A Lightweight Budget Workhorse
It is not often that you come across a major brand, making a conscious effort to build a budget product that over-delivers when it comes to value in comparison to its price. With the Aspire 5 A515-43, Acer may very well fit in the above example. Read our in-depth review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43 to find out more about its performance, specs, and whether it is the right laptop for your needs or not. Let’s get started.
- Super affordable
- Great value for money
- Gorgeous 15-inch display
- Sleek design
- Decent battery
- Terrible graphics card
- Lack of a CD/DVD burner
Design / Build Quality / Durability
Most often, you’ll find that most budget laptops are non-aesthetically boxy and generally feature a cheap plastic body. This, however, simply isn’t true with the A515-43, whose style and design is as such that it can easily hold its own against more premium builds.
Slim, sleek, and professional-looking, the laptop boasts all-aluminum exterior chassis mated with a matte black keyboard and bezel. The lid is secured with magnets on both sides, with the laptop producing a nice, reassuring click upon closing.
With that said, one caveat to acknowledge here is the surprising lack of indentation, which does make it difficult to open the laptop afterward unless you are making use of both hands. The slightly wobbly base is another quirk but isn’t really that noticeable.
The body of the laptop is proven to be durable, having some measure of resistance against abuse, fall, and impact of elements. With that said, it is a budget laptop, so deliberate neglect is definitely not something we would recommend.
This particular model of the Aspire 5 lineup comes with an 8th generation Dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U with integrated Radeon Vega 3 graphic card and 4 GB of RAM. While this makes the device, spec-wise, nothing spectacular, it still is an amazing deal, given its extremely low price tag.
Overall, while not beefy enough to run the more demanding multimedia programs or be able to run the latest triple-A games, the A414-43 is still a completely decent workhorse for handling general day-to-day computer tasks such as web browsing, video streaming, and using Microsoft Office.
Nonetheless, we do recommend investing in a RAM upgrade (the laptop does feature an extra DDR4 slot) if your work involving running multiple programs at once.
Portability (Size and Weight)
Despite the large screen size and marketed as a low-end laptop (which are usually bulky), Aspire 5 A515-43 is, in fact, an amazing portable machine. Thanks to its amazingly narrow bezels, it measures 14.3 inches lengthwise. It is also remarkably thin – at its thickest, it is just a mere 0.7 inches.
Weight-wise, the figure is equally superb, with the laptop weighing just under 3 lbs. Given these figures and its discreet profile, it makes for a very travel-friendly option.
Among budget laptops, battery life is often a contentious issue. In a bid to cut down the prices, budget laptops usually have their battery lives compromised. But this is not so the case with the A515-43. Thanks to its highly efficient power-saving architecture, the laptop boasts a maximum battery life of nearly 7 and a half hours on a single charge. This is adequate for most people in regards to their day to day work.
Sure, it is nothing spectacular in comparison to what certain laptops on the market can today boast of, but at such a low-price level, laptops typically come with a battery life of 5 to 6 hours.
As with the case in many other sections, here too did this very affordable Acer Aspire model surprised us in terms of quality. The chiclet-style keys are all backlit, allowing for their easier navigation in low light conditions. Response and feel of the keys are spectacular, although key travel does leave some to be desired.
The inclusion of a dedicated numeric pad is quite welcoming and particularly useful for quickly crunching numbers when working on programs such as Excel. However, the compactness of the layout might be a strain on the larger hands.
In contrast to most other laptops offered at this price range, typing with the keyboard for a long-duration isn’t very fatiguing. But, with that said, just don’t have unrealistic expectations of it as, yes, it can’t compete with those featured on premium build machines.
The trackpad on this laptop is standard but designed a bit on the large scale. While this means that your palm might frequently brush against its surface, it’s a non-issue as the trackpad is particularly adept at filtering out false inputs.
Display Quality & Screen Size
In its price range, the Aspire 5 a515 packs one of the best-looking displays of any model, showcasing crisp, high contrast and vivid color visuals. The LED-backlit 15.6-inch screen boasts a full HD (1920 x 1080) display, and the integration of In-plane switching (IPS) technology guarantees that the quality remains consistent no matter from which angle you look at the screen.
To further aid with viewing comfort, Acer has incorporated its trademark ‘Comfyview’ anti-glare design into the screen, meaning little or no distracting reflections while you work from any incoming rays.
Noticeably missing is a touchscreen option, but then again, with Acer already having given out so much for such a low price, it is hardly a genuine complaint.
