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[Review] Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z: Silent But Deadly

  • Minimalistic design
  • Full HD Display with IPS technology
  • Very Powerful CPU
  • 256 GB of SSD and 8 GB of RAM (upgradable)
  • Respectable battery life (7-9 hours)
  • No SD card reader
  • No dedicated graphics card

When it comes to purchasing your new laptop, you don't have to spend a fortune. In fact, if you do some homework and go outside Apple and Dell, you may discover some fairly good prices on mid-tier laptops. Case and point, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z. 

This laptop was launched in silence, there was no fuss made around its launch yet, to this day, it's one of the best mid-range notebooks in the market at a killer price with absolutely everything you would need. 

Specifically, it packs a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 5500U hexa-core processor, Radeon R7 graphics, 8 GB of RAM, and sufficient storage for everyday work, amongst many other virtues.

When you're ready to step up your daily tasks or run some serious business software tools, this laptop has you covered. It's a no-brainer for anyone searching for a decent value for money on a mid-range laptop and today we tackle everything you need to know in this review of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z Review of a killer mid-range notebook

Design, Display, and Keyboard

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z, by the looks of it, has a simple design, with no extra flourishes to speak of. It looks very much like what it is: a budget mid-range laptop. It's made primarily of plastic, including its lid and underside. The sleek and slim design makes this laptop superior to other budget laptops; it will be easier to carry around and lighter than other models within the same price range.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z keyboard design

For a budget laptop, the display is quite good with most of its buyers claiming this was one of the biggest surprises. Although the 1080p Full HD screen has become a standard nowadays, Acer has gone a bit further by delivering a display that offers a crisp image with quick response times. Furthermore, being an IPS panel, the viewing angles are excellent, and the color grading is top-notch. A great option for streaming movies and photo editing. 

It has a backlit keyboard that feels comfortable to type on. Its touchpad is spacious and responsive, providing accurate navigation around Windows 10 without any hiccups or significant gestures. 

Performance Of The Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z has a good combination of components; the processor is a Ryzen 5 5500U, equivalent to most 11th generation Intel Core i7 processors in the market. Its maximum clock speed is 4 GHz - when pressed with demanding work -. However, with its base speed at a respectable 2.1 GHz you've already got an impressive performance even without boosting the CPU speed.

Additionally, this laptop packs 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This is a pretty standard amount of memory for a mid-range laptop with most laptops featuring 8 GB of RAM as well as the ability to upgrade the RAM if you wish to. Having said that, 8 GB is more than enough for day-to-day tasks, and you can easily have multiple tabs of Chrome, Spotify, and Discord open simultaneously in the background without any hiccups. 

However, for power users looking to make the most out of this laptop, we would definitely recommend, at the very least, considering the possibility of upgrading the RAM to 16 GB for an extra boost in performance when working with multiple programs at a time. 

We've written up a tutorial to upgrade the RAM that's really quick and easy. The whole process should not take you much more than 10 minutes and honestly, the improvement in performance for power users is quite noticeable. 

In terms of graphics, the Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z has an integrated GPU, which is fairly standard for mid-tier notebooks. While it doesn't offer PC gaming at high settings or smoothly play 4K video files, for standard laptop needs, it does just fine. With 6 cores, it can run more minor GPU-intensive games and more CPU-intensive games.

Finally, the A515-45-R74Z features 256GB NVMe SSD for its storage; a type of storage that's built for fast load times, and with the write speeds going above 2000mb/s, it saves a lot of your time. If you want more storage, you could always upgrade the storage on this notebook. You could, for example, add an extra SSD unit. It's a bit of a cumbersome process if we're being perfectly honest but it's definitely something that you can get done. Here's the step-by-step tutorial on adding an extra SSD unit to the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z.

All in all the configuration of this laptop falls between the powerful Ryzen 7 and the entry-level Ryzen 3 models, providing good performance for most day-to-day work. It's primarily suitable for students and professionals, but it's far from being an entry-level for gaming due to its integrated GPU, as games these days are quite demanding in terms of graphics. 

Except for the most demanding processor-based workloads, the A515-45-R74Z will provide more than enough performance. Unless you’re throwing some graphics-intensive games or 4K video editing, it is a good choice in terms of speed. Everyday tasks like online browsing, streaming media, and picture and FHD video editing will go smoothly.

Battery life

Moving onto battery life, we all know the song and dance by now. Acer advertises roughly 11-hours worth of battery life. However, in reality, battery life will be along the lines of 7-9 hours - something many of its customers can attest to - depending on the type of usage you give the notebook and the settings you have in place. 

What Are Customers Saying?

What are customers saying about the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z? Well, based on the customer reviews, it's evident that customers have a lot of positive feedback about this laptop. Many customers praise its speed, lightweight design, and versatility.

Customers are thrilled with the laptop's fast performance and quick startup. They appreciate the inclusion of an SSD, which allows for rapid opening of applications and smooth multitasking. The Ryzen processor, specifically the Ryzen 5 5500U quad-core processor, receives compliments for its speed and capability in handling various tasks.

The lightweight nature of the laptop is another aspect that customers love. It's highly portable and convenient for those on the go. The sleek design and textured palm rest add to its appeal, giving it a premium look and feel.

The picture quality of the laptop's display meets customers' expectations, providing clear and sharp images. However, some customers express disappointment with the sound quality, finding it weak and muffled. To overcome this, they rely on external Bluetooth devices for better audio.

Customers also appreciate the laptop's connectivity options, including multiple USB ports (USB 2.0 and USB 3.0), an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and an Ethernet port. The inclusion of an extra RAM slot and a hard drive expansion kit is seen as a bonus, allowing for future upgrades.

While there are positive aspects, a few minor complaints surface. Some customers mention the lack of dedicated media buttons (play/pause) and a convenient volume control layout, which can be a bit inconvenient. The absence of an SD card reader is also noted, though it's not considered a critical drawback. Additionally, a few customers report issues with the microphone compatibility, USB ports, or quality control, but these seem to be isolated incidents.

Overall, customers find the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z to be a great laptop for its price. It offers speed, portability, and versatility for everyday tasks, such as browsing, office work, and streaming. While it may not excel in gaming or high-performance tasks, it serves as a reliable workhorse for general usage.

Connectivity and extras

Connectivity-wise, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z comes with Bluetooth, and WiFi 6 (previously known as 802.11ax). 

It also features 3 USB ports, a USB 3.2 (Type-C) Gen 1 port (up to 5 Gbps), 2 - USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (One with Power-off Charging), and 1 - USB 2.0 Port plus an HDMI output to connect to an HDTV or external monitor. There's also an ethernet port, which makes this laptop a solid option if you need to work with an internal network.

Sound quality is ok for a budget laptop and we wouldn't expect much more in that regard whilst the webcam quality is sufficient for videoconferences. Again, let's not forget we're talking about a budget notebook over here. 

Verdict of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R74Z: Should You Buy It?

Acer has been a front-runner in mid-tier laptop manufacturing for years. Their Aspire line of laptops is marketed toward many different kinds of users, including those looking for an affordable, portable machine with more processing power than a Chromebook. 

It's a very budget-friendly laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, superfast NVMe SSD storage, 8 GB of upgradable RAM, and a high-resolution screen that's a joy to look at. Couple that with a competitive price point, a solid design, and a good reputation with its customers and you've got yourself a laptop that's practically guaranteed to fulfill your expectations.