Acer Aspire 3 (A315-41-R98U) Overview


Acer’s Aspire 3 is a big-screen finances laptop computer that delivers a roomy 15.6-inch show, a cushty keyboard, and horsepower for productiveness work—and even a bit extra. Our $529.99 assessment mannequin (Acer’s identifier is A315-41-R98U), based mostly on an AMD Ryzen CPU with on-chip Vega graphics and an SSD boot drive, dips beneath $500 at instances from retailers, and it retains tempo with different low-end and mainstream machines, together with a number of priced as excessive as $700. Earlier than you get too excited a couple of $500 laptop computer sparring up to now above its weight class, although, know the value mandates some sacrifices. The show is uninteresting and a rough 1,366-by-768-pixel native decision; the battery life is hours shorter than competing fashions; and the touchpad is subpar. The Aspire 3’s uncooked compute and graphics energy for the cash is admirable, however an upsell to a mannequin just like the Asus VivoBook S15 will fulfill extra people.

Ryzen Pep in an Plain Shell

On the Aspire 3, the one departure from the fundamental black of its plastic enclosure is a brushed-texture sample on the lid and keyboard deck. In any other case, the Aspire 3 is about as vanilla as black laptops come. Silver Acer logos on the lid and backside bezel, plus a pair of AMD stickers beneath the keyboard, are the one exceptions to the monochrome design.

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At 4.3 kilos, the Aspire 3 forces you to hold a number of extra ounces than the three.7-pound Lenovo IdeaPad 530S or the three.97-pound Asus VivoBook S15 ( at Amazon)(Opens in a brand new window) , two different late-model 15-inch finances laptops. At an inch thick, it is also a bit thicker than these two fashions. It measures 15 inches huge by 10.4 inches deep. With the mix of its thickness and the skinny plastic used for the chassis, the Aspire 3 feels puffy, a bit just like the laptop computer equal of a bag of potato chips earlier than you open it.

Acer Aspire 3

That stated, the hinges that maintain the show really feel sturdy sufficient. They maintain the show in place with little to no wobble and provide assuring resistance when adjusting its angle. Though the keyboard deck and again panel flex inward a bit if you grip the laptop computer and decide it up, the keyboard itself feels strong beneath my fingers. I am a heavy-fingered typist, and I felt no give as I thundered away on the keys.

Acer Aspire 3 profile

The important thing motion is quiet and gives good journey, for a responsive really feel. The important thing structure feels roomy, too. That’s no imply feat, given the presence of a devoted quantity pad within the key-deck area afforded by a 15.6-inch display screen.

Acer Aspire 3 keyboard

Alas, the touchpad fails to match the agency really feel or good vibe of the keyboard. The floor is free and flimsy alongside its backside edge. Additionally, when stroking it, the pad wobbles with out being clicked, which makes performing an precise click on really feel prefer it requires extra pressure than it ought to. Plus, a niche across the fringe of the touchpad will probably be a entice for crumbs and dirt.

Acer Aspire 3 touchpad

Show and Connections: The Very Fundamentals

Given the dodgy touchpad, I had hoped to keep away from utilizing it and as a substitute depend upon touching the display screen for some enter. To not be, although: This display screen will not be a contact panel, which suggests you and I are caught utilizing the touchpad, except we wish to connect a mouse.

Along with missing contact assist, the Aspire 3’s show additionally comes up brief on brightness and uncooked decision. The display screen stays considerably uninteresting even if you crank it as much as max brightness, and the native decision is a retro 1,366 by 768 pixels. A 1080p native decision is extra typical for a 15-inch laptop computer and ends in a finer image. This panel simply appears like a throwback.

The built-in webcam, too, is beneath common. It gives solely a 640-by-480-pixel decision, which delivers grainy movies. The 720p webcam on the Asus VivoBook S15 or Lenovo IdeaPad 530S is a transparent step up in image high quality.

Acer Aspire 3 display

The audio system are common, at finest. Audio output is tinny, with barely sufficient oomph to mission throughout a small room. This isn’t a laptop computer that can double as a sound system for a dorm room (few finances machines are), however its sound suffices for YouTube viewing if you find yourself seated immediately in entrance of it.

