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With high-end laptops, you’re getting an ever slimmer and lighter footprint, backed by a heavy pocket, while budget laptops are wired for performance over looks at rock-bottom prices. Then you have midrange laptops like the Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6 that offer the best of both worlds. Most of these mid-rangers are designed to competently deliver on tasks set on them, pack up-to-date powerful components, and keep the price regimen as low as possible.
If you need something that’s future proof and has more powerful and recent components than budget laptops, midrange laptops are the way to go. For many of us, they do enough power for our computing needs at home, college or office and we never have to pay for features we may never use.
Now Acer has new notebooks in its Aspire 5 Series of midrange laptops, featuring 8th-generation Intel Core processors, discrete MX150 graphics cards and other components, making them worth a look based on what these affordable laptops can do.
Simple and unobtrusive: that is the design on the Acer Aspire 5, but typical of midrange laptops that don’t aren’t as flashy as svelte ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook 3. Even that, our review unit still stands out from the pack, and it isn’t ugly at all. Measuring 0.82 inches thick and weighing 4.41 pounds, it is a fairly large laptop, but not very heavy to carry around in a backpack, though you may find it a bit boggling totting around on daily commute.
In fact, it is a nice-looking laptop with a black theme with silver accents. The entire chassis is made of plastic, with textured patterns on the lid, along with a silver Acer logo. Unlike its 17-inch sibling the Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G-8433), this iteration of the Aspire 5 doesn’t have an optical drive, although it’s now normal for 15-inchers not to have this component.
The Aspire 5’s 15.6-inch screen offers vibrant colors on its 1920 x 1080 TN ComfyView panel. Watching scenes from Black Panther, popular for its diverse color scheme, the events in the Wakanda kingdom appeared very clear.
The warm color from the daylight cascades through the characters’ faces, something you don’t easily see in cheap screen or on smaller displays.
The screen is surrounded by fairly thick bezels, but it does allow for a bigger keyboard on the lower side of side. The large bezels also allow for the accurate positioning of the webcam in the center of the top bezel, which is essentially the best position for a webcam to reside.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Aspire 5’s keyboard sports a refreshing brushed finish and includes a number pad. The keyboard itself feels comfortable for long typing periods, in spite of flat keys and short travel distance that sometimes make them unresponsive. That said, the keys are pleasant to use for longer periods and the keyboard’s white illumination lets you read the keyboard with ease even in darkness.
The touchpad is large enough for my liking, and a silver trim around it adds some flair. It is slightly offset towards the left of the chassis, and it seamlessly supports Windows 10 gestures.
Acer did include an Ethernet port on the left side, although it again lacks Thunderbolt for connecting to external graphics solution. All said, we have to admit that this midrange system isn’t the best choice to have such a feature while trying to keep it as affordable as possible. Other I/O ports on the left side include: one USB Type-C, one USB 3.0, an SD Card reader, one HDMI and a Kensington lock slot.
On the right, there are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, 3.5mm audio jack and a power port next to a pair of status LEDs. Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1 protocols.
Acer bills the Aspire 5 as a day-to-day productivity laptop, and for the most of the part it does succeed with a quad-core, 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. All of these components help in multitasking, and for the better part of it make the system future-prof among its peers. For general Windows applications, the Aspire 5 does a fine job –although it doesn’t feel as smooth as more expensive Ultrabooks, but it’s still a good choice for regular use.
The included solid-state drive (SSD) on this model helps make things nippy, although you still have another configuration of the same model with a 1TB hard drive. For the sake of performance, we’d recommend you go for this model with an SSD, or if your budget is flexible, you can opt for the iteration with an additional standard hard drive.
On the Aspire 5, Acer includes a discrete graphics card in the Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 with 2GB of GDDR5-RAM, which offers better clock speed than its lower variant the GeForce MX130. This graphics solution isn’t designed for gaming, but it still lets you do some casual gaming at lower settings.
Still, titles like Overwatch and DiRT 3 play smoothly at low settings with good frame rates per second (58 fps and 136 fps respectively), but it will completely brick on more demanding tasks like Rise of The Tomb Raider, for which you need systems like our Editor’s Choice Acer Predator Helios 300.
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6’s battery life is pretty impressive (but not the best) for a 15-inch laptop, but it won’t last a full workaday. The system lasted 6 hour 49 minutes on our tests, entailing continuous video play and other tasks at optimal screen brightness. This is slightly below the 8:54 midrange laptop average, but much better for a desktop replacement system, with majority averaging around 4:27.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a midrange laptop that doesn’t cost so much, but which doesn’t cut corners with cheap build quality and outdated components, then the Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6 might just be it. In the Aspire Series 5, there is a range of configurations available, but our review model stands out by striking the best balance between up-to-date and powerful components and a very reasonable price.
However, if you have a flexible budget and want something capable of playing modern games at higher settings, you can aspire for something like the Acer Aspire 7 with a hexa-core i7-8750H processor, GeForce 1050Ti GPU and hybrid storage solution.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6 is a midrange laptop that features up-to-date components and delivers the kind of performance you’d ever need in a day-to-day laptop, all for a compelling price.
- Decent performance
- Good build quality
- Very reasonable price
- Not as light as it competitors
- Not the most vibrant screen