Arguably, the price point of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-44 is its strongest selling point. You usually don’t get so much in terms of value from a well-known brand at such a price range. Students and budget value hunters are going to find this laptop particularly welcoming, given both its decent level of performance, lasting durability, and a stunning display that rival that of more high-end counterparts.
With the Acer Aspire 5 A515-44, storage is sort of a mixed bag. The installed solid-state drive is certainly fast, allowing programs to boot super quickly and making near-instantaneous large data transfers possible. However, it has only a mere 128 GB of storage, which affords you with only 100 GB of free space once you factor in Windows 10 and other pre-installed programs.
What this means is that, unless you make use of cloud storage or routinely delete clutter from the laptop, the storage is bound to fill up quickly. It is recommended to get an external drive for storing files that you don’t use frequently.
Ports & Connectivity
The ports and connectivity options on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43 are nothing beyond ordinary but certainly could have been better without impacting much of the affordability. On the left-hand side of the machine, you get 2 USB ports (1 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0), an HDMI connection, ethernet, and microphone-headphone combo audio jack.
Meanwhile, on the right, there is just a single USB 2.0 port and a laptop security slot. Notably missing from the set is the newer USB Type C port, a CD/DVD burner, and a slot for a memory card reader. In addition, the laptop comes integrated with Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO support, the latter of which is particularly helpful in enhancing your wireless Internet performance.
At this low-price range, don’t expect much in terms of graphic performance. In fact, it would be better to say that you shouldn’t expect anything at all. The entry-level Radeon Vega 3 packs just enough performance to aid in running most office programs and some light visual editors.
It can run some of the older games smoothly (pre-2010) but bring any modern triple-A game, and the graphic card will quickly die even if you set the game graphics to the lowest possible settings.
If there is any redeeming factor that this GPU has is its clever-power saving features, which does work to help extend the laptop’s battery.
What Are Buyers Saying?
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-43 is a good example of just what level of success a brand can achieve by going out of its way to bring awesome value to there customers. In the U.S, it has been among the bestselling laptops of its generation.
Customer reviews of the A515-43 have been overwhelmingly positive. Many praised its decent battery life, great value for money, and its beautiful, well-crafted design. Its full HD display and backlit keyboard were also positively commented on.
Given the low price point, there was hardly much room for genuine complaints about the laptop. A few that were included the lack of a card reader and CD/DVD reader as well as the Acer’s decision to have included Windows 10 s mode as its default OS.
Does the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43 have a blue light filter?
Yes, the laptop comes with Acer’s proprietary BlueLightShield. It features four viewing modes. The first three allow you to reduce the amount of blue light emitting from the screen by up to 18%, 36%, and 54%, respectively. The last, called the ‘Long Hour Mode,’ optimally tunes the screen settings to ensure minimal eye strain while you work on the laptop for long hours.
Can the installed Windows be switched out of S mode?
The Windows S mode limits apps installation only to those available on the Microsoft Store. If you want to install any other apps, you will have to switch out of S mode. To do so, simply follow these instructions:
Hit the Windows Key and then go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation.
In the Switch to Windows 10 Home, select Go to the Store.
At the Microsoft Store, you will find a Switch out of S mode (or similar) page appears. Select the Get button and wait for the confirmation message on the page. You’re done!
For an even lower price tag, you can buy yourself an equally decent machine but from a lesser well-known brand. Compared to Acer’s option, the Herobook Pro packs in much more RAM and SSD storage at 8 GB and 256 GB respectively.
The display seems to be just as top-notch as the one on the Aspire 5 model, including settings for enhancing eye comfort. At 9 continuous hours, battery life is simply among the best at the price range outside of Chromebooks.
One key area where it does lag behind is processing power. The Intel Gemini lake N4000 Processor and UHD Graphics 600 graphic cards noticeably lags in performance when compared to AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-Radeon Vega 3 combo. Durability is another issue. Its all-plastic body isn’t at all that receptive to withstanding much abuse.
Sure, while not packing the performance or advanced features of its bigger siblings in the Acer Aspire series, the A515-43-r19l is still a gem of a laptop in its own right.
The Ryzen 3 3200U brings out a comparable performance to its Intel i3 counterpart, and with a simple upgrade of its RAM, you can get really quite a robust little computer that’s capable of handling most of your everyday tasks.
Its price point is no joke. It is an amazingly valued budget laptop that isn’t a Chromebook, being offered on the market to a thrifty audience.