In the identical vein because the display screen, the Aspire 3’s port choice is sparse and dated. It lacks any newer-style USB Kind-C ports, and it has extra USB 2.0 ports than USB 3.0 ports. A USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet jack, and an SD card slot sit on the left aspect…

Acer Aspire 3 left edge

On the best aspect, you may discover a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and the ability connector…

Acer Aspire 3 right edge

Cooling vents cowl almost half of the underside panel, and huge vents take up half of the again fringe of the laptop computer, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to carry when carrying the closed laptop computer beneath your arm. That is extra visible venting than regular for a laptop computer with a mainstream cellular CPU and built-in graphics, however could also be a consequence of the particular Ryzen chip used right here.

Acer Aspire 3 bottom panel

Along with its sea of venting, the underside panel hides an uncommon function for a finances laptop computer: two small panels that afford quick access to the reminiscence and onerous drive (or moderately, to a tough drive bay). The compartments’ lids are every held in place by a single screw. Behind one you may discover the reminiscence modules, and behind the opposite is an empty 2.5-inch drive bay.

The Aspire 3’s boot drive is a 256GB solid-state drive that lies elsewhere on the motherboard, so you’ll be able to add a second drive (a Serial ATA 2.5-inch onerous drive or SSD) to spice up the storage. That is really a uncommon perk in a finances laptop computer, and the concept of a decent-size boot SSD paired with a roomy onerous drive (yow will discover 1TB 2.5-inch onerous drives for $50 or so) is a gorgeous deal.

Extra Energy Than a Typical Finances Banger

PC Labs would not get to see almost as many AMD-based laptops as Intel-based ones, so this Ryzen 5-based unit is of particular curiosity.

I in contrast the A315-41-R98U to a bunch of competing Intel-based machines in the identical normal pricing sphere. The Aspire 3’s AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor competes immediately with the Intel Core i5-8250U CPU that is in the remainder of this lot. The competing laptops’ core parts are outlined beneath…

Acer Aspire 3 (Configuration Chart)

With its mixture of a quad-core/eight-thread Ryzen 5 CPU and a speedy SSD, the Aspire 3 felt peppy for fundamental duties. Home windows booted shortly, apps loaded with snap, and I discovered a good diploma of multitasking attainable earlier than efficiency began to bathroom down (and the cooling fan kicked in). On the responsiveness entrance, that is no budget-laptop canine. Too lots of the exterior {hardware} bits give away its entry-level standing, however its efficiency isn’t any slouch for the cash.

PCMark 10 (Productiveness Take a look at) and PCMark 8 (Storage Take a look at)

PCMark 10 and eight are holistic efficiency suites developed by the PC benchmark specialists at UL (previously Futuremark). The PCMark 10 check we run simulates totally different real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate general system efficiency for office-centric duties comparable to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, Net looking, and videoconferencing. The check generates a proprietary numeric rating; increased numbers are higher. PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a Storage subtest that we use to evaluate the pace of the storage subsystem.

Acer Aspire 3 (PCMark chart)

The Aspire 3’s PCMark 10 rating of three,163 was throughout the margin of error of a lot of the scores of the Core i5-8250U-based laptops, together with an Optane Reminiscence-equipped Aspire 5 that options solely 4GB and a slower onerous drive paired with the Optane module. Because of its speedy SSD, the Aspire 3’s PCMark 8 Storage rating was squarely in the midst of the pack.

Cinebench R15

Subsequent is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 check, which is totally threaded to utilize all out there processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU moderately than the GPU to render a fancy picture. The result’s a proprietary rating indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.

Acer Aspire 3 (Cinebench chart)

The Aspire 3 turned in a robust second-place exhibiting on Cinebench, trailing solely the overachieving Asus VivoBook S15. You would not wish to spend a day in a video-editing suite with the Aspire 3, however it does have the muscle for the occasional video-editing job with out making you look ahead to lengthy stretches for it to complete rendering.

