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[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT: For Students & Causal Users

  • 15.6-inch FHD Display
  • 11th gen Core i3 CPU
  • Upgradeable RAM and Storage
  • Extensive Battery Life (8 hours)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 4 GB of RAM (should be upgraded for strong multitaskers)
  • Comes with Windows 10 in S Mode (like most entry-laptops, it can be easily disabled)

Students often need laptops for their studies, but it can be hard to decide which laptop is best. There are a lot of different models and features out there - so how do you pick? Do you get the high-end model that's absolute overkill for what they're going to do? Do you go for a Chromebook and hope for the best in terms of OS needs?

It can be a daunting decision and that's why today we're happy to talk to you guys about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT, Acer's answer to the eternal student-laptop question. A budget-friendly, extremely affordable, modest laptop that hits all the right spots in terms of specs and has quickly managed to climb to the top of Amazon's best-selling laptops. But, is it worth it? That's what we're going to find out!

Who is this laptop best suited for?

This laptop is best suited for entry-level users who want to do day-to-day tasks such as surfing the web, checking email, and running office applications without breaking a sweat.

Furthermore, if you plan on upgrading your RAM (we recommend doing so) then this becomes a very interesting device for students trying to do math homework, coding work, or other more Memory-intensive tasks.


In terms of design, there's nothing new under the sun within the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT. It's got a basic, angular, grey, minimalistic chassis with slick lines and curves. The plastic body has a bit of an edge to it but nothing too sharp or aggressive.

The display is a Full HD 15.6-inch screen with IPS technology for optimal viewing angles. It's not the best display in the market. However, considering we're looking at an entry-level laptop we do appreciate the integration of both the Acer True Color technology and the Acer Blue Light Shield technology which helps provide more true-to-life colors and reduce eye fatigue respectively.

Moving onto the keyboard, we appreciate the fact that Acer has implemented an ergonomically designed hinge which - much like Asus did on last year's entry-level laptops - delivers a much more natural and fluent typing experience.

Additionally, this keyboard has a backlight - something not seen in all laptops within this price range. Whilst also including a number pad which is incredibly useful for someone who needs to do their math homework or other numerical work on the go.

Trackpad: Contrary to the recently reviewed Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K, this laptop features an accurate trackpad with dedicated mouse buttons - though not visible- that is large enough to be easy to find without looking down when typing. The top of it feels like silk and makes scrolling through your social media pages as comfortable as possible.

It should be pointed that it does not feature a fingerprint reader like the previously mentioned A515-46-R14K.


As far as performance goes, whilst this laptop is hardly a powerhouse - as many customers have been kind enough to point out - it still delivers a solid performance thanks to its Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor. This processor is a dual-core model with built-in hyperthreading and Turbo Boost Technology which elevates the clock speed to a whopping 4.1 GHz.

Couple that with 4 GB of RAM -that can and should be upgraded by another 4 GB thanks to the empty slot - and 128 GB of SSD storage and you've got yourself a very interesting device that will work well when performing day-to-day tasks such as surfing the web, checking email and running office applications without breaking a sweat.

How is multitasking on 4 GB of RAM?

Despite the fact that this laptop only comes equipped with a limited amount of RAM, we were pleasantly surprised by how well it handled multitasking - relatively speaking -. Whilst not perfect to be fair - you'll have micro stutters or experience some delay whilst switching between programs and so on - it's more than sufficient for most casual/light and light users. Though, again, we do recommend upgrading RAM if at all possible.

What about the graphics card?

Of course, as you'd expect on an entry-level notebook there's no dedicated graphics but rather an integrated Intel UHD graphics card. Of course, gaming is out of the question but you could do some light photo retouching without any lags if you opt to upgrade the RAM as we heavily recommend.

Battery Life and Connectivity Options

This laptop is equipped with an impressive 8.5 hours of battery, meaning you can go to school or to work without the need for carrying your charger around.

Of course, we always like to take manufacturer claims with a grain of salt and would say that a good rule of thumb is to assume 30% less then what the company states, leaving us with a very respectable 5-6 hours worth of battery life either way.

Port-wise, this laptop offers two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port and a standalone USB Type C port. There's also an HDMI output, and headphone/mic jacks.

As far as WiFi connectivity goes, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT also implements Wi-Fi 6 connectivity which allows for a high-speed internet connection - assuming you're using a compatible router - and up to a 40% improvement in speed over the WiFi 5 standard.

Can I upgrade the RAM or the storage on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT?

You can upgrade the RAM on this laptop as it has a free slot and can take up to 16 GB of DDR-2400 MHz. The SSD storage is also upgradeable with a 2.5-inch available slot to install a SATA3 o SSHD storage unit.

Verdict: Is the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT worth it?

Yes, it is. For the price, you're getting a reliable laptop that will work well for day-to-day tasks thanks to its strong performance and excellent battery life. 

The display might not be amazing but when looking at this laptop from an entry-level perspective we can forgive Acer - who are traditionally known for their high-quality displays in laptops like the Aspire Nitro Black Edition series of notebooks - as they've done some nice design touches elsewhere such as with the keyboard ergonomics or even including backlighting on said keyboard.

Ultimately, after reviewing the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT it's quite clear that we're looking at an interesting notebook capable of holding its own, very well suited for students and users who don't need a state-of-the-art device to stream movies, edit documents, browse the internet and so forth. An excellent bang for your buck if you ask us.