Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ Review

A clear upclose shot of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ laptop display and keyboard

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ takes up the throne as one of the most bargain-priced dual-core laptops in the market. For less than $400, the Acer Aspire 5 doesn’t win any speed accolades but offers great Full HD display, lightweight body, slim and sleek design, smooth day-to-day performance and long battery life. You will have to deal with the meager 128GB SSD storage and insufficient 4GB DDR4 memory.

Pros

  • Simple attractive design, sturdy built
  • Affordable price
  • Healthy port system
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Long battery life
  • Modest performance
  • Full HD display and IPS panel

Cons

  • Limited 128GB SSD storage
  • Hardly enough memory available

If you’re in the market for an inexpensive dual-core laptop that’s less than three-quarters of an inch thick, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ is a go-to choice. This slim and sleek laptop packs all the raw power for day-to-day tasks and has a nearly all-day battery to back it up.

Originally, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ finds its roots from Acer’s new Aspire 5 lineup. This Acer Aspire 5 configuration packs an Intel Core i3-8145 dual-core processor, 4GB DDR4 memory and 128GB SSD storage. Still, there are a host of other configurations to choose from, more than 20 to be a bit precise. The Aspire 5 comes with its fair share of flaws, including the underperforming graphics card, meager memory (4GB DDR4) and storage (128GB SSD). However, if you’re looking for a high-performance laptop on the cheap, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ is one of the best options out there.

Note: Just so you know, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L is the AMD version/configuration of our unit. It packs almost similar features but sells for slightly less.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ Specs

Screen Size15.6-inch
DisplayFull HD (1920 x 1080) IPS
ProcessorIntel Core i3-8145U
Memory4GB DDR4
Storage128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Graphics CardIntel HD Graphics 630
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Dimensions14.31 x 9.86 x 0.71 inches
Weight3.97 pounds

Design and Features

From first glance, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ laptop design might look simple and plain. But the combination of the plastic case and aluminum deck makes for a sturdy build. Overall, the aesthetics feel premium considering the thin 0.71-inch body, silver finish, and Acer logo stamped at the center of the case.

The interior is no-frills as well: it comes with a standard silver deck and black keyboard. There’s an Acer logo on the hinge which is neat. Another impressive feature we noticed is that the bezels are surprisingly thin.

One of the other aspects that make the Aspire 5 stand out is its weight. At 3.9 pounds, it’s assuring to know this device is no backbreaker. It measures 0.71 x 14.3 x 9.9 inches (HWD); much slimmer than its predecessor, that’s 1.2 inches thick and clad in silver plastic. The Acer Swift 5 (2.2 pounds) is lighter making it easier to toss in your backpack and carry it around without much effort. The HP Spectre x360 still holds its lofty position as among the thinnest ultrabook so, not even our unit beats it. But it’s good to know it comes close to this coveted hybrid device.

Display

The 15.6-inch screen thankfully has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 which is good though not exactly crisp. On the brightside, the display is considerably bright and sharp enough to make out small objects in and dark scenes in movies. At 276 nits, the Aspire 5’s display is above the category average. The Acer Spire E 15 has 227 nits while HP 14 laptop 199 nits.

The display rests on an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel which makes for solid viewing angles. For the most part, mainstream screen panels use IPS technology apart from instances where the laptop is specially made for gaming. IPS technology allows image quality to be excellent with crisp text and vivid colors. The screen also has a matte finish that reduces glare from ambient light. That means you can use the laptop without much worry about sunlight reflections on the non-touch screen.

Ports

The Aspire 5 offers a healthy assembly of ports including new and legacy options. The port options include a power connector, full-size Gigabit Ethernet for old school connections to your router. Also included is an HDMI port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (one with power-off charging) and two USB 2.0 ports. You can use the two USB 2.0 ports for your external keyboard and wireless mouse while the HDMI port for external monitor setup. The USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port is for connecting newer USB-C-equipped storage devices and peripherals.

Port section of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ laptop

Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO support. Worth noting is that Acer didn’t include a memory card meaning you won’t be able to pop in memory cards from your Android phone or your digital camera.

Acer hid the speakers at the bottom of the system. The downward-firing speakers offer quality bass, and ample volume enough to fill a room. However, with down-firing speakers, the sound is always a bit muffled especially when placed on one’s lap or desk. Nonetheless, for the price, the speakers are above par.

Performance

Under the hood, the Acer Aspire 5 flaunts an Intel Core i3-8145U processor. The processor is a lower-end CPU of the mid-range 8th Generation Intel processors. The i3-8145U has a base clock speed of 3.9GHz which coupled with the 4GB memory is capable of hurdling through 30 Google Chrome tabs and four 1080p YouTube videos. In real-world performance, the processor is capable of daily computing workhorse in chores such as web surfing, writing essays, spreadsheet calculations, and media playback.

That said, it doesn’t, however, shine in more intensive tasks like editing 4K videos and may prove too sluggish in even attempting to complete one. You’re better off sticking to mainstream stuff like web browsing and editing office documents that don’t demand multi-core performance.

