Acer Aspire 5 (2019) evaluation: A $400 laptop computer that doesn’t suck
“The Acer Aspire 5 fixes its show and battery life, bringing the most effective worth you’ll discover for below $500.”
Strong productiveness efficiency with a reasonable upside
Excellent battery life
A greater-than-budget show
Comfy keyboard and touchpad
Smaller than the earlier model, however nonetheless cumbersome
Show bezels are nonetheless not sufficiently small
Not everybody can afford to spend a thousand bucks on a laptop computer, and thankfully, that doesn’t imply it’s important to purchase a chunk of junk. No, you received’t get horny or thrilling for below $500. However for those who’re cautious, you may get nice efficiency, battery life, and options — particularly for those who go for the $400 Acer Aspire 5.
What do you get for thus little cash? When it comes to elements, there’s an Eighth-gen dual-core i3-8145U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) show. You’ll be able to spend $260 to improve to a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. Right here’s a bit foreshadowing: That is perhaps your higher guess until you’re extraordinarily low on money.
So, does the Acer Aspire 5 handle to justify its oh-so-low worth? Or does it minimize too many corners to make even such a finances worth too excessive?
Nothing fallacious with the construct high quality at costs like this
Okay, let’s be proper up entrance right here: You’re not going to get an all-aluminum (or magnesium, or no matter) development that looks like a stable chunk of steel for $400. However in contrast to the earlier mannequin of the Aspire 5, which we discovered had a lid that was far too versatile, this model is much more inflexible – most likely on account of its aluminum body.
The plastic keyboard deck resists flexing, and the plastic backside of the chassis is stable. You’ll haven’t any actual complaints about construct high quality. And the lid is stiff however holds its place properly, whereas with the ability to lengthen to a full 180 levels for sharing data with associates and colleagues.
Mark Coppock/Digital Traits
You additionally received’t have too many complaints – or accolades – in regards to the aesthetics, both. There’s nothing fallacious with the look, precisely, no less than in our very typical silver coloration scheme. The Acer emblem on the lid is the one actual adornment, and in any other case, it is a very merely designed laptop computer. Perhaps for those who selected one of many different coloration schemes, such because the black, purple, mild blue or darkish blue, you then’d have a bit extra panache. If you happen to’re in search of one thing that stands out, the Aspire 5 isn’t for you – however at these costs, do you actually care?
Two main modifications have been comprised of the earlier model. First, the bezels are smaller, particularly alongside the edges. The Aspire 5 isn’t a member of the tiny bezel membership, however it seems to be extra trendy than its predecessor. Second, it’s additionally smaller in all dimensions, together with being thinner at zero.71 inches (in comparison with zero.85 inches) and lighter at three.97 kilos (versus four.63 kilos). It may’t fairly dwell as much as the zero.66 inches and three.72 kilos of its finances competitor, the Lenovo IdeaPad 530s, however it’s shut sufficient for presidency work.
The keyboard and touchpad are higher than you’d anticipate for the value.
We’ll be aware that our favourite finances laptop computer, the Acer Aspire E 15, is reaching its finish of life. That signifies that we’ll be in search of a alternative advice and given simply how way more svelte the Aspire 5 is than the Aspire E 15 (1.19 inches thick and 5.27 kilos), the newest Acer is perhaps a very good different. We’ll proceed to judge it for simply that objective.
Maybe paradoxically, finances laptops with comparatively thick chassis typically supply among the greatest connectivity. The Aspire 5 is a living proof. You get a USB-C three.1 Gen 1 port, two USB-A three.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-A Gen 2 port, a full-size HDMI port, and a gigabit Ethernet port for these occasions when solely a wired connection will do. That’s plenty of ports, and the one factor you’re lacking is Thunderbolt three – and good luck discovering that characteristic for below $1,000. Wi-fi connectivity is supplied by 802.11ac 2X2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2 – not the newest normal, however not unhealthy, both.
A greater keyboard and touchpad than you may anticipate
It looks like currently, we’re seeing fewer and fewer low cost, mushy keyboards, and that makes us very completely satisfied. Accordingly, the Aspire 5’s keyboard punches manner above its worth. It’s a really typical island keyboard with black keys and white letters, and there’s the bonus of a backlight — which is uncommon for finances laptops, even when it’s solely on and off. The texture of the keys is a bit shallow, however they nonetheless press with a quick click on and that makes for a exact really feel. It’s not Dell XPS 13 or HP Spectre x360 13 good, however it’s ok for a quick contact typist to maintain up and not using a downside.
Mark Coppock/Digital Traits
The touchpad can also be excellent, with loads of dimension, a snug plastic floor, and buttons that aren’t too loud. It’s additionally a Microsoft Precision touchpad, that means it gives glorious assist for Home windows 10’s multitouch gestures. It’s simply the equal of laptops costing tons of of extra.
