Acer Enduro Urban N3 Review: Slim, Lightweight Rugged Laptop From Only RM2,799
September 9, 2021 Andrew Cheng

If you think of durable, rugged laptops, there’s a good chance a big, bulky machine comes to mind. But that doesn’t apply to the new Acer Enduro Urban N3. Sporting a 21.95mm chassis that tips the scales at only 1.85kg, it’s quite a lightweight laptop in this particular segment.

While it does have a number of shortcomings in a couple of areas, the Enduro Urban N3 is a great option for those who want a rugged laptop that can take a beating or two. On top of that, it’s quite an affordable machine too.

What It Is

Display14-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-1165G7 (4C/8T, 2.8GHz with boost up to 4.7GHz)
GPUIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage512GB SSD
Dimensions351 x 245 x 21.95 mm
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers
Ports3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1x SD card slot

We received the range-topping Enduro Urban N3 for this review, which features a Core i7-1165G7 processor paired with 8GB of RAM for RM3,699. There are also two other more affordable models: the Core i3 variant with a Core i3-1115G4 processor and 4GB of RAM costs RM2,799, while the Core i5-1135G7 configuration (also with 4GB of RAM) retails at RM2,999.

With a RM2,799 starting price, the Urban N3 is really quite an affordable laptop with a reasonably good list of hardware, though we’d definitely recommend upgrading the RAM to 8GB if you want to get the more budget-friendly models.

The Good Stuff

The main highlight of the Enduro Urban N3 is its rugged nature. Thanks to a MIL-STD-810H certification and an IP53 rating, it can survive some water splashes and the occasional dings. In the event that you do drop it, the four corners of the laptop are reinforced with rubber bits to minimise damage.

Aside from that, the Urban N3 itself feels solid. Granted, most of its chassis is made out of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap. Besides, by using this lightweight material, the weight of the laptop is reduced accordingly. Sure, 1.85kg doesn’t make it the lightest laptop in the market, but it’s certainly lightweight for a rugged laptop.

Not only is it relatively lightweight, the Enduro Urban N3 is not ridiculously thick either with a 21.95mm chassis. Again, not the thinnest laptop in the market, but you’d be hard-pressed to look for another rugged laptop with a thinner profile.

In the performance department, it goes without saying that the Core i7-1165G7 processor is able to keep up with my productivity needs. The 512GB SSD storage – available on all variants of the Urban N3 – ensures that applications and files load up very quickly too.

Speaking of productivity, I’m quite impressed with the battery life of the Enduro Urban N3. Even though its 48Wh battery isn’t particularly sizeable, I can consistently get about eight hours of use on a single charge. I got this level of battery life by setting the power plan to battery saver, with the screen dimmed to a comfortable level.

While eight hours of use falls short of Acer’s lofty quoted battery life of up to 13 hours, this is still respectable battery life for a productivity-focused laptop.

The Bad Stuff

My main qualm with the Acer Enduro Urban N3 are its input devices; more specifically, the finicky touchpad. For some reason, the trackpad doesn’t feel very responsive at times. Not only does it have trouble registering double clicks, it has issues with two-finger scrolling as well.

As for the keyboard, it doesn’t have much key travel, so it provides a shallow typing experience. If you plan to do a lot of typing on this laptop, you may want to try out the keyboard for yourself first to see if you’ll be comfortable with it.

Now, it’s safe to assume that a rugged laptop like the Urban N3 is meant to be used outdoor, so I don’t understand why it has such a glossy 14-inch 1080p IPS display. because of this, glare from the sun can be quite an issue with this panel. It would’ve been better if the screen had a matte finish instead.

Is It Worth It?

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a durable, rugged laptop, the Acer Enduro Urban N3 is still a great option. While its input devices aren’t particularly good, it’s a reasonably slim and lightweight rugged laptop – the same can’t be said of many other laptops in this segment.

Plus, one of the best selling points of the Enduro Urban N3 is the fact that it’s a budget-friendly laptop. Depending on how much processing power you need, the most affordable Core i3 configuration for RM2,799 can be good enough for some folks too.

On top of that, even this base model is packed with a generous 512GB SSD, though you may want to consider upgrading the RAM to 8GB. The default 4GB RAM is really the bare minimum here.