[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K: 2021's #1 Student Laptop



The Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K laptop is a modest computer that offers everything you need in a student laptop. It has an AMD Quad-Core CPU with 4GB of RAM (upgradeable), which makes it perfect for students and casual users who're looking for a cost-efficient laptop where they can get their work done.

The 15.6-inch display is crisp and clear with a 1080p resolution, making media viewing enjoyable even on the go! Weighing only 3.9 pounds, it's managed to climb the ranks of Amazon's best-selling laptops in the very short time since it launched.

Today we will help you decide if Acer's latest release will suit your needs as well as give you some tips to get the most out of your new Acer product!


Design of the laptop



The A515-46-R14K minimalist design is not flashy, with the Acer logo clearly visible on the back-end of the laptop as well as the center of the lower bezel. In terms of weight, the company has managed to keep the laptop at a comfortable 3.97 pounds, making it a rather portable device all things considered.

Display-wise, the notebook features a 15.6-inch display with a 1080p resolution, which is crisp and clear for viewing media on the go. Also, thanks to the implementation of Acer color intelligence, the company has made sure you're always looking at an accurate, true-to-life display.

Obviously, the display can't be compared to higher-end laptops but for its price point, Acer's new Aspire is a great deal.

Keyboard & Trackpad

If we're being perfectly honest, the keyboard and trackpad have been a slight disappointment. Acer has opted to go with a cheap keyboard, which is just about the only thing that drags down this laptop (the only thing that can't be remedied through an upgrade).

However, we do commend the company on making it backlit, an option that's hardly ever available within entry-level models such as this one.

Also, the touchpad could be better too; it's pretty big for such a compact device (again, maybe Acer wanted to make up for the poor keyboard?) but either way, there were times when we struggled with accuracy, as few customers can attest to.

You also have a fingerprint reader located on the top-left of the trackpad, making for quick and easy access thanks to Windows Hello.

Having said that, it's hardly a deal-breaker amongst entry-level laptops and you could always opt for using a mouse.

Performance

When it comes to performance, there's no denying that the A515-46-R14K was designed as a student laptop. However, the processor in charge of everything is nothing to scoff at.

Specifically, the AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core Mobile Processor combines powerful performance, interesting graphics capabilities, and advanced technological features in a thin and light design.

The processor is built on the award-winning “Zen” architecture, delivering high multi-threaded performance for everyday activities such as web browsing, document creation, or even editing photos at a non-professional level. This processor also offers an unlocked multiplier to provide easy access to enhanced clock speeds when needed.

Having said that, the notebook at hand is slightly limited by its 4 GB of RAM which will allow you to multitask and perform some light gaming (meaning no heavy games here). Acer could have easily bumped up the RAM to compete with other notebooks in this price range but they seem confident that you won't need much more than what's offered.

As for the possibility to upgrade the RAM, you can - and should - upgrade the RAM to 8 GB, allowing you a more comfortable multitasking experience as 4 GB is going to be quite limiting unless you're a very casual user who's got a few tabs open at best.

Finally, storage-wise, we've got 128 GB which is enough for casual users but if you're looking to store your entire media library we would encourage you to expand the storage through the available M2. slot.

The Acer Aspire A515-46-R14K features an AMD Radeon Vega 6 Graphics card which is good for light gaming and video editing. However, if you're looking to do some intensive gaming or hardcore graphic design/video editing we would seriously urge you to look in another direction such as the Predator Helios 300 Gaming series.

What does this all mean? What can you expect in day-to-day performance?

The Acer Aspire A515-46-R14K is excellent for those looking to do some standard computing tasks such as surfing the web, streaming movies, downloading content, editing spreadsheets, and even programming if you opt to upgrade the memory.

It may not be suited for powerhouse professionals but we don't think Acer really meant it to be - this is their entry-level notebook after all.

Battery Life & Connectivity options

The battery life on this Acer Aspire A515-46-R14K laptop isn't bad considering its size but it's not great either. The company advertises ten hours of continuous use - which we found to be closer to 8 under real-life usage - that should suffice most day-to-day needs.

As for connectivity, Acer offers a wide range of options:

  • Gigabit Ethernet LAN Adapter
  • HDMI port
  • Headphone jack
  • USB Type C port
  • Multimedia Card Reader/USB Ports

It's worth mentioning that the Wi-Fi is quite good, with the notebook featuring the WiFi 6 standard. This new standard is said to be 40% faster than the previous generation making it one of the top features of this model.

Also, the Acer TrueHarmony Audio is not that great but for this price point, we can't really complain too much either. Acer does offer some excellent audio/video recording options if you're looking to do some light work in that field.

Verdict: Should I buy this student laptop?

Acer has been going through a rough patch as of late but they seem to be getting back on their feet with the Acer Aspire A515-46-R14K laptop which is great for those looking for an affordable and lightweight option that still performs well enough, both day-to-day and when needed.

Acer's focus on design, battery life, and connectivity seems to be the main driving force behind this laptop with Acer providing decent performance for professionals as well - albeit not quite up there in terms of a professional machine that costs more than twice the price tag here.