It gained’t win any velocity data, however the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ makes for a compelling bargain-priced laptop computer all the identical. This $400 mannequin of the Aspire 5 packs a roomy full-HD show and a strong dual-core Intel CPU right into a slim chassis that weighs lower than 4 kilos. Its easy day-to-day efficiency and lengthy battery life ought to hold productivity-minded customers blissful. You’ll need to accept some compromises, nevertheless, together with a cramped 128GB solid-state drive and simply 4MB of RAM.
Price and specs
Acer gives a minimum of 22 configurations in its price range Aspire 5 line, starting from $350 for a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-powered mannequin with a bare-bones 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, all the best way to $850 for a far beefier quad-core Core i7-8565 mannequin with a wholesome 12GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and devoted Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics. Most Aspire 5 variations boast a 15.6-inch show (though I noticed a minimum of one 14-inch mannequin), with a mixture of 1080p and 720p resolutions.
This $400 mannequin that we’re reviewing comes with a dual-core Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, a Whiskey Lake processor that provides a barely larger increase velocity whereas trimming the bottom clock velocity of its predecessor, the Core i3-8130U (Kaby Lake Refresh) CPU from 2017. Minor variations apart, each of those low-power, dual-core processors ship strong efficiency for mainstream computing duties like net shopping and dealing with Office paperwork, though they’ll have a tricky time conserving tempo with CPU-intensive duties like video modifying. If you’re in search of a laptop computer that may provide help to lower collectively your 4K video masterpiece, take into account a system with a minimum of a quad-core processor.
Also inside this price range Aspire 5 is 4GB of DDR4 RAM, which is…not nice, however not terribly uncommon for such an affordable laptop computer. Just bear in mind that the Acer might begin to chug should you’ve bought too many applications or browser tabs operating directly.
Similarly constrained is the mere 128GB of storage within the laptop computer’s solid-state drive, which leaves you a scant 90GB of free area as soon as Windows and different numerous pre-installed apps are accounted for. You would possibly be capable of make that work should you depend on Dropbox, Google Drive, or different cloud-based storage providers, however know that the Aspire’s 128GB SSD will refill shortly should you set up too many applications or attempt to switch your playlists and picture albums.
Back on the plus aspect is the Aspire’s roomy 15.6-inch show with Full HD (1920×1080) decision. Its built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620 can deal with some informal gaming, though not a lot past Microsoft Mahjong.
If you’re in search of a laptop computer with somewhat extra storage and energy, take into account the quad-core, Core i5-enabled model of the Aspire 5 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which we’ve reviewed here.
Generally talking, the laptops in Acer’s Aspire 5 line really feel thinner and lighter than they are surely, and this Core i3 mannequin of the Aspire 5 follows in the identical footsteps. At simply 0.7-inch thick and a shade below 4 kilos, the Aspire 5 manages to really feel moderately mild, significantly given its substantial 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.
The laptop computer’s slim aluminum lid and tapered shell offers it a classy look that belies its price range price ticket. Opening the lid reveals the 15.6-inch show with skinny left and proper bezels, a smooth Aspire emblem alongside the laptop computer hinge, and a silver-colored chassis offset by the black keyboard. If the temper strikes you, you possibly can bend the lid all the best way again and somewhat past 180 levels, which implies you possibly can lay the Aspire fully flat with the lid open.
On the underside of the Aspire 5 sits a pair of small speaker grilles close to the entrance, together with a bigger cooling vent close to the again. The complete backside panel of the Aspire may doubtlessly be eliminated by unscrewing 11 Phillips-head screws, whereas an included spare onerous drive bracket appears to trace that the laptop computer is user-upgradable. Unfortunately, when you may go forward and crack open the Aspire’s chassis your self, a message printed on the bag that holds the HDD bracket warns that doing so may void the guarantee.
