Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ evaluation: A dual-core laptop computer that is slim, mild, and priced to maneuver


It gained’t win any pace information, 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 maintain productivity-minded customers joyful. You’ll need to accept some compromises, nevertheless, together with a cramped 128GB solid-state drive and simply 4MB of RAM.

Value and specs

Acer affords at the least 22 configurations in its finances 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 at the least 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 increased increase pace whereas trimming the bottom clock pace 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 internet searching and dealing with Workplace paperwork, though they’ll have a troublesome time protecting tempo with CPU-intensive duties like video modifying. In the event you’re on the lookout for a laptop computer that may make it easier to reduce collectively your 4K video masterpiece, take into account a system with at the least a quad-core processor.

acer aspire 5 30bq profile Ben Patterson/IDG

This glossy, Core i3-powered Aspire 5 boasts a slim profile and an aluminum lid.

Additionally inside this finances Aspire 5 is 4GB of DDR4 RAM, which is…not nice, however not terribly uncommon for such an affordable laptop computer. Simply remember that the Acer could begin to chug if you happen to’ve bought too many applications or browser tabs operating directly.

Equally 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 Home windows and different numerous pre-installed apps are accounted for. You would possibly be capable to make that work if you happen to depend on Dropbox, Google Drive, or different cloud-based storage providers, however know that the Aspire’s 128GB SSD will refill shortly if you happen to set up too many applications or attempt to switch your playlists and picture albums.

Again 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.

In the event you’re on the lookout for a laptop computer with just a little 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 right here.

Design

Typically 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 beneath 4 kilos, the Aspire 5 manages to really feel fairly mild, significantly given its substantial 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.

acer aspire 5 30bq flat Ben Patterson/IDG

You possibly can lay the Acer Aspire 5 utterly flat with the lid open.

The laptop computer’s slim aluminum lid and tapered shell offers it a classy look that belies its finances price ticket. Opening the lid reveals the 15.6-inch show with skinny left and proper bezels, a glossy 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 just a little past 180 levels, which suggests you possibly can lay the Aspire utterly 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 whole backside panel of the Aspire may probably 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. Sadly, whilst 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.

acer aspire 5 30bq bottom Ben Patterson/IDG

You might unscrew the Aspire 5’s backside panel if you happen to wished to, however doing so would in all probability void the laptop computer’s guarantee.

Show

The roomy 15.6-inch show is a shiny 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 normal. In fact, we’ve seen far brighter screens (as in 300 nits and better) in pricier laptops, however something above 250 nits isn’t unhealthy for a finances 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.

acer aspire 5 30bq bezel Ben Patterson/IDG

The Aspire 5’s show boasts strong viewing angles and skinny bezels alongside the left and proper sides.

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 affords 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 affords a roomy backlit keyboard, full with a slender 10-key numeric keypad. The keys themselves felt good to sort on, serving up a strong bump and satisfying rebound on every keystroke. However, journey (a measure of how far the important thing travels on every stroke) felt just a little 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 mannequin). The trackpad on this lower-end mannequin of the Aspire lacks an built-in fingerprint reader, nevertheless.

acer aspire 5 30bq keyboard Ben Patterson/IDG

The backlit keyboard on the Aspire 5 boasts a devoted numeric keyboard, however its design is a bit squished.

The stereo audio system on the Aspire 5 sound respectable for these on a finances laptop computer, with a decent quantity of element and a splash (albeit a small one) of bass. Provided that we anticipate subsequent to nothing with regards to speaker high quality on sub-$1,000 mainstream laptops, the Aspire’s audio system aren’t unhealthy, though they will’t maintain a candle to exterior audio system.

Ports

The Aspire’s number of ports is fairly strong for a finances system, though there’s at the least one shocking omission.

Beginning on the left aspect, you get a Gigabit ethernet port for wired networking (one thing you don’t typically see in a laptop computer this slim), together with a full HDMI port, two USB 3.0 Sort-A ports, and a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-C port, helpful for connecting the newest USB-C geared up exterior storage gadgets (which you’ll in all probability want, given the Aspire’s cramped 128GB solid-state drive) and peripherals.

acer aspire 5 30bq ports left Ben Patterson/IDG

Left-side ports on the Aspire 5 embody a few USB 3.0 Sort-A ports and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-C port.

On the correct, we’ve bought a USB 2.0 Sort-A port, plus a combo audio jack.

What’s lacking? A built-in reminiscence card reader, which suggests you gained’t be capable to entry reminiscence playing cards out of your digital digicam or your Android cellphone with out a USB adapter.

acer aspire 5 30bq ports right Ben Patterson/IDG

On the correct aspect of the Aspire 5 sit a USB 2.0 Sort-A port and a combo audio jack. 

