Acer A515-56-36UT Review

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8.1 Total Score
EXCELLENT

The Acer A515-56-36UT is one of the most affordable Windows 11 laptops available in the market right now. It’s a great alternative to cheap Chromebooks, but its low price means you have to do with a few compromises, especially the build quality.

PROS
  • Very affordable
  • Full selection of ports
  • Good battery life
  • Upgradable
CONS
  • Middling performance
  • Flimsy construction
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The Acer A515-56-36UT is an affordable laptop with modern specifications, created for people who want a laptop that will handle the basics without costing an arm and a leg. It’s part of Acer’s Aspire 5 Series, which is the company’s line of laptops aimed at providing functional devices without the high price tags that competitors like Dell and HP demand.

Sure, with the Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT, Acer delivers a no-nonsense notebook with a decent amount of power for under $400, but as always, they’ve cut a few corners to reach that price tag.

While its construction would do with some work, it still manages to pack an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, a Full HD display, 128GB SSD storage, and 4GB memory. It’s by no means one of the most powerful laptops out there, but it’s a decent laptop for not just working at the office, but also when you need to use it in front of clients.

In short, the Acer A515-56-36UT is potentially a decent offering for use as a student laptop or a reasonably priced business laptop. Should you need more power, Acer offers different configurations to match your needs in the same line, but at varying prices.

Acer A515-56-36UT Specs

Here is the Acer Aspire 5’s configuration in this PC Verge review:

  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5
  • Weight: 4.19 pounds
  • Size: ‎14.31 x 9.39 x 0.7 inches

Price and Availability

The Acer Aspire 5 is offered in various configurations, outfitted with a choice of either 11th generation Intel processors or the latest AMD Ryzen chips. Most laptops in this range feature 15-inch FHD screens, but you can get a few with 17-inch screens.

Our review unit, the Acer A515-56-36UT is the base model in this range, with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 128GB SSD, and 4GB RAM; then, there’s the Acer A515-56-53S3 with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. The Acer A515-56-702V sits at the very top in this mini-Series, with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 512GB SSD, and up to 16GB of memory. Still, there are other Aspire 5 configurations, giving you lots of alternatives to choose from depending on your needs.

Light, for an affordable 15-incher

At just over 4 pounds, the Aspire 5 is surprisingly light for an inexpensive 15-inch laptop. Most budget-priced 15-inch laptops are often defined by the cheap build quality, and heavy materials molded from plastic. The Aspire 5 sports a silver and black color scheme, which, while understated, works well.

The body isn’t metal, not surprising, but that plastic not only keeps the weight down but also emphasizes the laptop’s budget nature. Again, this laptop isn’t particularly thin, either, but that at least means Acer has managed to put in a decent range of ports, including full-size USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and a single USB-C.

The 15.6-inch screen is a decent size but is surrounded by thick bezels, which again makes it feels a little old-fashioned. We’ve seen super-thin bezels on more expensive Ultrabooks, especially the InfinityEdge display on the Dell XPS 13 and the NanoEdge display on the Asus ZenBook S13 looks fantastic, but they cost a lot more.

Acer A515-56-36UT keyboard

The 1080p resolution is fine for a budget machine, but it doesn’t look as appealing as more expensive laptops with higher-res screens, especially the MacBook Air. That also means that the screen isn’t the brightest or the most vibrant we’ve used either, it gets a yellow tint that once again emphasizes the budget nature of this laptop.

The non-backlit keyboard feels a bit cheap and lacks that much travel, which means it doesn’t give you the most satisfying typing experience that more expensive laptops with tactile keyboards offer.

Having a backlit keyboard isn’t just a show-off feature that comes with gaming laptops; rather, it allows you to see which keys you’re hitting in dark environments. This means that the Acer Aspire 5 is tricky to use at night for people who are not familiar with touch typing.

Decent performance in S Mode

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  • Powerful Productivity: 11th Generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor delivers unmatched...
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  • Ergonomic Typing: Ergonomically-designed hinge lifts the keyboard for comfortable typing,...

Being a budget machine, the Acer Aspire 5 model that we review here isn’t any close to being the most powerful laptop out there. It’s a laptop that will do the basics, allow you to binge on the latest movies, run office productivity tasks, respond to office e-mails, and nothing more.

While it has a recent 11th generation Intel processor, the A515-56-36UT model features a dual-core Intel Core i3-1115G4 designed for basic mobile devices. In the same lineup are the faster Core i5 and i7 models that offer more cores and therefore remarkably faster.

Also, there are some models of the Acer Aspire 5 models with dedicated GPUs, our review model has integrated Intel UHD graphics. While this is perfectly fine for day-to-day tasks, and watching movies and TV shows, it’s not going to handle intensive photo and video editing, and don’t even think of 3D or CGI animation.

Acer A515-56-36UT screen

The 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD this model comes with are pretty scarce, which explains the decision to use Windows 11 Home in S Mode, a lighter version of the latest operating system that’s comparable to Google’s Chrome OS for Chromebooks.

In day-to-day use, however, the Acer A515-56-36UT is fine, for as long as you remain within the realm of basic computing. If you set your expectations right, the Acer Aspire 5 in S Mode is a decent enough laptop for browsing the web and making presentations, but if you want to run the complex application, you’re going to be disappointed.

Good battery life, YES

Acer promises around 8.5 of battery life with the A515-56-36UT, but in the benchmark test, it lasts a few minutes less. Looping a 1080p video gives seven hours 55 minutes of battery life, thanks to the lower-power processer.

While you can do a few things to prolong the battery life, such as throttling the number of apps you run at once, and tone the screen brightness down a bit, this means you’re going to gamble to get a whole work day’s use out of it.

Acer A515-56-36UT Review: Verdict

For anyone looking for a cheap laptop under $400 that runs Windows 11 (albeit in S Mode), and are only going to be using it for simple tasks, then this Acer Aspire 5 model is a decent shout. The fact that it lets you run Windows 11 programs at this price point puts it way ahead of cheaper Chromebooks.  

However, for anyone looking to do something more ambitious, especially demanding projects at work or school, then this is a laptop that’s not worth buying, even at this cheap price. You’d be far better to save a bit more and go for something with more RAM and maybe more SSD storage. It’ll save you a lot of frustration in the long run.

For a little more money, you can get better alternatives including the HP 14-fq1025nr or the Acer A515-56-53S3, with Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i5 chips, respectively. However, if all you need is a Windows 11 laptop for basic tasks at a rock-bottom price, then you should give the Acer A515-56-36UT strong consideration.

Last update on 2022-05-15 at 13:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Acer A515-56-36UT Review
Acer A515-56-36UT Review
$344.98 $389.99
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