Acer Aspire 5 2021 Review: Funds laptop takes a step once more

Acer Aspire 5 (2021) review: Not simple on the eyes

MSRP $480.00

“The Acer Aspire 5’s horrible present ruins what would have been a very good funds laptop.”


  • Sturdy connectivity
  • Superior expandability
  • Good keyboard and touchpad


  • Atrocious present
  • Chassis is simply too versatile
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Poor effectivity

Acer’s Aspire 5 has been one amongst our favorite laptops for just some years now, incomes a spot on our best funds laptops guidelines. Correct now, the 2020 mannequin of the Aspire 5 is listed as the right Dwelling home windows 10 laptop beneath $500, an very important part that the machine dominates. Acer has launched a barely redesigned Aspire 5 for 2021 that boasts the latest Eleventh-gen Intel Core CPUs and makes just some important modifications to the chassis design.

I acquired an entry-level model with a Core i3-1115G4 CPU with Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) present. The value for this Aspire 5 configuration is $480, conserving it in that under-$500 part that earlier fashions have owned. Can Acer protect its monitor report with the latest Aspire 5?


Acer tweaked the Aspire 5’s design for 2021, with crucial change being a model new hinge that angles the chassis bottom quite a lot of ranges to supply for increased airflow and prop up the keyboard. It’s a welcome change to an in every other case mundane design.

As sooner than, the lid is aluminum whereas the rest of the chassis is plastic, and the rigidity is analogous as sooner than. There’s pretty just a little little bit of flexing inside the lid, whereas the keyboard deck and chassis bottom are barely additional rigid nevertheless will nonetheless give in to delicate stress. One other funds laptops, similar to the Lenovo Yoga C640, Lenovo Flex 5 14, and Acer Swift 3, have additional robust assemble prime quality.

Acer Aspire 5Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Aesthetically, the Aspire 5 is barely boring, with an all-black shade scheme broken up with just some chrome Acer logos. Within the occasion you don’t care about how a laptop appears to be and focus solely on the worth, then the Aspire 5 will fulfill your tastes. However it certainly truly doesn’t stand out. Completely different colors will in all probability be obtainable, along with a silver scheme, which can be extra more likely to be additional engaging than my bland black review unit.

The Aspire 5 isn’t a small laptop, due to bezels which could be nonetheless too large for up to date machines. The facet bezels aren’t too thick, nevertheless the prime and bottom bezels may use some slimming down, which leads to a laptop that’s wider and deeper than it might in every other case be. The Aspire 5 weighs 3.64 kilos, which is down from 3.97 kilos inside the earlier mannequin, and it’s 0.70 inches thick, every of which can be low-cost for a 15-inch laptop.

One notably good design attribute that’s been widespread to the Aspire 5 is its expandability. Entry to the inside of the machine is relatively simple, allowing clients to swap out the RAM and SSD. Acer moreover encompasses a gear for together with a 2.5-inch drive to an empty bay, making it simple to broaden storage with each an SSD or a spinning laborious disk drive (HDD). That type of expandability is unusual, and it’s welcome proper right here.

Acer Aspire 5 side viewMark Coppock/Digital Traits

Acer Aspire 5 usb portsMark Coppock/Digital Traits

Acer Aspire 5 closed side viewMark Coppock/Digital Traits

As with many funds laptops that aren’t so skinny and light-weight as some earlier fashions, connectivity is normally a vitality. You get an Ethernet connector, a full-size HDMI port, two USB-A 3.2 ports, and a USB-C 3.2 port alongside the left-hand facet (no Thunderbolt 4 help proper right here). You’ll uncover a Kensington lock slot, a USB-A 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack alongside the right-hand facet. Wi-fi connectivity is up-to-date with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.


