Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G - Full Review with Pros and Cons
Acer’s Aspire Lineup consists of entry level everyday-use laptops which usually provide the best bang-for-the-buck configurations. The current Aspire 5 series replaces the older Aspire 5 series with the most visible difference between them being the processor upgrade to 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs. The laptop in review has an Intel i5-10210U CPU and there are other variants with Core i3 and i7 CPUs available. The ‘G’ moniker in the model name suggests that the laptop has dedicated graphics, in this case there is a Nvidia Geforce MX250 dedicated GPU installed. For storage the laptop has a 512GB NVMe SSD.
Build and Quality
There is not much that meets the eye when one first takes a look the laptop. The lid of the laptop is made of matte finish aluminium whereas the rest of the laptop is all plastic. The lid is well build and does not flex a lot. The hinge is also very sturdy and is an upgrade from the previous generation. The keyboard deck, however, is prone to a lot of flex. The feel of the laptop is also nothing to write home about but it is nothing bad with no sharp edges and cheap plastic. Overall, it feels like a decent budget laptop.
The laptop weighs around 1.9 kgs which is very light for a 15.6 inch laptop and is only 18 mm thick, making it a portable machine. There are thin bezels on three sides of the display and a webcam rests on the top bezel.
Ports, I/O and Connectivity
The Aspire 5 has all the ports one would expect from a budget everyday-use laptop. To the left of the laptop, there is the power plug, RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, as well as two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports and a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port. To the right, there is a USB 2.0 Type A port and a combo audio jack. Sadly there is no SD Card reader. The USB-C port is not Thunderbolt 3 enabled.
Getting into the laptop is relatively easy. By just removing 11 Philips-head screws from the bottom panel and popping it off with a plastic pry tool, one gets access to the 1x SODIMM slots, which in this unit was occupied by a 4GB SODIMM, one 2.5 inch drive bay and one M.2 Storage slot. Accessing the WLAN module requires you to remove the M.2 storage drive though. There is one 4GB RAM module soldered on to the motherboard resulting in a total of 8GB of system memory in our system.
Keyboard – The keyboard on the Aspire 5 is essentially the same as that on the previous generation. The keys have a fairly short amount of travel and don’t feel mushy. The tactile feedback can be termed as soft. Still, typing long documents on this laptop won’t be much of a problem. The keyboard has a numpad to the right. The Up/Down arrow keys, can feel a bit too small and cramped to use. There is an option for backlighting and this model came with it.
Touchpad – The touchpad comes with Windows Precision drivers and is of a click-pad style, meaning you can click down anywhere. It is of a decent size though the surface is not well suited for precision cursor control.
There is no fingerprint scanner on this laptop.
The Aspire 5 comes with a Full HD IPS display. It is nice to see an IPS panel instead of a cheap TN panel which is still found on some budget devices. Due to the IPS nature of the display, viewing angles are excellent. The display only covers 55% of the sRGB colour space. This means that the laptop is ill-suited for colour-sensitive work like photo and video editing.
Peak brightness is around 275 nits though this can vary depending upon the panel used on the particular model. The laptop can be used outside though not under direct sunlight as the display becomes too dim to see anything.
This particular SKU comes with Intel’s 10th 14nm++ i5-10210U CPU. There is a minor upgrade over the prevous generations i5-8265U and offers a roughly 10% performance boost. The inclusion of the Nvidia Geforce MX 250 dedicated GPU makes the laptop a viable option for casual gaming. The laptop can play lighter titles at its native resolution at 60FPS and can give 60FPS in newer titles if one lowers the resolution with low-medium settings. The CPU scores 4546 in the single-core and 10268 in the multi-core GeekBench V4 benchmark.
The heat dissipation is relatively simple in this laptop as there is a single heat pipe connecting both the CPU and the GPU which goes into a single fan. Inspite of this, the laptop does not get too hot under normal use. This is partly because of the low TDP of the CPU and the GPU used.
This particular configuration has a 512 GB NVMe Intel SSD. The laptop has an empty 2.5 inch drive bay which can be used to expand the storage. Other configurations include a 2TB/512GB hybrid configuration and a 1TB SSD configuration. Read/write speeds are upto NVMe standards and load times for games are very fast.
The Aspire 5 comes with dual bottom firing speakers which sound okay, nothing too speaking. There is not much distortion over all frequencies but the volume does not get loud enough. They are decent for a budget laptop but it is still recommended to get an external Bluetooth speaker if you want to listen to music aloud.
The Aspire 5 has a 48Wh battery, which remains unchanged from previous generations. There is no fast-charging support and battery life can last up to 8 hours on light tasks which is a major improvement over last year’s model which had high power consumption even when idle.