Disclaimer: 9to5gadgets.com is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Any valid purchases made through clicking on the links on this site (when directed to Amazon) will garner us a commission.

[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE: A Killer Entry-Level PC


  • Full HD Display
  • 10th Gen Core i3
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Upgradable RAM and Storage
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 4 GB of RAM by default (upgradable)
  • Could have less bezels
Acer laptops have been a pretty safe bet for the last few years in regards to quality and value. The Aspire 5 lineup is no different, and this particular model - the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE - offers plenty of good features at an affordable price. It's lightweight, well-made, and gets decent battery life (Acer advertises 8 hours).

And, while it's not without its flaws, it's still a pretty good entry-level laptop that's ideal for students and professionals who don't need to buy a top of the line laptop to stream movies, edit documents, browse the internet and use some relatively lightweight software (no Photoshop please).

Without further ado, let's get on with this review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE to crank down on everything you need to know about this very popular student laptop.

Review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE


The first thing you'll notice about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE  is its sleek design. It's only 3.9 lbs (1.8 kg), which makes it easy to carry around (you can easily carry this laptop in one hand, or throw it into your backpack). Whilst also not presenting us with anything particularly innovating - which is to be expected in this price range -.

Although it's not as durable as some other laptops - such as the HP 15-eg0021nr that we also reviewed recently - it still feels good and looks attractive, especially for a budget model.

What's the display like?

The display is alright on the Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE, while not as vibrant or sharp as a Macbook Pro, it's still pretty impressive for a budget laptop and offers good viewing angles thanks to its IPS technology.

It has a 15.6-inch screen with an FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels - which should be fine for most users, especially those who don't need to do photo editing or watch movies at higher resolutions (1440p etc). It also features Acer Color Intelligence and Acer's BlueLightShield to reduce eye fatigue and ensure a more faithful color reproduction.

We're not going to lie to you. This is still an entry-level device so don't expect a mid-range display, it's just ok with the added bonus of featuring a nice resolution and a couple of features to increase comfort but it's not going to be comparable to the screens you see on laptops that are in the 700-1000 dollar ranges.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard - which is backlit - is a standard style, with the usual function keys and a 10-key number pad. It's pretty responsive and there are no issues typing quickly - although if you're coming from a more compact laptop you might find that your hands cover most of the keys. That said, it's more than comfortable enough to get some normal work done on this machine.

The trackpad is smooth and responsive, with a fingerprint reader located on the top-left corner that allows you to unlock the laptop through the use of Windows Hello.

Processor, RAM, and Storage

The A515-55-35SE is powered by a 10th Generation Intel Comet Lake i3-1005G1 that clocks in at a frequency of 1.2 GHz and Turbo Boost to 3.4 GHz. It's paired with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, which is enough for running very casual apps such as Netflix, Chrome, and so forth but it's hardly suitable for people used to having numerous tabs open at the same time.

On that note, we do recommend upgrading the RAM. Specifically, this laptop features 4 GB on the motherboard and an empty slot in which you can place a 4, 8, or 12 GB RAM module - SODIMMM 2666MHz/3200MHz -. 

 It's common knowledge amongst techies that it's best to use a module that features the same amount of RAM that's already implemented. In this case that would mean using another 4 GB module for a total of 8 GB of RAM on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE which should be enough for average and even slightly intensive multitasking usage.

Storage-wise, the laptop features a modest 128GB of SSD storage, which is definitely less than what we're used to seeing nowadays - but then again this is an entry-level laptop and the storage space should be more than adequate for your standard school work and word documents.

What performance can you expect with these specs?

The overall performance of this Acer Aspire 5 is pretty good considering that it's an entry-level laptop. It will certainly not run the latest games or professional software, but for simple tasks such as browsing the internet, streaming movies, having zoom calls, and working on documents it's more than sufficient.

What about the Intel UHD graphics card? Should I expect a gaming laptop?

Just a heads up on this one. This laptop features an Intel UHD graphics card, which will allow you to play some older and less demanding games with decent frame rates at low resolutions - such as Sims 3, World of Warcraft, etc.

If you're looking for a true gaming laptop that can handle the latest AAA titles then we suggest taking a look at the Razer Blade 15 RZ09-0369AE22-R3U1 which is a far more powerful laptop but costs substantially more money.

Battery Life and Connectivity Features

Acer has really worked to set itself apart when it comes to the battery life on its laptops and the A515-55-35SE is no exception. Specifically, Acer claims 8 hours worth of battery life and while we're generally quick to assume that the manufacturer is exaggerating we found this to be a fairly close approximation under standard usage. Sure, actual usage may be closer to the 6-7 hour mark but that's still pretty decent for a student laptop.

Connectivity-wise there is a lot going on here, including WIFI 802.11ax (also known as WiFi 6) and Bluetooth v5.0, there are also three USB ports (two 3.1 Gen 1 and one 2.0), a standalone USB 31 Type-C port as well as an HDMI output and a headphone jack.

In layman's terms, this means that the laptop in review features some pretty good connectivity options which will allow you to connect your laptop to various displays such as external monitors and HDTVs - although you will need specific adapter cables for those (which don't come with the laptop).

What about the webcam? Is it any good?

The integrated webcam in this laptop has an HD resolution of 1280×720 which is fairly decent and the images it produces are alright. The microphone array is also fairly decent with background noise being kept to a minimum during calls.

Does it feature Windows 10 S Mode? How do I disable it?

Just an FYI on this one: This laptop has Windows 10 Home S Mode enabled which basically locks your computer to installing and running only software from the Microsoft store – essentially making it a glorified Chromebook.

However, you can easily disable S Mode by - for example - attempting to download Chrome. At that point, a prompt will ask you if you want to disable "S Mode" to do so and you should say "Yes". That said, once you disable "S Mode" you can't re-activate it so you should definitely be sure that that's what you want to do.

Verdict: Should I buy the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE?

If you're looking for an entry-level laptop that's reasonably priced and offers decent performance then this is a great option. The build quality of the case is respectable, it has a solid processor, decent RAM and upgradability options, an ok display, extensive connectivity options, and a battery life that is way above average for the range.

Ultimately, this is what's known as a pretty good deal and we're not surprised that this model is becoming one of the best-selling models in the market these days.