The roomy 15.6-inch show is a vibrant spot, fairly actually. Measuring 267.5 nits (or candelas) in accordance with our readings, the Aspire’s show manages to barely exceed our 250-nit minimal brightness commonplace. Of course, we’ve seen far brighter screens (as in 300 nits and better) in pricier laptops, however something above 250 nits isn’t dangerous for a price range mannequin like this. Puzzlingly, the Core i5-equipped mannequin of the Aspire that we reviewed has a far dimmer show (simply above 200 nits) regardless of costing $200 extra.
We’re additionally followers of the show’s 1920×1080 decision, which is right for a display this measurement. The IPS (in-plane switching) panel gives spectacular viewing angles, making it simple to share the show with a neighbor.
Keyboard, trackpad, audio system and extras
The Core i3-powered mannequin of the Aspire 5 gives a roomy backlit keyboard, full with a slender 10-key numeric keypad. The keys themselves felt good to kind on, serving up a strong bump and satisfying rebound on every keystroke. On the opposite hand, journey (a measure of how far the important thing travels on every stroke) felt somewhat shallow in comparison with different productivity-minded laptops I’ve examined.
The Acer Aspire 5’s roomy trackpad felt easy and responsive throughout my testing, and it did a fairly good job at rejecting incidental inputs from my palms whereas I used to be typing (and certainly, its palm rejection was higher than on the pricier Core i5 model). The trackpad on this lower-end mannequin of the Aspire lacks an built-in fingerprint reader, nevertheless.
The stereo audio system on the Aspire 5 sound first rate for these on a price range laptop computer, with a good quantity of element and a splash (albeit a small one) of bass. Given that we count on subsequent to nothing in terms of speaker high quality on sub-$1,000 mainstream laptops, the Aspire’s audio system aren’t dangerous, though they’ll’t maintain a candle to exterior audio system.
The Aspire’s number of ports is fairly strong for a price range system, though there’s a minimum of one shocking omission.
Starting on the left aspect, you get a Gigabit ethernet port for wired networking (one thing you don’t usually see in a laptop computer this slim), together with a full HDMI port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, helpful for connecting the newest USB-C geared up exterior storage units (which you’ll most likely want, given the Aspire’s cramped 128GB solid-state drive) and peripherals.
On the appropriate, we’ve bought a USB 2.0 Type-A port, plus a combo audio jack.
What’s lacking? A built-in reminiscence card reader, which implies you gained’t be capable of entry reminiscence playing cards out of your digital digicam or your Android cellphone with out a USB adapter.
We pitted this Core i3-enabled model of the Aspire 5 towards a collection of different productivity-focused laptops in roughly the identical worth vary, together with a trio of older Acers, a higher-end Lenovo IdeaPad with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, and the newer Aspire 5 (the one we recently reviewed) that additionally packs in a Core i5 CPU.
While many of the laptops in our efficiency charts profit from quad-core Core i5 processors, this specific Aspire and its dual-core Core i3 chip handle to notch strong scores for the kinds of purposes that almost all of us carry out on daily basis: net shopping, coping with Office, some video chatting, and perhaps a spherical of chess or Simple Solitaire. While the Aspire’s outcomes barely lag these of different Core i3-enabled programs in our comparability, its efficiency nonetheless impressed us given its price range worth and slim profile.
PCMark 8 Work 2.0 Conventional
A check designed to imitate such mainstream purposes as net shopping, doc modifying, spreadsheet tinkering, and video chatting, PCMark 8 measures how easily a laptop computer can carry out the type of day-to-day desktop chores that the Aspire 5 was clearly designed for. Generally talking, a PCMark 8 rating of two,500 or larger means a given laptop computer ought to be capable of run Office and different on a regular basis applications with ease.
The PCMark 8 outcomes for the Core i3 model of the Aspire 5 fall within the backside third of our comparability chart, however the laptop computer nonetheless cleared the two,500 mark with out breaking a sweat. While the Core i5 mannequin of the Aspire managed to high our chart with a considerably larger rating, that doesn’t imply the Core i5’s on a regular basis efficiency is dramatically higher than that of the Core i3. In my hands-on testing, operating Office on the Core i3 and Core i5 fashions felt equally easy.
