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[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L: High-End Users Beware, this is Not for You

It has been a while since we published a review here at 9to5gadgets, though in all fairness it's been a while since we've seen a product interesting enough to warrant one (these reviews do take quite a bit of time).

Today, we're here to talk about a laptop that has us pretty excited -though an entry level model at that- we're talking about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L.

In this review of the Aspire 5 515-43-R19L we will talk about the good, the bad and the ugly, because obviously this laptop does have its limitations and we're not going to pretend that it doesn't.

That said, it's price to specs ratio is amongst the best we have seen in a very very long time. Without further ado, let's get on with this review and try to figure out if this is the right laptop for you.

  1. Who is this laptop for?
  2. Let's talk design and keyboard
  3. What's the performance like?
  4. Graphics & Battery life
  5. Connectivity options
  6. Closing arguments 

Who is the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L for?

Acer's new budget laptop is perfectly suited for those of you who are looking for a laptop that has a fast performance on tasks such as browsing the web, editing documents and streaming movies without breaking the bank in the process.

Thanks to its solid state drive and mid-range processor, it's well suited as an entry level laptop that would be great for students, people who don't work consistently with image editing software or gamers. Its low price point and rave reviews are its main strengths but due to its specs it could easily cost 100 dollars more and still be worth its price.

Review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L

A slick design but nothing groundbreaking

Let's kick things off by talking about the design. Sure enough, it's not going to win any innovation awards as what we see here has already been replicated by countless other laptops in the market. That said, it is one of the first very affordable laptops to implement such a stylish design.

In this regard, we can say that this laptop does not provide us with a "cheap" feel that many entry-level models do. 

It's got a decent build and weighs just under 4 pounds making it quite a portable device. A very attractive feature is the fact that the display (a 15.6 inch one at that) is made out of IPS LED technology, providing for better viewing angles as well as a generally crisp image when accounting for the Full HD resolution delivered in this model.

In fact, the display is one of the main reasons that buyers seem to love this model, at least according to the customer feedback we've seen. 

When talking about the keyboard, it's quite comfortable for long typing sessions and even offers us a back-lit option which is rarely available on laptops within this price range. Also worth noting is the fact that it comes with a dedicated numeric pad, sure enough, it's a bit cramped due to the dimensions of the machine but it's a nice bonus that isn't all that popular these days.

Let's talk about the performance

We're not gonna sugar coat it, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L is not a stellar performer and if you're a software developer, a designer or an image editor then you should stop reading right now as this model is not going to satisfy your needs by a long shot. 

When it comes down to the specs we've got a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U that clocks in at a 2.6 GHz speed and can reach a maximum of 3.5 GHz when pressed for more intensive tasks. 

If you come from an Intel background we should point that it is the performance equivalent of an Intel Core i3, specifically meeting somewhere in the middle between the performance of a 7th and 8th generation model. 

Coupled with the Ryzen 3 we've also got 4 GB of DDR4 RAM which you could easily upgrade to 32 GB if needed - there are 10 screws in the back and it's a rather easy upgrade as you can see in our tutorial- and there's also the fact that this model comes with 128 GB of SSD storage (also expandable), also known as Solid State Storage.

Why is this storage important? You might be thinking that it's not enough storage but the issue here is not the storage capacity (which you can also upgrade) but rather the storage type. It's not all that common to see an affordable laptop betting on implementing an SSD unit.

 However, this is a great thing because an SSD storage unit improves performance over your standard hard drive by up to 10 times. That means it's faster to download stuff, upload stuff, turn the computer on or off, search for files, basically everything is significantly faster when we have an SSD storage unit.

What does all of this mean in terms of day-to-day performance?

The 515-43-R19L was built as an entry level model, something we can appreciate within the specs just listed and as such offers a good performance on tasks such as browsing the web, streaming movies on Netflix (or whatever platform you choose), editing office documents, Skyping with friends and that's about it. 

If you buy this laptop expecting much more then you will be disappointed, it's not a bad laptop it's just aimed at less demanding users, something that's also reflected on the price point.

Let's talk graphics and battery life

The Acer Aspire 5 comes with an integrated graphics chip, specifically the AMD Radeon Vega 3. This means that this is not a gaming laptop

Sure enough, you could play games like Fortnite or Fifa 18 at a decent frame rate if you adjust the resolution settings but this is not the laptop you buy for AAA games, nor does it pretend to be.

That said, the graphics chip is more than enough to power the Full HD display and is great for watching videos on high resolution and even doing some light picture editing.

When it comes down to battery life we all know by now that what is advertised is hardly ever true and the A515-43-R19L  is no exception. Specifically, Acer claims this model can give you up to 7.5 hours of battery life with "up to" being the operative term here.

We are sure that under idyllic conditions that may be the case, such as you disconnecting the wifi, having the brightness at 40%, and only having your office editor open but in real-life usage this number is not truly representative as many customers have already attested.

In reality, you should expect battery life to be between 4 to 5 hours, but as you know, "mileage may vary" depending on your usage. 

Connectivity features

Moving onto the connectivity we don't really have complaints. The laptop packs two USB 3.0 ports, a standalone USB 3.1 type C port a USB 2.0 port, HDMI, a card reader, and, of course, an RJ45 connector in case you want to ditch the WiFi and use the wired connection instead.

Speaking of WiFi, another feature we really appreciate is the inclusion of a WiFi 802.11 ac standard, which offers us a faster connection than your standard b/g/n connectivity assuming you have a compatible router. 

There's also Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, an HD webcam and the sound is provided by the Acer True Harmony software which is not bad but will hardly replace a decent external bluetooth speaker.

Closing arguments

Reviewing a laptop is a big responsibility, you're trying to assess a buyer to the best of your ability whether they should spend their hard-earned money on a specific device. We do not take this responsibility lightly and we know that many of you count on us to deliver a sincere review.

That said, after doing an extensive review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L we know that it is not a laptop that is suitable for everyone since most people have different needs. It's a good purchase if you plan on using this laptop to browse the web, stream movies, and edit documents. 

However, if you are going to use this laptop for gaming, or you're planning on editing images in a professional manner then we are afraid to say that this laptop will fall short of your expectations.

The question of buying this laptop is going to come down to what you want to do with it, but it is true that it does deliver a stellar price to spec relation that we have not really seen elsewhere. If you're not a very demanding user then you won't be disappointed, that much we can guarantee.