The Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K in this review is a solid workhorse that won’t strain you purse but it brings on board good performance, an attractive design and some extras like a backlit keyboard at a very reasonable price.
- Slim, relatively light design
- Solid quad-core performance
- Impressive battery life
- Cramped solid-state drive
- Just 4GB of RAM
- No integrated memory card reader
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K has lots of expectations, as its predecessor, the Acer A515-43-R19L, has owned a top spot in our best laptops list for months. With everyone working from home and students resigned to a corner with the computer for school time, there’s no better time to shop for excellent affordable laptops, and your hopes may rise as you see it either packs the latest 11th Gen Intel CPUs or AMD’s brand-new Ryzen chips.
With the Aspire A515-46-R14K, Acer is offering even better performance, thanks to a quad-core Ryzen 3 3350U processor and some extras, including a quad-core a backlit keyboard and a finger-print scanner for Windows Hello sign-in. Everything else remains unchanged, sports the same slim-and-trim chassis, solid productivity performance and a bargain price tag.
That said, a windows 10 laptop this affordable has its compromises. In this particular case, we’re looking at lean 4GB of RAM and a cramped 128GB solid-state drive, but battery life is significantly improved over the Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L.
If you stretch your budget a tad, you can get an Aspire 5 (such as the Acer A515-56-50RS), with double the RAM and storage and will last even longer without a power adapter.
Acer Aspire 5 Specs
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core
- RAM: 4GB DDR4
- Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
- Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 6
Acer Aspire 5 design
Almost all other laptops in Acer’s Aspire 5 line feel thinner and lighter than they are, and this Core i3 model of the Aspire 5 fits that description well. At just 0.7-inch thick and under 4 pounds, the Aspire A515-46-R14K manages to feel light, given its 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.
The laptop’s chic aluminum lid and tapered shell give it a stylish look. When you open the lid, it reveals a 15.6-inch display with thin left and right bezels, and an Aspire logo along the laptop hinge, as well as a silver-colored chassis offset by the black keyboard.
For a budget system, port selection is pretty solid, although there’s at least one surprising omission. The left side has a Gigabit ethernet port, a full HDMI port, a pair of USB 3.0 port and a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port. You’ll need these USB ports for connecting external storage devices, given the Aspire’s cramped 128GB solid-state drive.
On the right side, there’s a USB 2.0 Type-A port and a combo audio jack. Surprisingly, a built-in memory card reader is missing, meaning you can’t access memory cards from your digital camera or your Android phone without using a USB adapter.
The 15.6-inch display on this Acer Aspire 5 is spot-on; rated at 267 nits the Full HD (1920 x 1080) is bright enough for daily productivity and entertainment. Of course, we’ve seen far brighter screens (about 300 nits and higher) in more costly laptops, but anything above 250 nits is great for a budget model like this. Surprisingly, the Core i5-equipped Aspire 5 has a far dimmer screen despite costing about $200 more.
You’ll also love the display’s 1080p resolution, which is very ideal for a screen this size. Its uses IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology to deliver impressive viewing angles, making it easy to collaborate or share the screen with a neighbor.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Acer’s Aspire 5 line offers comfortable keyboards, and some extra features that we’ve not seen at a budget. Our review unit, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K has a roomy backlit keyboard, complete with a narrow 10-key numeric keypad. The individual keys feel good to type on, with satisfying feedback with each keystroke.
However, key travel is a little shallow compared to other productivity-minded laptops we’ve reviewed. Nevertheless, for a budget system, the comfortable typing experience and the backlight feature count for a lot.
Below the keyboard is a similarly spacious trackpad that feels smooth and responsive, and does a good job rejecting incidental swipes from palms as you type. The trackpad model of the Aspire 5 includes an integrated fingerprint reader, however.
Another feature worth mentioning is the audio quality. You get decent sound for a budget laptop, with a respectable amount of detail and dash of bass, albeit slightly thin. Given we never expect too much when it comes to speaker quality on a sub-$1000 mainstream laptop, the Aspire 5’s speakers aren’t the worst around.
With a quad-core AMD Ryzen 3 3350U processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage, this laptop is a workhorse that will handle day-to-day productivity tasks and some more. It’s capable of handling all your daily emails, YouTube movies on the bright 15.6-inch screen, documents and school work. In fact, this Aspire 5 straddles the niche between budget office laptops and college machines, as it delivers well on both at no extra cost.
It uses an integrated GPU, while siblings like the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-50RS use the newer Intel Iris Xe graphics, but you can still get away with basic media creation and editing, as well as casual games on games like Minecraft. Anything above casual will be marred with delays, if you must run modern games and run mid-high media creation, the Asus FX505GT-AB73 is a good choice.
The Ace Aspire 5 comes with a 48Wh 3-cell Li-ion battery, which Acer rates at 8 hours of battery. In real-world use, that involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop lasts 6 hours 53 minutes, which isn’t bad for a budget laptop.
If you’re looking for an affordable laptop for work and college, you’re getting a good deal with this Acer Aspire 5. The capable, middle-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 3 and integrated graphics can handle the work you need to get done. And while you’ll take a few days to get used to the touchpad, the comfortable, backlit full-size keyboard makes typing away college assignments and business spreadsheets a breeze.
Parents looking for a laptop for their kid will be disappointed by the battery life, however, with today’s remote-learning, that isn’t a deal-breaker. That’s just something to consider along with the Aspire 5’s appealing price tag. As this Acer Aspire 5 review has shown, there are a few caveats to remember, but without performance-limiting issues, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K is a laptop you’d want to invest in.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6" Full HD IPS | AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core Mobile Processor | 4GB DDR4 | 128GB NVMe SSD | WiFi 6 | Backlit KB | Amazon Alexa | Windows 10 Home (S mode)
8 used from $298.95