Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54-51DJ) Evaluation

One of many mainstays of Acer’s in depth funds laptop computer lineup, the Aspire 5 receives frequent tweaks and updates. The 2019 model reviewed right here (mannequin A515-54-51DJ) is a smooth, mild 15-inch pocket book that is a giant enchancment over the one PCMag reviewed final fall. At $529, the brand new Aspire 5 skirts the higher restrict of the funds laptop computer market. The most cost effective Aspire 5 is simply $349, however the further $180 for our tester unit nets you an improved show, higher efficiency on on a regular basis computing duties, and noteworthy battery life. Thoughts you, anticipate a number of drawbacks, like a wealth of pesky bloatware and solely so-so construct high quality, which implies that like practically each funds laptop computer, this Aspire 5 is a examine in compromises. However it walks the road higher than many.

Gentle, for an Cheap 15-Incher

At simply 4 kilos, the Aspire 5 is sort of mild for a budget-priced 15-inch laptop computer. Most such machines are outlined by low cost, heavy supplies like molded plastic. The outside of the Aspire 5, against this, is product of silver aluminum, which implies it isn’t solely mild, however it sports activities a smooth, fashionable look as effectively. It is nowhere close to as mild as Acer’s personal Swift 5, which is available in at a feather-like 2.2 kilos, however neither will or not it’s a brick in your backpack.

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You may be aware some black plastic across the edges of the show, however the keyboard deck and the remainder of the inside surfaces largely match the silver aluminum on the outside. The laptop computer measures 0.71 by 14.3 by 9.9 inches (HWD), making it considerably slimmer than the 0.85 by 15 by 10.4 inches of its predecessor, which was styled in generic black plastic.

Acer Aspire 5 (2019)

Regardless of the improved dimensions and higher supplies, I seen some disappointing bodily facets of the Aspire 5 over the few days I spent with it. Probably the most noticeable downside is that the bottom of the unit I examined is barely wobbly, even when it is resting on a flat tabletop. One of many two decrease rubber skids refused to relaxation squarely on the floor, as an alternative remaining barely airborne. There’s important flex within the base, too, which does not encourage quite a lot of confidence within the Aspire 5’s longevity if the physique is banged round a lot. Acer features a one-year guarantee, with extensions and accidental-damage protection accessible for extra prices.

A extra minor downside is the dearth of an indentation to your fingers to assist open the show lid, which is secured with magnets. There’s a hole between the show and the bottom even when the Aspire is closed, so I discovered myself pawing at it a number of instances earlier than finally prying the laptop computer open.

Built-In Fingerprint Reader

When you do handle to get this Aspire 5’s lid open, you are greeted with a 15.6-inch full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) show, with the now largely commonplace LED backlight and in-plane switching (IPS) expertise. Display high quality is superb, with crisp textual content and vivid colours, when the backlight is about to its most degree. Even higher, the Aspire 5’s display achieves this high quality utilizing a matte end that reduces glare from ambient lights. Sadly, Acer doesn’t provide a touchscreen choice, however it’s nonetheless a marked enchancment over the past Aspire 5’s show, which suffered from muddy colours and weak distinction, and didn’t use an IPS panel, lowering the offsides viewing angles.

Above the show, there is a 720p webcam with respectable—if barely grainy—video high quality, although it lacks IR sensors to let you log in to your Home windows 10 account utilizing face recognition. I would not anticipate such a characteristic on a funds laptop computer, however I used to be pleasantly stunned to see that the Aspire 5 features a fingerprint reader constructed into the touchpad, so you possibly can nonetheless log in with out typing a password. It is an unusual bonus characteristic on a $500 laptop computer, and it registered my prints with no errors throughout a number of days of use.

Keyboard, Touchpad, and I/O Galore

Whereas the touchpad does boast a built-in fingerprint reader, it doesn’t characteristic devoted left- and right-click buttons beneath it. As an alternative, your entire floor of the pad is clickable, however it’s sadly versatile and leads to a noticeably mushy really feel everytime you click on. The pad suffers from a scarcity of monitoring precision, too, making it troublesome to pull round onscreen components. Growing the sensitivity degree within the Home windows Precision Touchpad settings helps a bit.

The backlit keyboard above the touchpad is a little more snug. It is remarkably sturdy given the pliability of the remainder of the chassis, with little give even after I strike the keys forcefully. A devoted quantity pad resides on the correct aspect, though not like the principle a part of the board, its keys usually are not full-size.

Petite Number Pad

The Aspire 5 is an particularly good selection in the event you hate shopping for dongles and adapters however have quite a lot of peripherals and cables to plug in to your laptop computer. On the left edge are the facility connector, full-size Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (one in every of which may cost a plugged-in machine even when the laptop computer is switched off), and a USB Kind-C port. On the opposite edge, you may discover a Kensington-style cable-lock slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio output. Wi-fi connectivity consists of Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO assist.

Ethernet and HDMI

That is an intensive I/O complement that can serve individuals who want wired networking or exterior shows exceptionally effectively. The one downsides are the dearth of an SD card reader and no Thunderbolt 3 or Wi-Fi 6 assist, the latter of which I do not anticipate to see on a laptop computer at this worth.

Downward-firing stereo audio system positioned on the entrance left and proper corners provide strong bass, however the total sound is muddy, alas, with film dialogue often troublesome to make out at decrease quantity ranges.

