Acer’s Aspire 5 is a mid-range laptop with all the features you’d expect from a laptop for everyday use and a mediocre level of gaming. The laptop offers a compelling price coupled with average performance in gaming and productivity, perfect media playback, and good battery life.
Among the budget laptops under $500, the Aspire 5 has been a good choice, providing users with access to a laptop that can easily handle everyday tasks from productivity work to web browsing. I purchased the previous Aspire 5 in 2018. Since then, the product has been updated with a more modern look and enhanced hardware. Here is a review of the newest Aspire 5 model, the A515. Acer’s budget lineup just got better? During the past week, I have been testing whether this laptop is worth your money.
Laptops, like Acer Aspire 5 laptops, are often overlooked due to their midrange price tags. The reason is that PC users sometimes opt for the premium options to dominate the gaming world, while others, due to budget issues, choose gaming laptops under $500 to meet their needs. As a result, the mid-range laptops generally go unnoticed, despite their excellent price-performance balance, making them a good investment for many users. The Acer Aspire 5 has long maintained this balance, offering its users solid performance, high-end components, and an affordable price.
It features an 8th-generation Intel Core processor and a great set of features that make it a good choice for everyday laptop computing. It might be just the right laptop for you if you don’t need video editing or designing and drafting.
Following are the exact specs found in the Aspire 5 review unit.
|Model||Acer Aspire A515|
|Material||Aluminum lid Plastic chassis|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||11th Gen IntelCore i3-7100|
|Threads||4 threads Up to 4.1GHz|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Integrated|
|Display||15.6 inches1920x1080 (FHD), Aspect ratio16:9|
|Storage||256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, And a 2.5-inch HDD slot available|
|Audio||Dual stereo speakers with Acer TrueHarmony|
|Ports||1x USB-C 3.2, USB-A 2.0, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, Ethernet|
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 Bluetooth 5.1|
|Security||Kensington lock slot|
|Weight||3.64 pounds (1.8kg)|
|Dimensions||14.31 x 9.39 x 0.70 inches(363.4mm x 238.5mm x 17.9mm)|
Price and availability
With its price starting at around $400 for, Aspire 5 A515-51-50Y5, the machine comes in different configurations and features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, Core i3 7100U processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, integrated graphics, and 256GB SSD. However, in the UK, the model with similar specs comes except for an older i3-6006U processor at £469.99.
Above the budget mark, Acer offers the most promising options, including Aspire 5 A517-51G-8433, which features a 17.3-inch 1080p screen with a Core i7 8550U processor and 12GB RAM, and Nvidia’s MX150 GPU at a price under $1000.
In terms of design, the Aspire 5 is what you would expect from a laptop in its price range. This isn’t the most flashy laptop, nor is it as light as the Dell XPS 13 or the Asus ZenBook 3. Nonetheless, it is not an ugly or bulky laptop. The Acer Aspire 5 measures 2.16 x 38.16 x 26.3cm and weighs 2.20kg (4.85 pounds) in terms of dimensions and weight. Unlike some other large laptops, it’s not much heavy to carry. Nevertheless, you might find it hard to get your laptop out and work on a crowded train.
Despite its understated appearance, this is a nice-looking machine. In addition to the reflective Acer logo, the lid features a textured plastic finish and an Acer logo made out of plastic.
A closer look at the laptop indicates a decent-sized screen surrounded by thick bezels to make the mounting easy and give the chassis a sturdy look. On the plus side, it means that the laptop’s bottom half can have a full-size keyboard, which we’ll discuss shortly.
Another benefit we experienced with the large bezel at the center is that the webcam can be placed there. And, I think this is the perfect place to position a webcam for a clear view.
Acer’s logo is engraved on the bottom bezel, along with an Aspire logo on the laptop hinge – a nice touch. Fortunately, the hinge allows for proper screen adjustment at a range of angles, but this isn’t a laptop with a convertible screen, such as Acer’s Spin 7 series – for that, you’ll need a laptop with a convertible screen.
To offer a range of connectivity options, the Aspire 5 features a USB-C, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet and SD card ports.
Although the USB-C port is a welcomed future-proofing addition, we wished to see one USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports.
