is near the Ethernet, HDMI, and USB ports. Once the first part snaps off, you should be able to sort of feel your way around the rest of the case to get the rest open. You need to apply a little pressure, but don’t push too hard if it feels like the plastic is going to snap.
Got the cover off? OK. So where’s the RAM?
It’s easy to spot the 2.5 inch hard drive on the right side of the photo above, even though it’s covered by a little sheet and a cable. The RAM? It’s hidden underneath that RAM-sized metal box.
You can lift up this protective shield with your fingers to reveal the SODIMM slot. Pop out the 4GB of memory that came with the laptop and you can slide in an 8GB stick.
When you’re done, make sure to align the metal cover with the little catches that hold it in place.
Replacing the hard drive is probably a little trickier, since you’ll need to remove the cable that covers it. Since I plan to return this demo unit when I’m done testing it, I didn’t bother risking damage to the cables to do that. But it’s nice to know that the hard drive is easy to reach, which means you should theoretically be able to swap out the HDD for a faster SSD or a higher-capacity hard drive.
And that’s it. Put the plastic cover back on the bottom, tighten the screws, and you should be able to turn the PC back on and bask in the glow of extra memory.
Does the system need more RAM? That’s up to you to decide. In my testing, the computer offers competent performance as a low-cost laptop, but I’m not entirely convinced by its tablet features. Stay tuned for more details in Liliputing’s full review, coming… soon.