Can it game? Well considering there is no dedicated graphics card and just an Intel UHD 620 discrete graphics card, gaming is simply in the same ballpark as 4K video streaming. The processor can support some light casual gaming, but if you really have to game on demanding titles, expect low frames rates at low detail settings.

Memory and Storage

One of our biggest frowns with this laptop is the meager 4GB DDR4 memory and 128GB Solid-state drive storage. Some might argue that cutting down on these allowed Acer to take costs down, therefore, making the budget price possible. I concur, but I think Acer would have done better here. You would have to dig deep and hard to find a configuration that works for you though -probably one that offers hard disk storage. Also, if you’re looking for better storage other than the available configuration, the 2018 Acer Aspire 3 offers 1TB hard drive storage and 8GB memory for just about the same price (compromise is the slightly less powerful processor).

Getting back to the topic, on the bright side, while 4GB memory is on the lower side, this laptop is going to be handling some none-demanding tasks such as web surfing, doing assignments, spreadsheets and watching YouTube videos. Out of all these tasks, the worst might be opening more than a few tabs on YouTube which the laptop might honestly not be able to handle. Other than that, the device feels snappy enough for most undemanding tasks and should work just fine. If you think you might encounter some graphic intensive work in the future, however, consider upgrading to at least 8GB memory.

As far as storage goes, 128GB SSD is a pretty sweet amount for storage. First, the SSD ensures the laptop boots in seconds and loads software quickly. The 128GB can hold more than 15,000 average size photos or songs, a few movies and games. However, if you need storage for heavier files such as games or multimedia, we recommend going for the conventional 1TB hard drive storage. That’s because Solid-state drives aren’t cheap. You could also invest in cloud storage like Google drive.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ lacks a few special features like the fingerprint reader but the keyboard is still great. First off, thanks to the 15-inch frame, this backlit keyboard is roomy and offers a number pad. The keys are all great, save for one weird aspect; the keyboard shift key is almost half the length of the space bar. We couldn’t seem to figure out why but since it works well, I guess that’s for you to judge whether you like it or not. On the whole, though, the keyboard keys provide nice, tactile feedback.

The Lenovo Flex 14 81SS0005US, a budget 2-in-1 laptop we reviewed recently offers a great fingerprint reader for just about the same price. It’s a great alternative for budget users who place security high on their priority list.

Like the keyboard, the 4.2 x 3.1-inch touchpad is also roomy, responsive and works with Windows precision drivers to make hand gestures possible. Its surface is smooth and the pad allows fingers to glide over it easily. It’s responsive to touch even at the corners where most touchpads are not as sensitive. Our main concern though is that the pad lacks tracking precision, which means you’ll have some trouble dragging onscreen elements. We recommend buying a mouse especially if you need precision in daily productivity tasks. Our best mouse under 20 dollars article guide might be helpful.

Battery Life

Another of our favorite aspects of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ is its long battery life. The battery lasts up to 8 hours 50 minutes on a single charge after continuous surfing over Wi-Fi and at 150nits of brightness. Ideally, that’s more than the Acer Aspire E 15’s 8 hours 47 minutes and HP 14 laptops 6 hours 12 minutes.

Conclusion

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ has a decent specification list and as a result, gets decent performance which for the price is very good. Its performance leans more to a productivity-focused laptop than a gaming or photo/video editing laptop. That means, if the majority of your work revolves around mainstream applications such as web browsing, document editing, spreadsheet tinkering or video chatting, this is a great choice for you. One other group that falls in this category is the budget mainstream users. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ is a great fit if you want a sleek, thin laptop with great battery life for watching movies and keeping up with social media.

On the whole, if you don’t mind the lack of enough storage (can get yourself external storage) or memory, this is the laptop for you. It takes up our Editor’s Choice Award for the best budget mainstream laptop.

Is there another alternative?

For the most part, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ is a feature-rich laptop selling for a competitive price and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another one without topping up. Before considering any other option, I think it would be wiser considering the various configurations Acer has for this unit. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L is a great example of a budget option on the configuration list. It boasts of a Ryzen 3 chip, Vega 3 graphics, 4GB DDR4 memory, and a similar 128GB solid-state drive storage for a slightly lower price (about $40). It basically is the AMD version of our unit.

If you can stretch your budget just a little bit more there are alternatives with better CPUs (Intel Core i5-8250U processors), more memory (8GB), and storage (256GB SSD). The Dell G3 3579, Asus VivoBook 15, Acer Aspire E5 E5-576-392H and Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54-51DJ) are great options if you can top up on the cash.

Lastly, the Lenovo Flex 14 81SS0005US, a budget 2-in-1 laptop we reviewed recently offers a great fingerprint reader for just about the same price. It’s a great alternative for budget users who place security high on their priority list.

Should you buy it?

Yes. For less than $400, you get a slim sleek and lightweight chassis, smooth performance for everyday tasks, a room Full HD display, and an all-day battery life. If that doesn’t describe value, I don’t know what does.

About Liam Weisman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets

View all posts by Liam Weisman →

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