Acer Aspire 5Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

My review unit was equipped with a Core i3-1115G4, a dual-core Eleventh-gen CPU that runs on the total TDP of 12 watts to twenty-eight watts nevertheless incorporates Intel UHD graphics barely than the newer Intel Iris Xe. In step with our suite of benchmarks, it’s a sluggish laptop. Starting with Geekbench 5, it scored merely 1,215 in single-core mode and a few,544 in multi-core mode. That’s properly beneath the identical previous Tiger Lake score that normally exceeds 1,500 in single-core and 5,000 in multi-core. Truly, it’s overwhelmed out by some present Chromebooks working the Android mannequin of Geekbench 5, which is usually a barely sluggish proposition. Even the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 with an Intel Core i3-10110U was shut at 1,003 and a few,179.

In our Handbrake examine that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Aspire 5 took 5 minutes exactly, which is at best 50% slower than the slowest Tiger Lake laptops we’ve examined. That’s the major Eleventh-gen Core i3 that we’ve examined, and so all our comparability laptops are working faster CPUs. For example, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable, a Dwelling home windows 10 capsule equipped with a Core i5-1130G7 (a slower Core i5), took merely over three minutes to complete the examine. The equivalent held in Cinebench R23, one different video-rendering examine, the place the Aspire 5 managed merely 1,247 in single-core mode and three,128 in multi-core mode. Proper right here, the excellence between the Aspire 5 and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (1,125 and three,663) wasn’t as good, nevertheless most completely different Tiger Lake laptops as quickly as as soon as extra have been significantly faster.

Inside the PCMark 10 Full examine, the Aspire 5 scored merely 3,752, our lowest score ever. It hit merely 8,220 inside the Requirements portion of the examine, 5,975 in Productiveness, and a paltry 2,921 in Content material materials Creation. The ThinkPad X12 Detachable hit 4,443, 9,999, 5,936, and 4,157, respectively. As with our completely different checks, the Aspire 5 lags the sphere by a serious margin.

I found the Aspire 5 to be fast ample for basic duties like web procuring and dealing in Office paperwork in real-life use. For $480, these aren’t horrible outcomes. We didn’t examine the sooner variations of the Aspire 5 using the equivalent suite of benchmark checks, and so we’re in a position to’t straight consider their effectivity.


Acer Aspire 5 screenMark Coppock/Digital Traits

I’m not going to mince phrases proper right here: That’s the worst present I’ve ever reviewed. That actuality was evident the minute I first booted the Acer Aspire 5 and logged into Dwelling home windows 10. The present has a particular blue strong to it that I take into account is the outcomes of atrocious distinction, and on-screen parts might presumably be robust to discern.

My colorimeter agreed with me. Brightness was very low at 211, which implies you’ll battle to view the show display screen in sensible office environments. The excellence was confirmed as exceedingly harmful at merely 60:1 (our threshold for an vital present is 1000:1, and a median funds present is 600:1). Colors have been poor as properly, with merely 53% of sRGB and 40% of AdobeRGB — every are the underside in our database, and the usual midrange and premium exhibits hit 95% and 70% or elevated, respectively. In order so as to add insult to hurt, accuracy was moreover among the many many worst I’ve seen, at a DeltaE of 10.7 (decrease than 1.0 is taken under consideration fantastic and most laptops are beneath 3.0 at worst). Solely the present’s gamma was the place it should be at 2.2.

No individual will like using this present.

In exact use, colors have been washed out, black textual content material was additional of a grayish shade, and the present was fully unpleasant. It’s my new customary for “horrible present,” and it left a horrible fashion in my mouth on account of it. No individual will like this present till they’ve on no account used a laptop sooner than, and I’d pity them on account of they’d come away with such a poor impression of the cutting-edge. Acer should provide a novel panel on account of this one is solely flat-out horrible. The 2019 and 2020 variations of the Aspire 5 have been considerably higher.

The audio wasn’t considerably higher than the present. Amount was inadequate for all nevertheless the occasional YouTube video, although there was no distortion when turned all the way in which by which up. Mids and highs have been clear ample, and as common, there was little to no bass. The dual audio system aren’t harmful, ideas you, they merely don’t present considerably higher than funds prime quality.

