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[Review]Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2: What took them so long?

Acer has done an amazing job as of late when it comes to introducing very high-quality mid-range laptops.

We spoke in-depth earlier about the Acer Aspire 5 515 43 R19L, a nice laptop if you're looking for a device to browse the web, edit some texts and stream Netflix but if you're looking for a laptop that can get down with the best of 'em you're going to need a lot more horsepower and that's precisely where the newly released Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2 comes in.

Acer's latest mid-range flagship debuts with a 10th generation Core i5 processor, 256 GB of SSD storage, and 8 GB of upgradable RAM, all tied together withing a lightweight body of just under 4 pounds. 

Today we're going to get down and really examine Acer's latest offering to check if it's worth your money or if you should look in another direction as we dive headfirst onto this review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2.

  1. Let's talk design and keyboard
  2. What's the performance like?
  3. Graphics & Battery life
  4. What are people saying about this laptop?
  5. Anything else worth pointing out?
  6. Closing arguments

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2: The in-depth review you can't miss

A classic design that doesn't re-invent the wheel

Let's get one thing out of the way: Acer did not lose any sleep over the design of the A515-54-59W2.

It doesn't boast an ultralight form factor nor does it compress the bezels to their minimum expression as many modern laptops do. No, to be completely honest, this could just as well be the design of a laptop launched 5 years prior and none would be the wiser.

That said, it still packs a functional design with an aluminum top cover to provide a bit more of a "premium feel" as well as a relatively lightweight construction of just 3.97 pounds.

When it comes to the display we've got a 15.6 inch IPS Full HD display that comes with Acer's very own BlueLightShield technology which basically reduces the ever so common eye fatigue derived from spending long hours in front of a screen by reducing blue light emissions from the display.

It's not a spectacular display but it's good enough for most users if you're looking to do some light video editing or stream movies in Full HD resolution. That said, if you come from a 5-year-old HD display then it's definitely a step up that you're bound to notice and appreciate from the get-go.

Another design feature worth pointing out is the backlit keyboard which is quite use ful when working late nights as well as the fingerprint reader which is located on the upper left side of the trackpad and works along with Windows Hello to provide a quick and seamless experience to unlock your laptop.

Finally, for those who spend a lot of time crunching numbers you'll also be pleased to hear that the keyboard also has a dedicated numeric keyboard on the right-hand side, sure enough it's not as spacious as you might be used to but it's still far better than having to crunch numbers only through a horizontal numeric pad.

Let's talk performance...

While Acer placed little effort on the design of this laptop it does deliver when it comes to key internals.

In that regard, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2 packs a 10th generation Intel Core i5 10210U CPU which works at a base clock speed of 1.6 GHz and can reach a maximum of 4.2 GHz when pressed for more demanding performance.

When it comes to memory we've got 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and the storage is also quite impressive for a mid-range with 256 GB of SSD storage.

What does this all mean in the day to day?

If you're not much of a technical geek as we are then you should know that these are some pretty nice specs.

Its powerful processor combined with its speedy storage and ample RAM should allow you to work on multiple programs at a time, launch virtual machines and have zero issues with the more common tasks such as streaming videos, editing documents, or skyping with friends. 

Will I notice the SSD storage?

If you come from a hard drive laptop (most laptops were a few years back) then prepare to be amazed by the SSD storage.

Sure enough, 256 GB might seem a bit tight when it comes to storage capacity but you need to understand that an SSD does a lot more than simply serve as a storage place for your software and media.

An SSD unit such as this one will boost the speed of a laptop ten fold allowing you to go from shutdown to browsing the web in under 30 seconds as some customers have pointed out and it doesn't stop there as you'll notice a significant boost in speed on stuff like downloads, searching for files, turning off your laptop, rendering images and everything in between.

Can I upgrade the RAM or the storage?

If there's one benefit to the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2 coming with an old school design is that you can easily upgrade key features such as the RAM and the storage without much difficulty even without being a "techie".

Specifically, this laptop comes with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM soldered onto the motherboard and another 4 GB which may be replaced with a unit of a maximum of 16 GB of DDR4 RAM allowing for a total of 20 GB. That's a lot of memory!

It should be noted however that by no means are we saying that the basic 8 GB it comes with are insufficient since you'll probably be fine with 8 GB depending on what you want to do with the laptop but it's still nice to know that you can increase the memory down the line if you wanted to, ergo extending the laptop's life cycle.

Storage is also upgradable, with a dedicated 7 mm slot available for you to insert another storage unit, be it a hard drive or an SSD.

What's the battery life like? Is it suitable for gaming?

While some people value performance above all else, some users give greater value to a laptop's portability and battery life.

We have already established that the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2 is not the most portable of laptops - though it's hardly the least - but; what about its battery life?

In that regard, Acer doesn't disappoint. The company promises a maximum 9.5 hours and it seems as though they're committed to delivering on that promise.

Specifically, users have attested to the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2 lasting roughly 7 hours with multiple tabs and a virtual machine running in the background.

Therefore, it seems reasonable that the laptop might actually manage to reach the 9.5 hour mark once we reduce our demands to perhaps 5-6 tabs open and with the brightness set to half. Either way, even if 7 hours was the real battery life that Acer is offering it's still quite good when compared to other models within its price range.

As far as gaming is concerned it comes with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 card which means you can pretty much forget about doing any serious gaming on this laptop.

Graphically speaking this card is best suited for tasks such as image and video editing on an intermediate level but you shouldn't really expect much more unless you're dealing with a laptop that packs a dedicated graphics chip.

What are people saying about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2?

When combing through the multiple reviews we can see that people, in general, are big fans of this laptop, perhaps much more unanimously than any other laptop that does not boast the Apple logo.

All in all, there seems to be a general consensus that this is a great laptop when you consider its tight price point with most users being very vocal about this issue.

Surely you can't expect a 500 dollar laptop to deliver a 1000 dollar laptop performance because if that's the case then you're going to be quite disappointed.

That said, people seem to be very taken by the speedy performance, excellent battery life and overall experience when using this laptop with only one person pointing towards this laptop having a very noisy fan at the time of publishing this review - however, another user commented that when updating the laptop the fan issue disappeared-.

Anything else worth knowing?

In wrapping up this review we would be remiss if we didn't point out the fact that this laptop comes with the latest WiFi 6 technology allowing for faster and more effective download speeds and "internet distribution" respectively (assuming you have a WiFi 6 router). You've also got your standard HD webcam as well as the classic Acer TrueHarmony speakers.

We've also got multiple USB ports - including a USB Type C port -, HDMI output, audio jack and ethernet port, also known as RJ45 port.

Verdict: Should I buy this laptop?

Every user has different needs and they value different things on a laptop so there's never going to be a "one size fits all" model. That said, this laptop comes as close to perfection as you're going to get for its price.

All in all, you've got your state of the art tenth generation Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM which you may easily upgrade to a maximum of 20 GB, an SSD storage unit to give you a speed boost on anything you do, a very decent battery life and a nice assortment of extras such as the fingerprint sensor and WiFi 6 technologies. In truth, this is an all-round great laptop and one you're likely to love working with.