Acer Aspire 5 (2022, A515-57-56UV) Short Review

The Acer Aspire name has always been a bit of a smart mark, as the series positions itself as an above-average choice among budget laptops – a laptop you can afford, but with the features and performance you crave. . It hasn’t always worked out, but the company has managed to make solid economic choices year after year. The latest Aspire 5 (starts at $369.99; $599.99 as tested) offers a 12th-gen Intel processor and reasonable RAM and storage. It offers pretty good performance and battery life, although as you’d expect some features are left basic for affordability reasons.


Design: just the basics

For 2022, the 15.6-inch Aspire 5 line starts at $369.99 with an 11th Gen Core i3 laptop processor and Windows 11 Home in S mode. Our $599.99 A515-57-56UV model includes a Core i5-1235U chip (two performance cores, eight efficient cores, 12 threads) with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB of memory and a 512 GB SSD, as well as a Full HD non-touch display (1 920 x 1080 pixels). It’s designed to deliver just-good-enough levels of quality across all areas of choice, and that’s reflected in the design, from the materials used to the connections and components inside.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) Keyboard

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Measuring 0.7 by 14.3 by 9.4 inches and weighing 3.9 pounds, the Acer is far from featherweight, but it’s not too bulky to throw in a laptop bag. or a backpack. The Asus VivoBook 15 is a bit smaller at 0.78 by 14.1 by 9.1 inches and 3.75 pounds. The Aspire’s construction combines metal and plastic, with a uniform finish that makes it hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. The lid is clad in aluminum, but the rest of the chassis is pretty solid plastic. The laptop is large enough for a full-size keyboard with numeric keypad, although the latter has half-width keys.

The keyboard is backlit for visibility in dark rooms, and the tiled keys are reasonably comfortable to type on. The keyboard’s narrower keys aren’t quite as comfortable, but any number pad is better than none if you’re typing a lot of data into spreadsheets. The touchpad is extra-large, giving you a spacious surface for gesture controls as well as basic clicking and scrolling.

The Aspire 5 doesn’t skimp on connectivity, with plenty of ports so you don’t have to pack a hub or adapter. On the left side of the laptop are three USB 3.2 ports (one Type-C and two Type-A), along with an HDMI video output and a compact Ethernet jack.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) left ports

(Credit: Molly Flores)

On the right, you’ll find a third USB-A port and 3.5mm audio jack, as well as a Kensington lock slot for physically securing the machine. Wi-Fi 6 handles your networking needs (assuming you’re not using the Ethernet port) and Bluetooth is available for wirelessly connecting headsets, keyboards and mice.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) right ports

(Credit: Molly Flores)


No feast for the eyes and ears

The built-in webcam is a bit pedestrian, meaning it’s your typical generic camera with 720p resolution and no facial recognition support for Windows Hello logins. There’s no fingerprint reader either, so you’ll be typing passwords the old-fashioned way.

The 1080p IPS display is a bit of a disappointment in an age when high resolution and even 4K screens are offered on many laptops, but they’re not common at this price, and Full HD at least beats some ultra laptops. cheap. 768. The 15.6-inch size is adequate for everyday tasks like schoolwork, web browsing, and streaming videos and movies, but in this segment you shouldn’t expect blazing brightness or more than bland colors. Touchscreens are also rare in this price range.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) front view

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The Aspire 5 is equipped with a pair of downward-firing speakers. Sound clarity isn’t bad, but the speakers are surprisingly quiet. While watching YouTube videos online, I had to crank the volume all the way up to get adequate sound.


Aspire 5 2022 review: performance in line with the price

For this review, we compared the Aspire 5 to other budget systems, ranging from the affordable Asus VivoBook 15 to the AMD-powered Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 and the Intel-based Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14, two of the best models to this price. range that we saw last year. We’ve also included the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 and the Gateway 15.6-inch Ultra Slim, two budget machines with less capable hardware and limited specs.

Our main productivity test is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates routine workloads with basics like word processing, spreadsheet analysis, web browsing, and video conferencing. We also use PCMark 10’s Full System Drive Test to assess system boot drive access time and throughput. Geekbench 5 also simulates popular applications like PDF rendering and speech recognition, putting a bit more emphasis on processing power.

Two other CPU tests that emphasize all available cores and threads are Maxon’s Cinebench, which uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, and the open-source HandBrake, which we time because it encodes a clip. of 12 minutes of 4K video (the Blender Foundation short film Tears of Steel) at 1080p resolution. Our final productivity test is PugetBench for Photoshop from workstation vendor Puget Systems, which uses the Creative Cloud 22 version of Adobe’s popular image editor to measure a PC’s suitability for creating content. multimedia and digital.

The Aspire 5’s up-to-date Intel Core i5 processor is well suited for everyday applications, whether in the classroom, at home or in the office. Our test unit easily beat the bottom-feed Inspiron and even outpaced the 14-capable IdeaPad Flex 5i in most tests.

We test the graphics capabilities of the PCs with two game-like animations each from two benchmark suites. UL’s 3DMark provides DirectX 12 Night Raid (less difficult, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs) tests. GFXBench is a cross-platform GPU benchmark that uses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level image rendering. Its 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase subs are rendered off-screen to accommodate different display resolutions.

Because the Aspire 5 relies on integrated graphics instead of a dedicated AMD or Nvidia GPU, its graphics performance is understandably limited. It’s fine for office productivity, media streaming and even light photo editing, but if you’re looking to play the latest games, you’ll have to look elsewhere. That said, its graphics are faster than most budget models, often leading the pack in our tests.

Finally, we test laptop battery life by looping a locally stored 720p video at 50% screen brightness and 100% audio volume, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight off, until until the system shuts down. We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure screen coverage of popular color gamuts or palettes and its brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

With an unplugged battery life of 11.5 hours, the Acer has pretty good endurance for the price. Its screen, however, didn’t impress us – it’s a typical budget panel with limited color reproduction and barely adequate brightness, just below the 300 nits we consider a baseline, not to mention the 400 nits that we prefer. To be honest, though, you won’t find much better in this class.


Verdict: a budget compromise, but not a bad one

Designed to cross the line between budget and mid-range laptops, the Acer Aspire 5 has a tightrope to walk, balancing affordability with capable features. The latest version manages this balance quite well, although there are a few hard-to-ignore points, such as the lackluster display and missing biometrics and touchscreen features. But overall it delivers what the Aspire line has always promised, a better than bare bones laptop for consumers on tight budgets.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) rear view

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Whether you’re looking for performance that outshines other budget laptops or a selection of ports that lets you leave hubs and dongles at home, the Aspire 5 2022 hits those targets. It’s a solid option for a solid laptop that won’t cost you a fortune.

Acer Aspire 5 (2022, A515-57-56UV)

Advantages

  • Solid daily performance

  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

  • Over 11 hours of battery life

The inconvenients

  • Weak speakers

  • 1080p non-touch screen and not too bright

  • Half-width number pad feels cramped

The essential

You won’t get much comfort from the Acer Aspire 5, but you’ll get solid performance for everyday use and the battery life to back it up.

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