Keyboard and touchpad

The Aspire 5 sports activities actions a fairly typical backlit island keyboard with black keycaps and white letters. The keys are barely small, nevertheless they provide cozy spacing even with the devoted (nevertheless tiny) numeric keypad. The switches are very delicate, with a nice snap and comfortable bottoming movement. That’s one area the place the Aspire 5 shines, offering a typing actually really feel that’s increased than you get with many funds laptops.

Acer Aspire 5 keyboardMark Coppock/Digital Traits

Acer Aspire 5 closeup shot of keyboard and screenMark Coppock/Digital Traits

Acer Aspire 5 trackpadMark Coppock/Digital Traits

The touchpad may also be surprisingly good, as a result of it’s pretty large and responsive. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad and so affords reliable help for Dwelling home windows 10’s multitouch gestures. It, too, exceeds the funds norm.

There’s no contact present, unsurprisingly, and as common, I miss it. There’s moreover no Dwelling home windows 10 Hello there help, neither facial recognition nor a fingerprint scanner. That’s one factor that we’ve seen on funds laptops lately, and so its omission proper right here stands out.

Battery life

Acer equipped the Aspire 5 with 48 watt-hours of battery, which isn’t heaps for a 15-inch laptop. Even with the slower CPU, I was dissatisfied with this mannequin’s battery life.

In our web-browsing examine that loops by a sequence of widespread internet sites, the Aspire 5 managed barely beneath seven hours, two hours decrease than the 2019 mannequin with a Core i3 nevertheless three hours longer than the 2020 mannequin with a Core i5. Normally speaking, that’s not a horrible score, however it certainly nonetheless locations the Aspire 5 inside the lower bracket in our database. In our video-looping examine that performs a Full HD Avengers trailer until the battery runs out, the Aspire 5 made it to 9.5 hours. That’s about 3.5 hours decrease than the 2020 mannequin, and beneath the minimal of 10 hours we want to see on this examine. As soon as extra, not a horrible finish end result, nevertheless not good, each.


Lastly, I ran a couple of PCMark 10 battery checks. The first, the Gaming examine, evaluates how prolonged a laptop lasts with the CPU and GPU being burdened. The Aspire 5 acquired right here in at 2.25 hours, a median score. Inside the Capabilities examine, which is the right measure of productiveness longevity, the Aspire 5 shut down after barely beneath eight hours, on the low end of our database. The ThinkPad X12 Detachable, as an illustration, made it to over 10 hours.

Basic, the Aspire 5’s battery life was mediocre. Within the occasion you’re doing typical productiveness work, you might make it by a workday on a price. The laptop makes use of a proprietary charger, nevertheless you’ll prime up using USB-C in a pinch should you occur to happen to have an adapter useful.

Our take

I’d wish to say that the 2021 Acer Aspire 5 maintains its place as our best funds laptop beneath $500. Sadly, it doesn’t, due to sluggish effectivity and an abysmal present. The 2020 model stays to be on sale, and in addition you’re increased off sticking with it.

Is there a higher completely different?

As I merely talked about, the 2020 Aspire 5 is a extra good choice than the 2021 mannequin. You’ll get a considerably higher present and an equivalent assemble prime quality for throughout the equivalent money, and in addition you gained’t give up so much in the way in which by which of effectivity and battery life.

If I’ve been looking out for a higher funds machine on this value differ, I’d take into consideration a succesful Chromebook selection, of which there are hundreds.

The Lenovo Flex 5 14 with its AMD Ryzen CPU is one different completely different. Its present is smaller at 14 inches, however it certainly will get increased battery life, is much faster, and its present gained’t embarrass you in public.

How prolonged will it ultimate?

It’s not in all probability essentially the most robust-feeling laptop, nevertheless I’ve a suspicion that it will ultimate for just some years of robust use — which is about what you rely on for the money. You’ll have up-to-date elements along with Wi-Fi 6, although no Thunderbolt 4 is a bummer. The one-year assure moreover isn’t one thing to get smitten by.

Should you buy it?

No. The present is definitely horrible, which ruins the experience of using this laptop.

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