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[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V: Surprisingly Good

Pros
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 10th generation Core i3 with TurboBoost
  • Full HD display
  • WiFi 6 connectivity
  • Upgradeable RAM
Cons
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • Standard design

Who says you can't buy a good laptop at a low price point? Sure, it's not going to have the specs of a Macbook Pro or an Asus Zenbook but when most of us are going to use it to surf the web, edit documents, zoom with friends and stream movies, you don't really need a supercomputer with state of the art technology. You just need a computer that's fast, has a good battery life, and can perform properly. That's where the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V comes in, one of Acer's most promising bets for the mid-range.

Acer's latest affordable laptop comes with a 10th generation Core i3 processor, 128 GB of SSD storage, 4 GB of RAM and a whole lot of other features we're going to dig into today as we uncover everything there is to know about this laptop in our review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V. Is it worth buying? Has it earned its spot amongst Amazon's top-selling laptops? Let's find out!

Index
  1. Let's talk design and keyboard
  2. Performance
  3. Battery life
  4. Connectivity options
  5. Closing remarks 

An ordinary design

Why kid ourselves? In terms of design, it's quite clear that Acer didn't set out to re-invent the wheel. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V has pretty much the same design we see across most laptops within its price range and, as such, it's not that innovative or particularly attractive.

The laptop isn't the thinnest of the herd either, weighing in at just under 4 pounds, well within what we expect from a 15.6 inch laptop in this price range.

As is expected in a 2020 laptop, the bezels have been narrowed - at least on the sides -, which make for a slightly more modern-looking device, which is always appreciated. As for the quality of the display, it's alright, with a Full HD resolution which is far more than I can say for most 15-inch laptops below the 500 dollar mark.

An advantage of having a full-sized display is that you also get a full-sized keyboard to boot. That means you get a numeric keypad which is something that's slowly going extinct as most manufacturers shift to the 14-inch form factor when placing their bets for the future of laptops. Another advantage worth pointing out is that the keyboard is backlit, a feature that's always welcome.

A good enough performance


While the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V may not feature the most up to date design in the market, it does feature an updated processor which is far more valuable from our point of view. In that regard, the laptop arrives with a 10th generation Core i3 processor. 

Specifically, we've got the 1005G1 CPU which - being part of the updated series - stands out thanks to the inclusion of turbo-boost technology that was previously only available on Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Therefore we've got a processor that has a base clock speed of 1.2 GHz and can almost triple the processing power by going up to 3.4 GHz.

This is a great processor for everyday tasks - as its customers have already attested - such as surfing the web, editing spreadsheets and the likes, streaming YouTube videos -or movies - having videoconferences and even doing some light coding with Eclipse. You could even go as far as do some light picture touch-ups.

Moving on, we've also got a 4 GB module of RAM soldered onto the motherboard and an empty slot that allows up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, providing the possibility of increasing RAM all the way to 20 GB.

 It should be pointed out that if you're not an intensive multitasker but more of a casual laptop user that's looking for something to browse the internet, update emails and so forth, you'll be fine with the RAM that comes by default. However, if you're a more avid multitasker then you're going to appreciate the possibility to easily and cheaply upgrade the laptop's memory.

Finally, we also love the fact that this laptop comes with 128 GB of SSD storage capacity. In case you are unfamiliar with SSD's because you used to have a laptop with a hard drive then you should know that an SSD makes all the difference in day-to-day tasks

Anything from booting up to uploading and downloading files is something that's going to perform substantially faster with an SSD than it would with your standard HDD.

Overall, the set of specs provided on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V promise to deliver a good everyday performance as long as you don't need a laptop to perform CPU-Intensive tasks such as professional photo and video editing, gaming, 3D rendering or anything of the sorts that would require something more powerful.

Battery life & Windows 10 S Mode

Battery life on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V promises to be good, both because the company has claimed as much as well as because the processor it carries is one that's optimized for battery performance. 

Specifically, Acer is promising up to 8 hours of battery life. In our experience reviewing laptops we know by now that advertised battery life and actual laptop autonomy differ greatly so it's a pretty safe bet to assume you'll be able to get 5-6 hours out of the device under mixed usage which is still enough for most users.

As far as the infamous Windows in "S Mode" - "S" for Safe - that has a lot of people all riled up. You should know that disabling the S Mode that comes by default is pretty easy if you wish to do so. 

A quick and easy way to disable S Mode on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V is to attempt to download Chrome onto your laptop, by doing so you'll be prompted with a message from Windows that says it's not allows to install foreign apps and will ask you if you wish to disable S mode in order to do so. That's it. Nobody needs to panic. 

What about connectivity? What else should I be aware of?

Connectivity on this laptop is actually great. Better even than that of many high-end laptops costing twice as much. In this regard, we've got two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a USB Type C Port (standard 3.1), HDMI and ethernet ports as well as an audio input and power input. 

This is all well and good but what surprised us the most about the A515-55-378V's connectivity is the fact that it comes with the latest WiFi 6 connectivity protocol. Not even the newly released 2020 27 inch iMac has the latest WiFi protocol and that's a desktop that costs 5 times as much. Specifically, this WiFi connectivity offers roughly 30-40% better internet speeds than the previous generations WiFi 5 -previously known as WiFi 802.11 ac -.

Obviously, there's Bluetooth support and we've also got an HD webcam with a so-called purified voice microphone that's supposed to silence the keyboard typing while you speak. Useful in a time when many of us are working from home.

The wrap up: Should I buy it?

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V reviewed today falls short when it comes to design, I'll give you that much. However, what it lacks in terms of design innovation it more than makes up for it on key performance features. 

To recap this laptop introduces a state of the art Core i3 processor that features TurboBoost, it comes with a - modest -  SSD drive that delivers a much faster experience on anything you do than your standard hard drive, it has a more than decent battery life and, to top it all of, it bets big on connectivity bringing the WiFi 6 standard to the masses. 

Basically, unless you need a laptop for some seriously CPU-Intensive tasks or you really don't like the design, this laptop is a no brainer that's bound to win you over with its great price and excellent value.