When it comes to enter, that’s all you get, although. There’s no contact show, which is par for the finances course, and there’s no Home windows 10 Hi there mechanism for password-less login. That’s a bummer, however once more, you could hand over one thing to usher in a laptop computer for $400.
A greater-than-budget show and competent sound
The 2018 Aspire 5 had a mediocre show, and in reality that was one of many the explanation why we gave it a low rating. Acer took be aware, apparently, as a result of they geared up the 2019 model with a a lot better 15.6-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) panel.
First, the distinction was made apparent by our colorimeter. Colours are a bit muted, at simply 64% of the sRGB gamut and 47% of AdobeRGB. If you happen to spent just a few hundred extra, you’d get nearer to a 100% in sRGB. Nonetheless, the display high quality right here is aggressive with laptops on this worth vary. Shade accuracy was first rate at 2.49 (1.zero or much less is great, and located on essentially the most premium laptops), and considerably higher than the 2018 model.
Don’t misunderstand us – these aren’t spectacular colours if you have to edit photographs or video. And for those who’re in search of colours that basically pop on websites and in your individual photograph assortment, you then’ll be disenchanted with this show. However it’s important to give one thing as much as match a Full HD show into this sort of finances, and coloration depth and accuracy are often the primary to go. And admittedly, we don’t assume most individuals received’t discover this show disappointing even in these metrics.
Merely put, that is a powerful show for a $400 laptop computer.
Brightness was common at 238 nits, under the 300 nits we prefer to see however nonetheless aggressive with even some premium laptops. Distinction was excellent for a finances laptop computer, although, at 890:1 – very near the 1,000:1 that we expect makes for deep blacks and shiny whites. If there’s one knock in opposition to the show, it’s that the gamma was too darkish at 2.6, which we did discover whereas watching Netflix video.
The Aspire 5’s show is one other space the place it matches our favourite Aspire E 15, and provides it one more alternative to compete within the “greatest finances laptop computer” class. Merely put, that is a powerful show for a $400 laptop computer. And it’s not simply our colorimeter that thinks so – we loved utilizing this show excess of on most finances laptops we’ve used.
Audio was additionally surprisingly good, with loads of quantity with none distortion when turned all the best way up. Mids and highs have been robust, and there was even a touch of bass. You may simply binge Netflix utilizing these audio system, though music would profit from a very good pair of headphones. Once more, it is a nice outcome for such a reasonable machine.
Efficiency that matches the elements – and you’ll pay a bit for lots extra
Our $400 evaluation unit geared up a dual-core Core i3-8145U CPU. That’s not a lot quicker than Intel’s low-power Y-series CPUs, however it too makes use of much less energy than hungrier processors. When coupled with 4GB of RAM, we have been curious to see how the Aspire 5 would carry out.
Wanting on the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, the Aspire 5 was a middling performer, as anticipated. It scored four,197 within the single-core check and eight,028 within the multi-core check. Curiously, that falls behind the HP Spectre Folio with its Core i7-8500Y dual-core low-power CPU. The Aspire 5 was additionally properly behind the Core i5 laptops in our comparability group.
In our real-world Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video to H.265, the Aspire 5 beat out the Spectre Folio however was significantly slower at 484 seconds than the remainder of the machines in our record. Even the AMD Ryzen 5 2500u within the Acer Aspire three was quicker.
Subsequent, the Aspire 5 got here geared up with a 128GB Kingston PCIe SSD, which is a good characteristic for such a low-cost laptop computer. Normally, you’ll discover spinning exhausting disks on this worth vary, or at greatest slower SATA SSDs. And so whereas 128GB isn’t a ton of storage, its efficiency as a lot fast. Within the CrystalDiskMark 5 check, it scored 1,007 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the learn check and 492 MB/s second within the write check. That beats out the SATA drives in our check and even the Intel Optane-backed exhausting disk drive (HDD) within the Acer Aspire 5.
Mark Coppock/Digital Traits
So, what does that imply for you, the potential purchaser? The entry-level Aspire 5 isn’t the quickest benchmarking laptop computer round, however throughout our testing we discovered its efficiency greater than ok for the standard productiveness duties, browsing the net, watching Netflix, and the like. It’ll do all the pieces the standard workplace employee or pupil asks of it with out criticism – particularly for $400.
If you happen to’re anxious about this laptop computer getting too sizzling to deal with, don’t. Even at full load, the Aspire 5 stays cool, and there’s a purpose. First, the underside vents are enough to permit plenty of air to cross via the system and maintain issues cool. And, the followers spin up and get a bit loud. We’re not speaking gaming laptop computer loud right here, however it’s greater than the standard productiveness laptop computer.