Photoshop CC

We additionally run a customized Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. Utilizing an early 2018 launch of the Artistic Cloud model of Photoshop, we apply a collection of 10 advanced filters and results to an ordinary JPEG check picture. We time every operation and, on the finish, add up the full execution time. This job stresses CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, however it may additionally reap the benefits of most GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters, so techniques with highly effective graphics chips or playing cards may even see a lift.

Acer Aspire 3 (Photoshop chart)

The techniques had been tightly grouped on our Photoshop check. These finances laptops are able to some modest Photoshop work with out making it really feel too laborious.

Graphics Assessments

3DMark Sky Diver and Hearth Strike

3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting. We run two totally different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Hearth Strike, suited to several types of techniques. Each are DirectX 11 benchmarks, however Sky Diver is extra suited to laptops and midrange PCs, whereas Hearth Strike is extra demanding and made for high-end PCs to strut their stuff.

Acer Aspire 3 (3DMark chart)

The Ryzen 5 CPU contains AMD’s built-in Radeon Vega 8 graphics silicon. Now, this isn’t the equal of the Radeon RX Vega graphics on AMD’s desktop video playing cards, however within the uncommon instances PC Labs has gotten to check laptops powered by cellular Vega, it has pleasantly shocked. (For instance, see our assessment of the 2018 Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.) Right here, it is clearly nicely extra succesful than its built-in Intel competitors. The Aspire 3 posted 3DMark scores that had been almost double that of the Intel-based techniques.

Unigine Superposition

Subsequent up is one other artificial graphics check, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition check renders and pans by an in depth 3D scene and measures how the system copes. On this case, it is finished up within the firm’s eponymous Unigine engine. This totally different 3D workload state of affairs gives a second opinion on the machine’s graphical prowess.

Acer Aspire 3 (Superposition chart)

You will not mistake the Aspire 3 (or any laptop computer with built-in graphics) for a gaming machine, after all, however the Aspire 3 did put up increased body charges on our Superposition benchmarks than the Intel-based finances laptops. Nonetheless, with body charges beneath the 30fps aim for easy gameplay even at 720p, you may must maintain your gaming expectations in test.

Battery Rundown Take a look at

After totally recharging the laptop computer, we arrange the machine in power-save mode (versus balanced or high-performance mode) and make a number of different battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown check. (We additionally flip Wi-Fi off, placing the laptop computer in Airplane mode.) On this check, we loop a video—a domestically saved 720p file of the Blender Basis brief movie Tears of Metal—with display screen brightness set at 50 p.c and quantity at 100% till the system conks out.

Acer Aspire 3 (Battery Rundown test)

The great efficiency information for the Aspire 3 ends right here. It lasted solely 5 hours and 33 minutes, at the very least three hours shorter than the next-best laptop computer on this aggressive set. Notably, the Asus VivoBook S15 endured greater than twice as lengthy.

These Good Guts Want a Higher Physique

Because of its AMD Ryzen 5 processor and built-in Vega graphics, this Aspire 3 loadout impresses with some very well-rounded efficiency for a finances machine. The increase that the Radeon Vega 8 graphics confers is particularly important. Kudos go to AMD for the core {hardware}.

Alas, the battery life and the physique are less than snuff. Many customers can swallow this form of abbreviated battery runtime in a big 15-inch laptop computer, because it is not all that moveable and can spend a lot of its life plugged in. However even for an entry-level machine, the Aspire 3’s design is, nicely, uninspired. The uninteresting, low-resolution show and rackety touchpad make a advice troublesome. The Editors’ Alternative-winning Asus VivoBook S15 S530UA retains its belt as our present finances decide. It is well worth the added funds for its sleeker design, superior show, and related efficiency.

Acer Aspire 3 (A315-41-R98U)

Execs

  • Ryzen CPU/Vega graphics ship spectacular pep for worth.

  • Snug keyboard.

  • Simple RAM and storage upgrades.

  • Empty 2.5-inch drive bay.

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Cons

  • Quick battery life.

  • Boring, low-res display screen.

  • Flimsy touchpad.

  • No USB Kind-C ports.

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The Backside Line

This AMD Ryzen-based model of Acer’s Aspire 3 finances laptop computer gives wholesome pep for the cash, however the touchpad, the battery, and the 15.6-inch show let down the workforce.

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