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The new Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE has lots of expectations, coming in the backdrop of a predecessor that was a fantastic budget laptop around, evening owning a spot on our Editors’ Choice. With most people working from home and college students resigned to online classes and assignments, there’s a need for excellent, affordable laptops.
With the new Acer Aspire 5 line, your expectations may rise as you see these new systems pack either 10th Gen intel CPUs and a few with AMD Ryzen chips. All that while, the Aspire A515-55-35SE is a good deal if all you need is a new laptop – though, a few quirks may be hard to ignore – particularly a not-so-bright display.
That being said, it manages to check most boxes for a basic notebook, including stable daily-use performance and robust port selection. However, as this Acer Aspire 5 review will reveal, once the world is back to normal, and with newer 11th Gen chips in the market, this might not be the first model you grab off the shelves.
Acer Aspire 5 design
The Acer Aspire 5 is plain, with an aluminum lid, which is rare at this price range. And, if you wanted a laptop that’s super-slim, the A515-55-35SE isn’t. It measures 0.71 inches at its thickest point, but at the very least, this laptop is easily upgradable with an easily accessible motherboard. Altogether, the package weighs under 4 pounds, light enough for lagging around the house, but heavy to tote though a day in college.
Port selection is excellent. For your peripherals, you’re getting three USB-A ports and a single USB-C port for your modern devices. There’s also an Ethernet port for hardwiring, and HDMI port for an external display, a Kensington Lock connector and a standard headphone jack.
Nowadays, a 1080p display is pretty standard on budget laptops, and the 15.6-inch display keeps that tradition. It will get the work done, though the matte screen sometimes catches a glare from external light. It averages 259 nits, is a bit dim, but is brighter than competing models – the Asus VivoBook 15 and Lenovo Yoga C740, with 247 nits and 251 nits, respectively.
Nevertheless, the screen is fine for working at night-time work, but very bright light may make the Aspire 5 screen a bit uncomfortable. The screen’s color saturation is more intense, and helps boost the vibrancy of dull scenes. You’ll enjoy watching movies and surfing the web on the Acer Aspire 5, but if you’re looking at photo editing and media creation, you might need an external monitor with better color reproduction.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The Aspire 5’s chiclet keyboard is full-size, has a number pad on the right side for seamless data entry. The keyboard is comfortable enough for typing, and going by the massive build, small hands will find this keyboard even more comfortable for multitasking. You can use it in a dark room, thanks to the subtle backlighting, just like you have on Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops.
For the touchpad, Acer strives to give the trackpad the same aluminum finish as the chassis. There’s a fingerprint reader embedded into the touchpad, but you might have to turn off the multitouch gestures, as the touch-drag-mechanism can be too fussy to use. Surprisingly, there’s a Function key that turns off the trackpad, especially when you’re in serious typing sessions.
Acer A515-55-35SE performance
Our version of the Acer Aspire 5 features a 10th Generation 1GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD storage and Intel’s UHD graphics card. This laptop’s configuration is decidedly entry-level, but you’ll get ample power for daily tasks from this machine. The Core i3 can handle Chrome, Spotify and Firefox all running processes simultaneously.
Most people will find the Aspire 5 to provide perfectly acceptable performance for all but the most demanding processor-based tasks. Unless you’re buying for complex tasks, the Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE is a reasonable choice in terms of performance. Everyday tasks like browsing the internet, streaming media, editing photos and video will work like a charm.
Considering this new Acer Aspire 5 uses an integrated video card, you won’t be playing modern games here. Latest AAA releases will not render properly, and everything will likely stutter. Even at the lowest settings. It uses Vega 8 graphics, that can only handle casual games, but not at high settings. If you need a budget gaming laptop, we recommend the Asus TUF FX505DV-ES74, a budget gaming laptop with a 120Hz screen and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 2060 graphics card.
As it turns out, the Acer Aspire 5’s battery is a better performer as compared to last year’s Acer Aspire 5 that had an underwhelming battery. Acer claims that it will last 8 hours on a single charge, but in real-life use, you’re getting just under 7 hours, which isn’t bad at all.
The Acer Aspire 5 rocks a nice design and good build quality – with some aluminum flourish on the lid. The robust selection of ports is welcome, and makes this a versatile laptop to use with most of your peripherals, and battery life is good. For the price, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth with the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE, including some up-to-date components.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE, 15.6" Full HD Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor, 4GB DDR4, 128GB NVMe SSD, Intel WiFi 6 AX201, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10 Home (S Mode)
$317.00 in stock
7 used from $274.00