On the identical time, we’re tempted to recommend you spend a few hundred extra and purchase the model with a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a GeForce MX250 GPU. With two extra cores, that machine is assured to be quicker, to multitask higher, and clearly to retailer extra information.
Gaming isn’t this laptop computer’s forte
The $400 Aspire 5 is restricted to Intel’s UHD 620 built-in graphics. Which means restricted gaming chops, and as soon as once more, we advocate splurging for the MX250 mannequin. With that discrete graphics on board, you’ll get a bit extra out of your Aspire 5.
We ran a few benchmarks, although, to see how the Aspire 5 would carry out. As anticipated, it wasn’t nice. It scored 791 within the 3DMark artificial Hearth Strike benchmark, which is low. And after we tried to run Fortnite, our expertise was equally disappointing. The Aspire 5 managed a paltry eight frames per second (FPS) at 1080p and Excessive graphics settings, and simply 5 FPS at Epic settings.
So, as we’ve been alluding to all through this evaluation, there’s another choice. Pay some further money for the model with the MX250 GPU, and also you’ll be capable to play informal video games like this with a a lot better expertise.
Battery life was a pleasant shock
Acer packed in 48 watt-hours of battery into the Aspire 5. That’s not loads for a 15.6-inch Full HD show, however we anticipated longevity to be assisted by the comparatively power-sipping CPU. Because it seems, we have been pleasantly stunned by the Aspire 5’s battery life.
To start with, in our internet shopping check that runs via a collection of in style websites, the Aspire 5 carried out properly in opposition to its friends. It managed simply over 9 hours, a robust rating, and missed the Aspire E 15’s rating by solely 9 minutes. And it beat out each different laptop computer in our comparability group – together with the Lenovo IdeaPad 530s by nearly three hours.
Subsequent, in our video check that loops a neighborhood Avengers trailer till the battery ran out, the Aspire 5 lasted for simply over 13 hours. Once more, that’s a robust rating that bests our comparability group and competes with some premium laptops with bigger batteries.
Efficiency is greater than ok for the standard workplace employee or pupil – particularly for $400.
Lastly, in our most demanding Basemark internet benchmark, the Aspire 5 lasted for nearly precisely 4 hours. That’s not a record-breaking rating, however it’s stable for the battery capability and show dimension. The IdeaPad 530s, for instance, solely managed round two and a half hours, whereas the Aspire E15 precisely matched the Aspire 5.
The Aspire 5 isn’t the thinnest or lightest 15.6-inch laptop computer round, that a lot is evident. However for the everyday productiveness employee, there’s an excellent likelihood that you just’ll be capable to get in a full working day with out carrying round your charger. And that’s not nothing.
It’s a very good factor that the Aspire 5 obtained its refresh so quickly earlier than the Aspire E 15 is slated to be discontinued. At this level, Acer can seemingly preserve its place on the high of the finances laptop computer heap. Sure, we like this $400 model, and we’re giving it a robust rating by itself deserves. However we suspect that we’d give simply as robust an endorsement to the $660 model with the quicker CPU, extra RAM, bigger SSD, and discrete GPU.
Is there a greater different?
If you happen to can nonetheless purchase it, the Acer Aspire E 15 is a robust competitor. It’s simply $600 for a Core i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SATA SSD. Acer additionally throws in a discrete Nvidia MX150 GPU that may energy some trendy video games at low resolutions and graphical element and plenty of indie titles. And that’s solely $60 lower than an Aspire 5 with extra space for storing and a more recent GPU. But when that’s your selection, you then’ll wish to choose one up earlier than it goes away.
Acer’s Swift three is another choice, notably for those who’re contemplating the costlier model of the Aspire 5. It prices $1,000 for a Core i7-8565U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an MX150 for quicker graphics . That compares to the equal Aspire 5 with a Core i7, 12GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an MX250 GPU for $850.
Lastly, you might take into account the Lenovo IdeaPad 530s. It’s a bit higher trying than the Aspire 5, and it has a barely higher construct high quality. It prices $735 as we reviewed it, with a Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch Full HD show. In fact, you may spend lower than that with the Aspire 5 and get extra RAM, storage, and a discrete GPU – so it is dependent upon how a lot better seems to be and construct high quality matter.
How lengthy will it final?
If you happen to spend $400 on a laptop computer, you then don’t essentially anticipate it to final a decade. And whereas the Aspire 5 feels prefer it’ll final some time, it’s held again by its comparatively gradual, dual-core CPU. The 1-year normal guarantee isn’t fairly as disappointing at this worth as it’s while you’re spending over $1,000 for a laptop computer.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. The Aspire 5, whether or not in its $400 evaluation configuration or its barely costlier $660 mannequin with a lot better elements, is our new favourite finances laptop computer.