For our subsequent check, we use the free HandBrake utility to transform a 40GB MKV video file right into a format appropriate for Android tablets, a CPU-intensive job that tends to reward laptops with probably the most processor cores.
Given that the Core i3 processor on this model of the Aspire 5 is a dual-core chip versus the quad-core Core i5 CPUs that energy many of the different laptops in our chart, we’d count on the Acer to fall someplace at the back of the pack, and that’s precisely what occurred right here. The Aspire 5 even fell behind an older Core i3-powered Acer E 15 with a barely older Core i3-8130 CPU, however the E 15 is significantly thicker and heavier than the Aspire 5, which makes it a lot simpler to chill.
Keep in thoughts, nevertheless, that our HandBrake check measures the type of efficiency that almost all mainstream customers will not often use. Now, if you should edit 4K video recordsdata or crunch the numbers in a big database, then sure, spending a couple of hundred extra for a quad-core (or higher) laptop computer might be value it. But should you’re solely planning on utilizing the Aspire 5 for net shopping, Office, and perhaps listening to somewhat Spotify, a dual-core laptop computer like this Core i3-equipped Aspire 5 can be ample—and extra reasonably priced.
Another processor-intensive check, Cinebench measures how a laptop computer handles rendering a 3D picture in actual time. We run a pair totally different variations of Cinebench: one which measures how properly a laptop computer performs utilizing all its processor threads (and once more, this mode favors CPUs with probably the most cores), and one other that measures single-thread efficiency.
Once once more, we see the Aspire 5 and its dual-core Core i3 processor lag behind its quad-core opponents within the all-threads Cinebench check, in addition to behind the thicker, heavier Core i3-powered Acer E 15. However, its single-thread Cinebench result’s proper within the combine with all the opposite laptops in our chart, and that’s all that issues in terms of the day-to-day duties you’d most certainly carry out on the Aspire 5.
3DMark Sky Diver
No one ever stated the Core i3 model of the Aspire 5 is a gaming machine, because the graphics-focused 3DMark Sky Diver check makes abundantly clear. Like many of the laptops in our comparability chart, the Aspire 5 options Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics 620 core, which does the job in terms of fundamental desktop graphics and light-weight Minesweeper-style gaming. For something extra graphically intensive, you’ll must step as much as a system with a devoted graphics card.
While the Aspire 5 is available in final in our roundup, the quad-core i5 laptops in our comparability chart don’t do a heck of so much higher, particularly as a result of they’re additionally saddled with built-in graphics. Leaps and bounds forward of the remaining is the Core i5-equipped Acer E 15, the only laptop computer in our chart with discrete graphics—on this case, the entry-level GeForce MX150 card from Nvidia.
We measure battery life in a laptop computer by looping a 4K video utilizing the inventory Movies and TV app for Windows, with the laptop computer’s brightness set to about 250 nits (or in regards to the 95 p.c mark for the Aspire 5) and quantity set to 50 p.c, headphones on.
The Aspire and its 49 watt-hour battery ended up lasting about 9 hours and 45 minutes in our check, a outcome that’s bested in our chart solely by the far pricier Asus ZenBook 13 and the Lenovo IdeaPad. The Acer E 15 will get a leg up because of its 62-watt-hour battery. We’re principally speaking near all-day battery life right here, which implies you possibly can depart the AC adapter at dwelling.
The Core i3-powered model of the Acer Aspire 5 gives middling velocity, and we want it had extra storage, however this nonetheless manages to search out the candy spot between measurement, energy, and worth. For $400, you get a slim and comparatively mild chassis, easy efficiency for on a regular basis purposes, a roomy 1080p show, and loads of battery life. That provides as much as a fairly good worth.