Acer Aspire 5 (2022, A515-57-56UV) review. | Media Pyro


The name Acer Aspire has always been a bit of clever branding, since the series is positioned as a better-than-average choice among budget laptops – a notebook you can afford, but with the features and performance you need. It didn’t always hit the mark, but the company managed to produce solid economy options year after year. The latest Aspire 5 (starts at $369.99; $599.99 as tested) offers a 12th Generation Intel processor and decent RAM and storage. It provides pretty good performance and battery life, but as you’d expect, some basic features are kept for the sake of affordability.

The 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 has a Core i5-1235U chip (two Performance cores, eight Efficiency cores, 12 threads) with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB solid-state drive, along with its display full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) non-contact. It’s built to offer fairly good levels of quality in all but a few areas, and that’s reflected in the design, from the materials used to the interior connections and components.

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 heavy to toss around in a laptop bag or backpack. The Asus VivoBook 15 is a bit trimmer at 0.78 by 14.1 at 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 covered in aluminium, but the rest of the chassis is quite strong plastic. The laptop is large enough for a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad, although the latter has half-width keys.

The keyboard is backlit for visibility in dimly lit rooms, and the tile keys are reasonably comfortable to type on. The keyboard’s narrower keys aren’t as comfortable, but any number pad is better if you’re entering a lot of data in spreadsheets. The touchpad is extra-wide, giving you a spacious surface for gesture controls as well as basic clicking and scrolling.

The Aspire 5 doesn’t skimp on connectivity, and there are plenty of ports that will allow you to avoid the need to bring a hub or adapter. On the left side of the laptop are three USB 3.2 ports (one Type 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 side, you’ll find a third USB-A port and a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as a Kensington lock slot to physically secure the machine. Wi-Fi 6 handles your networking needs (assuming you don’t use the Ethernet port), and Bluetooth is available for wirelessly connecting headphones, keyboards, and mice.

right ports Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57).

(Credit: Molly Flores)

No Feast for the Eyes and Ears

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

The 1080p IPS screen is a bit too low in an era when high-resolution displays and even 4K displays are offered on many laptops, but they’re not common at this price point, and full HD is preferred by at least some ultra-notebooks. free ‘1,366 by 768. The 15.6-inch size is adequate for everyday tasks such as schoolwork, web browsing, and video and movie streaming, but in this segment you shouldn’t expect great brightness or better dull colors . Touch screens are also scarce in this price range.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) front view.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The Aspire 5 is outfitted with a pair of speakers below. The clarity of the sound is not bad, but the speakers are surprisingly quiet. Watching YouTube videos online, I had to crank the volume to maximum to get enough sound.

Testing the Aspire 5 2022: Performance for Price

For this review, we compared the Aspire 5 to other budget-friendly 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 in this price. range we have seen over the past year. We also included the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 and the Gateway 15.6-inch Ultra Slim, two rock bottom budget machines with less capable hardware and limited specifications.

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

Two other CPU tests that stress 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 encoding a 12-minute clip of 4K video ( the Blender Foundation short Tears of Steel) to 1080p resolution. Our final productivity test is workstation vendor Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud 22 version of Adobe’s popular image editor to measure a PC’s suitability for multimedia and digital content creation.

The Aspire 5’s updated Intel Core i5 CPU is well suited for everyday applications, whether in the classroom, home or office. Our test unit beat the bottom-feeding Inspiron and even outperformed the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 in most tests.

We test the graphics prowess of PCs with two game-like animations each from two benchmark rooms. 3DMark UL provides the DirectX 12 Night Raid (less challenging, 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 performance test that uses both low-level routines like texting and high-level image rendering. Its 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase subtests 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, it is naturally limited in graphics performance. 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 need to look elsewhere. That said, its graphics are faster than most economy models, and often lead 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 backlighting turned off, until the system shuts down. We also use the Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure the screen coverage of common color gamuts or palettes and their brightness in nits (candles per square meter).

With an unplugged runtime of 11 and a half hours, the Acer shows pretty good stamina for the price. The screen, however, did not surprise us – it is a typical economy panel with limited color reproduction and barely adequate brightness, which is only slightly less than the 300 nits that we consider as a baseline, let alone the 400 nits that we prefer . To be honest though, you won’t be much better in this class.

Verdict: Budget Compromise, But Not a Bad One

Made to straddle the line between budget and midrange laptops, the Acer Aspire 5 has a tightrope to walk, balancing an affordable price and capable features. The latest version manages that balance fairly well, although there are some rough spots that are hard to ignore, such as the lackluster display and missing biometric and touchscreen features. But overall, it delivers what the Aspire line has always promised, a better-than-bare-bones laptop for consumers on a tight budget.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) rear view.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

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

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


  • Solid daily performance

  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

  • More than 11 hours of battery life


  • Weak speakers

  • 1080p non-touch display, not too bright

  • A half-width numeric pad feels cramped

The Bottom Line

You won’t get a lot of creature comforts with Acer’s Aspire 5, but you’ll get solid performance for everyday use – and the battery life to back it up.

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