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Acer Aspire 5 review

An affordable laptop with a good battery life and performs well

OUR VERDICT

The Acer Aspire 5 is a mid-range laptop that ticks pretty much all the boxes you’d want for a day-to-day laptop: it performs most tasks well, plays media fine, and has a very good battery life, all for a compelling price.

FOR

  • Good battery life
  • Up-to-date components
  • Good build quality
  • Decent performance
  • Well priced

AGAINST

  • Cheap-feeling touchpad
  • Not as light and thin as other laptop

Mid-range machines like the Acer Aspire 5 are easily overlooked. People are either going for the premium laptops that tend to dominate the headlines, or they look towards low budget laptops to meet their computing demands . 

This leaves mid-range machines largely unnoticed, despite their ideal balance of price and performance that actually makes them the ideal investment for many consumers. That balance is something the Acer Aspire 5 has long practiced, offering its users powerful components and solid performance while keeping the price affordable and accessible. 

Updated with 8th-generation Intel Core processors, this more than competent laptop ticks all the boxes you’d want for a day-to-day laptop. The Acer Aspire 5 has proven once again that mid-range machines are the way to go. And, as long as your needs don’t include a whole lot of video editing or designing and drafting, this might just be the best laptop for you.

SPECS

Acer Aspire 5 A515-55G-575S

  • Intel Core i5 10th Gen 1035G1 (1.00 GHz)
  • 12 GB Memory
  • 512 GB SSD
  • 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX350 1920 x 1080
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit

Price and availability

The Acer Aspire 5 comes in a range of configurations and price points, but the one in stock comes at ₦395,000 for the specifications above.

Design

The design of the Acer Aspire 5 is what you’d probably expect from a mid-range laptop: nothing too flashy, and not as svelte as ultrabooks such as the Dell XPS 13. However, that doesn’t mean this is a chunky, ugly laptop. With dimensions of 2.16 x 38.16 x 26.3cm and a weight of 2.20kg (4.85 pounds), the Acer Aspire 5 is quite a large laptop, but it’s not too heavy or unwieldly to carry around. You may find it a bit of a struggle to whip out and work on a busy train, however.

It’s actually quite a nice-looking, understated machine with a few design flourishes. The chassis is mainly made out of plastic, with a textured surface on the lid, along with a reflective Acer logo. 

Opening the laptop reveals a decent-sized screen surrounded by fairly thick bezels, which some may feel is wasted space. It does, at least, allow for a large keyboard on the bottom half of the laptop, which we’ll get to in a moment.

The large bezels also mean the webcam can be positioned in the center of the top bezel, which in our opinion is the best place for a webcam to reside.

The bottom bezel holds another Acer logo, and below that is the nicely-designed laptop hinge that has ‘Aspire’ engraved on it – a nice touch, we think. The hinge allows for a decent degree of adjustment of the screen at a range of angles, although this isn’t a laptop on which you can flip the screen 360 degrees backwards, into a tablet-like position – for that you’ll want a convertible laptop, such as Acer’s own Spin 7 series.

The Acer Aspire 5 comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0, a USB-C, Ethernet and SD memory card port, giving you plenty of options for connecting peripherals. 

We’d have liked maybe one of the USB 2.0 ports to be another USB 3.0, but the USB-C port is definitely a welcome addition that gives you some future-proofing.

Keyboard and touchpad

The bottom half of the laptop, where the large keyboard and touchpad sit, again has a plastic surface, but it has a brushed finish that, while not as premium as aluminum, is still quite pleasant. It didn’t take it too long to pick up fingerprints, however.

The keyboard itself is a nice size, which makes typing on it for long periods comfortable, although the flat keys and short travel distance mean it’s not the most responsive, or satisfying-feeling, keyboard we’ve tried.

The large form factor of the Acer Aspire 5 means it can hold a rather large touchpad, which is offset slightly to the left of the center of the chassis.

The large size ensures that using multi-finger gestures, such as pinching two fingers together to zoom out, is easy, although some people may find the larger size means they’re more likely to accidentally rest their palm on it when typing, sending the curser flying around the screen. The touchpad also has a rather plastic and cheap feel to it when pushed, which is a shame, as the rest of the Aspire 5 manages to avoid that.

Acer bills the Aspire 5 as a laptop for day-to-day tasks, and for the most part it succeeds at these. The solid state drive (SSD) keeps Windows 10 feeling pretty fast, while the 12GB of RAM and quad-core Intel Core i5 8550U processor help with multi-tasking. For general Windows desktop applications, the Aspire 5 does a fine job – it doesn’t feel quite as nippy as more expensive laptops, but for regular use it’s absolutely fine.

The IPS screen is decent, if a little washed-out, with contrast not being quite as strong as we’ve seen on other laptops. However, the Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen is welcome, making movies and photos look a lot better than on laptops with lower resolutions, and Acer has included its Color Intelligence technology, which it claims dynamically adjusts gamma and saturation in real-time to make the screen look the best it can.

To be honest, you’ll see no much of a difference, and again for standard day-to-day tasks the screen will be fine, especially with that Full HD resolution; however, if you want to edit photos or videos, you may want to look at an alternative machine.

And if you’re a gamer then you should definitely look elsewhere, as while the integrated Intel 620 UHD graphics will handle photos and videos, and maybe a undemanding indie game or two, for the most part modern games won’t run well on this laptop – although, of course, that’s not what it’s been built for.

Battery life

Battery life was pretty impressive, with the Acer Aspire 5 lasting six hours and 48 minutes using the PCMark 8 battery test, which replicates medium to heavy use. If you dim the display a bit (we had it set to full brightness), and keep to light web-browsing and less strenuous tasks, you could eke out even longer life.

It at least means that you should get through most of a work day on a full charge, which compared to some laptops is really good, and a sign that the more power-efficient processor is paying off. In our own day-to-day use we found that the battery did a good job of letting us work on the Aspire 5 for most of the day.

The battery does take a while to charge, however – specifically three hours to get back to full capacity.

Likes

The Acer Aspire 5 has a nice design and good build quality – apart from the slightly loose-feeling touchpad. The large range of ports is welcome, and makes this a versatile laptop for using with a number of peripherals, and battery life is very good. It also remained cool and quiet during our tests.

For the price, you’ll feel like you’ve got your money’s worth with the Aspire 5, including some up-to-date components.

Final verdict

If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop that won’t cost the earth, but which isn’t compromised with cheap build quality and out-of-date components, then the Acer Aspire 5 is a great choice.

The range of configurations available means there’s a good chance you’ll find an Aspire 5 model that suits your needs and budget – while the model we tested wasn’t too capable when it came to graphical oomph, there are options to get an Aspire 5 with a dedicated graphics card.Advertisement

Battery life was particularly good, so if you want an inexpensive laptop that can dependably handle day-to-day tasks without needing to be constantly plugged into a power socket, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth considering.

However, if you like your laptops to, well, aspire to something more, such as being able to run modern games or cope with heavy-duty image and video editing, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

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