Touchpad and Keyboard
The bottom half area of the laptop, including the keyboard and touchpad, is built with brush-finished plastic material. The feel is pleasant despite not being as premium as aluminum.
This is not the most responsive and satisfying keyboard we’ve tested due to its flat keys with short distances, but the keys ensure that the keyboard is comfortable to use for typing. Overall, it was a keyboard with silent keys for having a fantastic experience while typing and gaming.
As the Aspire 5 is somewhat a large form factor, the machine has a larger touchpad placed at the bottom center of the chassis.
With its large size, multi-finger gestures like zooming out by pinching your fingers together are pretty straightforward. However, the larger size may cause some people to accidentally let their palm rest on it while typing, causing the cursor to move around the screen. In addition, the Aspire 5’s touchpad feels cheap and plastic when pushed, which is sad since the rest of the machine avoids it.
|Cinebench CPU:||292 points|
|GeekBench 4||Single Core 4175; Multi-core 13976|
|PCMark 8 (Home Test)||2440 points|
|PCMark 8 Battery Life||6 hours and 40 minutes|
For the most part, the Aspire 5 is a laptop that’s good for day-to-day tasks. The blazing-fast SSD kept Windows 10 feel fast, while the 8GB of RAM and the quad-core Intel processor helped us with multitasking and, to some extent, for above-average gaming. Although the Aspire 5 isn’t quite as fast as some of the more expensive laptops, it’s just fine for general Windows desktop use.
We have already mentioned that in a model we tested, the SSD kept things running quickly. So, if you have an extra budget, we’d recommend installing an additional Hard-Drive with an SSD. The reason is that the 256GB SSD on our Aspire 5 was already filled at the bottleneck, and no space was available for installing any apps or media. So, you may find that you need an external hard drive to save room for your apps and media.
It has a decent IPS screen with a disappointing lack of a decent contrast compared to other laptops we’ve tested. Despite this, the FHD (1920 x 1080) screen is a welcome addition to watching movies and photos with a much better look than laptops with lower resolutions. This laptop’s screen features Acer’s Color Intelligence Technology, which, according to the company, dynamically adjusts its gamma and saturation to produce an optimal picture.
We weren’t impressed with the screen; however, it does have Full HD resolution; but, if you need to edit videos or photos, you need to find a better alternative.
It’s important to note that if you’re a professional gamer looking for a high-end option in this range, you are probably at the wrong place. Although the integrated Intel HD graphics will handle photos, videos, and maybe a few low graphics games, modern AAA titles are not designed to run well on this laptop because such games require high-end graphics cards like RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090. However, the choice is yours; this is the best budget laptop that you can buy for day-to-day tasks and a mediocre-level gaming experience.
With the PCMark 8 battery test, which simulates medium to heavy use, the Acer Aspire 5 lasted six hours and 45 minutes. Even longer battery life is possible with a dimmed display and with less web browsing activity.
The power-efficient processor and excellent battery life should at least let you last the whole workday on a full charge, as opposed to some laptops. The battery on the Aspire 5 gave us plenty of time to work on it during our day-to-day activities.
However, charging the battery takes some time – about three hours to fully charged.
Other than the poor touchpad, the Acer Aspire 5 has a good build quality and excellent design. This laptop has a wide range of ports, making it a perfect choice to use with some peripherals, and the battery life is excellent. Our tests showed that it was also quiet and cool.
Aspire 5 is a good value for its price, including some modern features and new components.
We didn’t like
There’s something unfortunate about the touchpad that reminds you this is not a premium laptop. As well, we didn’t like the screen with low contrast.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
The Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable mid-range laptop with a sturdy build and current components.
You can probably find an Aspire 5 model that fits your needs and budget because many configuration options are available. While the Aspire 5 that we tested was not too powerful graphically, some models have dedicated graphics cards.
The battery life of the Aspire 5 was perfect, so it’s definitely worth your consideration if you want a budget laptop that will handle day-to-day tasks without constantly plugging into a power socket.
Nevertheless, suppose you want your laptops to handle heavy tasks like playing modern AAA games or editing heavy images and videos. In that case, you will need to look elsewhere.