I experience new adventures with the Acer Enduro Urban N3 outdoor laptop
The Acer Enduro Urban N3 is a real outdoor notebook despite the very low price of around 700 euros. Neither rainwater nor falls can harm it. And the laptop only weighs around 2 kilograms. Today the device accompanies me on my hikes and bike tours in nature – and these are my experiences.
Unfortunately, my last laptop didn't have a long life. A cup of accidentally spilled coffee was enough to roast the motherboard. You may know it from my article Why 2019 is a Great Year to Buy a Notebook .
Now I could either stop pouring coffee on my laptop, I thought – or I could get one that wouldn't break right away. The Acer Enduro Urban N3 made the decision for me. The right laptop for the new coffee machine , so to speak.
I shouldn't let the Acer fall into the Elbe – but the Hanseatic rain may come. Picture:
But it's not just about coffee. Normal notebooks are incredibly sensitive. A few raindrops and a fall from waist height can be the end of it. And a city like Hamburg with its fickle weather knows no mercy. Here it goes from rain to eaves, from sunshine to storm surges in a few minutes. For me, laptops are primarily work tools and not lifestyle jewelry. No matter how pretty they look and have glowing logos, they have to work reliably in the end.
Finally an affordable outdoor laptop
But so far, outdoor devices such as the Panasonic Toughbook and the rugged laptops from Dell have cost several thousand euros and weighed over 3 kilograms. Yes, such models are a little more robust, and even better protected against the ingress of water. But also much heavier and bulkier. For the average outdoor biker and hiker, the IP53 protection and the MIL-STD-810H certification of a device like the Acer Enduro Urban N3 are probably sufficient. It has coverable connections, a waterproof fan and 4-corner protection.
The corners are secured against falling … Image:
… and the top against rain. Picture:
The drops are allowed to come – provided the closures are sealed. Picture:
In a promotional clip for a previous model with different connectors, Acer throws it on the ground, freezes it, heats it in desert temperatures and bathes it in floods of water. It's not guaranteed that it will withstand as much as in advertising, but it's enough for me that I don't have to worry about everyday outdoor life. Or simply when I'm sitting on a bench somewhere in Hamburg.
Easy to upgrade and repair
Incidentally, the bottom of the laptop can simply be screwed on. You can upgrade the RAM with two bars up to 32 GB, which I have also successfully done. And you can swap out the M.2 SSD. The battery seems easy to remove, but I haven't tried that. Since the mainboard is exposed under the cover, you should protect the underside of the device from water entering. Only the top and the sides can withstand this.
In terms of connectivity, Acer listened to the reviews of the previous model. There is an HDMI port, 3 x USB-A 3.0, a Gigabit LAN port, a headphone jack and even a current Thunderbolt 4 port. You could theoretically connect external graphics cards to the laptop via this. You can also charge the device via Thunderbolt 4, alternatively you can use the power supply connection. The full-fledged SD card connection is also really practical for an outdoor laptop. So you can edit the photos from the wilderness on the device. My photos from the Nordheide, which I have linked below, prove that this also works wonderfully.
The laptop can cope well with rain … Image:
Manually closable plastic flaps are used for sealing. Picture:
This includes modern connections such as USB 3.0, HDMI … Image:
… and next to an SD card slot even the brand new Thunderbolt 4th picture:
Another USB port can be seen on the right, the Kensington lock further back (not in the picture). Picture:
Practical in outdoor use
The rest of the technology has also been thought out for outdoor use. The 14-inch full HD display achieves a brightness of 450 nits, which is good for a laptop and sufficient for working outside. The brightness is only a bit too low for direct sunlight at noon. The power-saving and powerful Tiger Lake chips from Intel ensure performance. You can choose from i3, i5 and i7 chips. Thanks to the M.2 SSD memory, my i5 model starts up extremely quickly.
Thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, there are also current standards in wireless connectivity for fast Internet and a stable connection to Bluetooth headsets. I can type well and quickly on the illuminated keyboard; the touchpad with two separate keys is sufficiently large. Only fingerprint readers and smart card readers are reserved for the N3 model without the "Urban" addition in the title. Finally, the Acer Enduro Urban N3 is compatible with the upcoming Windows 11, it comes with a TPM 2.0 module and the other features.
The Acer laptop was allowed to accompany me into the deepest forest near Buchholz in the Nordheide … Image: © / Andreas Müller 2021
Even if it is difficult to capture in photos, I could read the display well in the forest. Image: © / Andreas Müller 2021
When the midday sun is not shining on the screen, it is easy to work outside with the laptop. Image: © / Andreas Müller 2021
The Acer Enduro Urban N3 survived at least one visit to the Hell Gorge. I cannot say what it would look like in hell itself. Image: © / Andreas Müller 2021
The laptop is very light for a device of its kind at 1.86 kilograms, but the difference to the modern 1-kilogram laptops can already be seen in the backpack. If you never use your laptop outside, you don't necessarily need the heavy padding and covers of the Acer. Finally, there is the design, which is somewhat reminiscent of that of children's notebooks. This is due to the fact that these are just as often sturdy and often have padded corners. I don't mind, but there are certainly more fashionable laptops out there.
Conclusion: Equipped for excursions
Work anywhere – the Acer Enduro Urban N3 takes the "New Work" principle literally. Even if I only use it privately myself. Picture:
The outdoor laptop is a perfect addition to hiking equipment. Picture:
In addition to hydration bladder, camera and co. the laptop takes up space in the hiking backpack. Picture:
Just work carefree outside – that alone is worth a lot. Picture:
The Acer Enduro Urban N3 is a well thought-out and affordable outdoor laptop. It can withstand rain showers, dust and falls and is not only ideal for adventures in the wilderness, but also for a visit to a Hamburg park bench. After all, people like to be surprised by rain, storms or hail here. Normal laptops would be destroyed very quickly under such conditions. In this respect, I gave the Acer Enduro Urban N3 the rating: Hanseatic laptop. But apart from my personal preferences, it is simply a good outdoor laptop for the average user.
Acer Laptops Buy Now at
|I liked that||I didn't like that much|
|+ Protected from rain showers and falls||– Design looks a little childish|
|+ Still not too heavy and thick|
|+ Thunderbolt 4, SD card reader, Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5.1|
|+ Easy to upgrade and repair|