Robust Bass

Configuration Choices and Efficiency Exams

You may’t construct a custom-configured Aspire 5, however many various variants can be found between the $349 low-end mannequin and the top-of-the-line $849 one. On the excessive finish, you get an Intel Core i7 U-series CPU, 12GB of reminiscence, a 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce MX graphics. On the low finish, you may discover AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i5 processors with built-in graphics, 4GB of reminiscence, and a 128GB SSD or a 1TB spinning laborious disk drive (HDD).

Our evaluate configuration lies between these two extremes, packing an eighth Era Intel Core i5 U-series CPU, built-in graphics, 8GB of reminiscence, and a 256GB SSD. On paper, it is a succesful mixture for the online looking, video streaming, and different comparable fundamental duties that funds laptop computer consumers must carry out every day. The storage and reminiscence are additionally significantly better than the 4GB of reminiscence and 1TB laborious drive that the final Aspire 5 that PC Labs examined had aboard. The place attainable, it is at all times higher to decide on an SSD over a slower HDD as your boot drive.

When you’ve received $500 to spend and have versatile necessities, although, you’ll find many extra highly effective laptops accessible. So, for the needs of efficiency comparability, I’ve chosen three very completely different however equally priced 15-inch laptops. The Acer Aspire 3 within the configuration right here makes use of a CPU from AMD with strong on-chip graphics, whereas the Acer Nitro 5 is a pricier gaming laptop computer (although a funds mannequin, as gaming machiens go) with a extra highly effective Nvidia GeForce GPU. In the meantime, the Asus VivoBook S15 is a general-purpose 15-incher. Lastly, I’ve included the earlier Aspire 5 that PC Labs examined, as effectively. You may try the entire configurations within the chart beneath.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

The final-purpose efficiency exams resulted in a close to lifeless warmth between the Asus VivoBook S15, the brand new Aspire 5, and the Nitro 5. The most effective proof of that is our PCMark 10 take a look at, which simulates completely different real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate total system efficiency for office-centric duties similar to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, Internet looking, and videoconferencing. The Aspire 5 bested all comers right here, although its rating of three,762 shouldn’t be meaningfully completely different than the Nitro 5’s rating.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a Storage subtest that we use to evaluate the velocity of the laptop computer’s storage subsystem. The Aspire 5 once more got here out on prime, albeit by an equally small margin.

As a examine on these artificial benchmarks, I carried out lots of the similar duties that they simulate and located that the Aspire 5 was not often sluggish, although it took longer to put in advanced apps like Adobe Photoshop than I’d have appreciated. There was little fan noise, and no coil whine or different annoying sounds that typically plague funds laptops when positioned underneath heavy computing calls for.

In terms of specialised duties like multimedia modifying and gaming, nonetheless, the Aspire 5 is not any match for the extra highly effective Intel Core i5 H-series processor and the Nvidia discrete graphics chip within the Nitro 5. The Nitro 5 was higher at rendering a 3D picture utilizing Maxon’s Cinebench device…

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

…and it was sooner to use a collection of filters and different results to a JPG picture utilizing Adobe Photoshop CC.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

It is necessary to notice right here that the Aspire 5 wasn’t a lot slower than the Nitro 5 on our Photoshop take a look at, and it was a lot sooner than each the VivoBook S15 ( at Amazon)(Opens in a brand new window) and its Acer predecessor, which could not full this take a look at in any respect.

In the meantime, the Nitro 5, purpose-built for gaming, trounced the opposite opponents on our 3DMark and Superposition recreation simulations. 3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of extremely detailed 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting, whereas the Superposition take a look at renders and pans by means of an in depth 3D scene, recording a rating in frames per second. When you’re sticking to browser-based video games like Sweet Crush or Minecraft, although, the Aspire 5 will carry out simply tremendous.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

The Aspire 5 additionally posted a wonderful results of greater than 14 hours on our battery rundown take a look at, which entails taking part in a domestically saved 720p video file at 50 % display brightness till the battery dies…

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ Performance Chart

This result’s due, in no small half, to the power-saving capabilities of the Intel CPU, which is aware of to eat much less energy for less-demanding duties like video playback. Combined use will possible lead to a shorter time; Acer advertises roughly 9 hours of battery life.

A Honest Compromise

On a costlier ultraportable laptop computer, a chassis with uninspiring construct high quality, a mediocre touchpad, and weak audio system can be dealbreakers. On the Aspire 5, nonetheless, the mixture of a satisfying 1080p show, mild journey weight, and a palatable worth imply that the laptop computer’s predominant drawbacks are compromises to weigh as an alternative of causes to not purchase.

Whether or not these compromises are best for you is dependent upon your priorities. Efficiency-wise, it is attainable to do higher on this worth vary, however you may possible have to modify to a machine that can overwhelm your backpack considerably extra. In the long run, an important issues are how a lot you possibly can spend and what you propose to make use of your laptop computer for. When you’re in search of a big-screen machine for fundamental duties and have round $500 on the desk, the Aspire 5 is a correct contender to your money.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54-51DJ)


  • Aggressively priced.

  • Glossy silver exterior.

  • Skinny and lightweight.

  • Crisp, vivid 15-inch show.

  • Full-size Ethernet and HDMI ports.

  • Fingerprint reader.

  • Glorious battery life.

  • First rate energy for on a regular basis computing duties.

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The Backside Line

This revamped Acer Aspire 5 configuration is a welcome enchancment over its predecessor, and an honest, if compromise-laden, selection for buyers eyeing a big-screen laptop computer on a funds.

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