Efficiency

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 not too long ago reviewed) that additionally packs in a Core i5 CPU.

Whereas a lot 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 varieties of purposes that the majority of us carry out each day: internet searching, coping with Workplace, some video chatting, and perhaps a spherical of chess or Easy Solitaire. Whereas the Aspire’s outcomes barely lag these of different Core i3-enabled programs in our comparability, its efficiency nonetheless impressed us given its finances worth and slim profile.

PCMark 8 Work 2.0 Typical

A take a look at designed to imitate such mainstream purposes as internet searching, doc modifying, spreadsheet tinkering, and video chatting, PCMark 8 measures how easily a laptop computer can carry out the sort of day-to-day desktop chores that the Aspire 5 was clearly designed for. Typically talking, a PCMark 8 rating of two,500 or increased means a given laptop computer ought to be capable to run Workplace and different on a regular basis applications with ease.

acer aspire 5 30bq pcmark8 Ben Patterson/IDG

The i3-packing Acer Aspire 5 doesn’t high our PCMark 8 efficiency chart, nevertheless it nonetheless simply passes our minimal 2,500 mark for easy Workplace efficiency.

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. Whereas the Core i5 mannequin of the Aspire managed to high our chart with a considerably increased 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 Workplace on the Core i3 and Core i5 fashions felt equally easy.

HandBrake

For our subsequent take a look at, we use the free HandBrake utility to transform a 40GB MKV video file right into a format appropriate for Android tablets, a CPU-intensive process that tends to reward laptops with probably the most processor cores.

Provided 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 a lot of the different laptops in our chart, we’d anticipate 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.

acer aspire 5 30bq handbrake Ben Patterson/IDG

The Aspire 5’s sluggish Handbrake efficiency isn’t a shock given its dual-core Core i3 processor.

Take into account, nevertheless, that our HandBrake take a look at measures the sort of efficiency that the majority mainstream customers will hardly ever use. Now, if you have to edit 4K video information 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. However if you happen to’re solely planning on utilizing the Aspire 5 for internet searching, Workplace, and perhaps listening to just a little Spotify, a dual-core laptop computer like this Core i3-equipped Aspire 5 can be enough—and extra reasonably priced.

Cinebench

One other processor-intensive take a look at, 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 effectively 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.

acer aspire 5 30bq cinebench Ben Patterson/IDG

The Aspire 5’s all-threads Cinebench end result fails to impress, however its strong single-thread rating bodes will for its day-to-day efficiency.

As soon as 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 take a look at, in addition to behind the thicker, heavier Core i3-powered Acer E 15. Nonetheless, its single-thread Cinebench result’s proper within the combine with all the opposite laptops in our chart, and that’s all that issues with regards to the day-to-day duties you’d most certainly carry out on the Aspire 5.

3DMark Sky Diver

Nobody ever stated the Core i3 model of the Aspire 5 is a gaming machine, because the graphics-focused 3DMark Sky Diver take a look at makes abundantly clear. Like a lot of the laptops in our comparability chart, the Aspire 5 options Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics 620 core, which does the job with regards to primary 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.

acer aspire 5 30bq 3dmark sky diver Ben Patterson/IDG

With its built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620 core, the Aspire 5 clearly isn’t a gaming laptop computer. The laptop computer on the high is the one one within the chart with a devoted graphics card, by the best way.

Whereas 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 loads higher, specifically as a result of they’re additionally saddled with built-in graphics. Leaps and bounds forward of the remainder is the Core i5-equipped Acer E 15, the only real laptop computer in our chart with discrete graphics—on this case, the entry-level GeForce MX150 card from Nvidia.

Battery life

We measure battery life in a laptop computer by looping a 4K video utilizing the inventory Motion pictures and TV app for Home windows, with the laptop computer’s brightness set to about 250 nits (or concerning the 95 % mark for the Aspire 5) and quantity set to 50 %, headphones on.

acer aspire 5 30bq battery rundown Ben Patterson/IDG

You gained’t must pack the Aspire 5’s AC adapter for day journeys with this sort of battery life.

The Aspire and its 49 watt-hour battery ended up lasting about 9 hours and 45 minutes in our take a look at, a end result 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 due to its 62-watt-hour battery. We’re principally speaking near all-day battery life right here, which suggests you possibly can depart the AC adapter at dwelling.

Backside line

The Core i3-powered model of the Acer Aspire 5 affords middling pace, 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.

 



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