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Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB Review: Redefining the Entry-Level PC

  • Full HD display
  • Respectable Battery Life
  • Upgradable RAM and Storage
  • Backlit keyboard & Fingerprint reader
  • Extensive connectivity options
  • Entry-level processor
  • No SD-card reader
If you're in the market for a new laptop, you may be wondering what to look for. Entry-level notebooks can cost anywhere from $200-$400 and there are so many on the market it's hard to know where to start. However, there are a few basics that definitely need to be on your list: Full HD display, quad-core processor, 4 GB or more of RAM, and SSD storage.

Fortunately for you, everything we've listed is present in the new Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB, which is why this model has become quite popular over the past few months.

It's with that in mind that today we set out to uncover everything you need to know about this entry-level Windows 10 laptop in this review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB.

Who Should Buy It?

=> Students: Perfect for students due to its low price, extensive connectivity, and ample upgrade possibilities.

=> Small Business: If you run a small business that makes use of some light or cloud-based software, you can definitely use this laptop to satisfy your needs.

=> Writers/Casual Users: If you're not planning to do any powerhouse work with this laptop then you'll find that it's absolutely perfect for stuff like writing, surfing the web, keeping up with social media, chatting with friends, and streaming videos.

A Simple yet Competent Design

Starting things off with the design, we can't say that Acer's engineers have done anything groundbreaking with this model. However, it's not a bad design by any means and everything is put together quite well.

The chassis is all made of plastic but doesn't feel too cheap or flimsy in your hands. The same goes for the display lid which only bends slightly when applying pressure. And finally, we like that Acer has given the A515 a nice soft-touch finish.

The screen is one of the laptop's selling points. With so many entry-level notebooks featuring an HD display, we were very pleased to find that this model opts for a Full HD resolution to improve detail when streaming videos or editing pictures.

Sure enough, the picture quality isn't going to win any prizes and the colors do look a bit more washed out than we'd like but that's to be expected on an affordable device such as this one.

As for the keyboard, it features white backlighting which looks nice and makes it easy to type in the dark. The arrow keys could be a bit larger, but that's our only real complaint about it. Again, backlit keyboards are not all that common amongst entry-level notebooks. Look no further than the popular HP 14a-na0023nr and you'll see what we mean.

What about the performance?

Let's get one thing out of the way right now: this is not a powerhouse laptop. Housing an AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core processor clocking at a respectable speed, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of SSD NVMe Storage this laptop wasn't built with power users in mind.

It's great if you're looking to get yourself a student laptop or a laptop for some light usage but once you're looking for a notebook to do some serious multitasking then you're going to have to upgrade the RAM of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB - which you can and should -.

Other than the obvious memory limitations, the laptop performs relatively well on a day-to-day scenario, being able to work with a few tabs and use some regular software such as Google docs, PowerPoint, Chrome, Netflix, Zoom, and Spotify amongst other software.

This is not a laptop we would recommend for those looking to work with virtual machines or people working with graphically intensive software such as Photoshop or Premiere simply because it lacks a dedicated graphics card and therefore can only be trusted for "everyday graphic performance" such as streaming video.

Battery life, fan control & fingerprint reader

Unfortunately, unlike the recently reviewed HP 15-dy2024nr, the battery life on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB is nothing to write home about, with many users claiming the official count to be roughly at the 5 to 6-hour mark depending on your usage.

There's also an added feature we wanted to point out called fan control, which, as its name suggests, allows the user to control the fan speed when the laptop is running hot. Honestly, this isn't a feature we've been clamoring for on an entry-level notebook but in any case, it's better than not having it.

And yes, there's also a fingerprint reader which allows you to unblock your laptop making use of Windows Hello. Here we would once again like to point out that a fingerprint reader on a budget notebook such as this one is far from common and we definitely need to give Acer points for including this.

What Are Customers Saying?

What are customers saying about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB? Well, the overall feedback is quite positive! Customers are loving this laptop for its affordability and performance. One reviewer even said it's one of the best tech purchases they've ever made, and they're an IT guy! The laptop is praised for its fast boot-up time, smooth performance, and quick loading of web pages and programs.

Customers appreciate the storage and RAM upgrade options of the Acer Aspire 5. While it comes with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM, users mention that it's easy and affordable to upgrade to 20GB RAM and a 2TB HDD. The ability to run dual drives (1 SSD + 1 HDD) is a bonus. Some customers have also added extra RAM and found the upgrades straightforward.

The screen quality receives positive remarks, with users liking the 1080p Full HD display and its clarity. The keyboard is well-loved, described as better than more expensive laptops and providing a comfortable typing experience. The fingerprint ID feature is also highly praised for its speed and convenience.

The laptop's port selection is considered ample, with full-size USB, USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet ports, eliminating the need for dongles. While some customers mention minor issues like the absence of a MicroSD reader or the placement of speakers on the bottom, these are not significant drawbacks.

Regarding the operating system, the laptop comes with Windows 11 S Mode, which restricts the installation of non-Microsoft software. However, customers mention that it's easy to switch to the standard version of Windows 11, and it's not a major inconvenience.

Battery life is described as average, with customers noting that it lasts a few hours with moderate usage. The laptop's weight and portability are appreciated, making it easy to carry around.

Overall, customers find the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB to be a great budget laptop that offers good value for the price. Its performance, upgrade options, display quality, keyboard, and port selection make it a reliable choice for everyday tasks. While there are some minor drawbacks, such as limited storage and CPU performance for gaming or intensive tasks, customers feel that the positive aspects outweigh these limitations.

Extensive connectivity

You would think that the more expensive laptops offer more complete connectivity options than their more affordable counterparts. You'd be wrong. While it's true that many low-cost laptops feature very limited connectivity options, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB  is actually lousy with them.

This laptop has anything and everything from 3 USB Type-A ports (two USB 3.0 ports and 1 2.0 model), a standalone USB Type-C port, HDMI, Ethernet port, and headphone jack. Honestly, the only thing missing on this notebook is an SD card reader and that's just if we're being picky.

The laptop also features the latest WiFi 6 standard as well as Bluetooth 5.0 in case you wanted to wirelessly connect peripherals such as a mouse or a Bluetooth speaker such as the recently reviewed amazing Tronsmart Studio.

Verdict: Should I buy the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB?

In a word: yes. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R3UB manages to tick off just about every conceivable box for an entry-level laptop and even manages to surprise us with specs that aren't even that common amongst mid-range notebooks such as the fingerprint reader, fan control, or extensive connectivity options.

Couple that with a massively competitive price point, an upgradable RAM and Storage, and a Full HD display and you've got yourself quite easily one of the best student laptops on a budget. An excellent choice that's bound to keep climbing the ranks of the best-selling laptops of America.