Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ review: Slim and inexpensive, but middling quad-core performance

We've seen faster quad-core laptops, but not for this price.

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3DMark Sky Diver

With its integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 core, it’s unfair to expect much from the Aspire 5 in terms of gaming, but we put it through its paces anyway with the 3DMark Sky Diver graphics benchmark.

acer aspire 5 51dj 3dmark sky diver Ben Patterson/IDG

The Aspire 5 and its integrated graphics core sits bunched up with similarly configured laptops, while the Acer E 15 tops the chart thanks to its discrete graphics card.

No surprises here, with the i5-packing Aspire 5 in the top third of its class in our chart. What’s that one laptop at the top that’s blowing all the others away? It’s the Core i5-enabled Acer E 15, a bargain-priced laptop with an ace up its sleeve: a discrete GeForce MX150 graphics card. The MX150 is no powerhouse, mind you, but it illustrates the difference that even an entry-level discrete graphics card can make.

Battery life

We test battery life on laptops by looping a 4K video over and over using the stock Movies & TV playback app for Windows, with the screen brightness tuned as closely as possible to 250 nits (which meant cranking the Aspire’s brightness all the way up) and with the volume set to 50 percent, with headphones plugged in.

acer aspire 5 51dj battery rundown Ben Patterson/IDG

With a little more than nine hours of battery life in our testing, the Aspire 5 is perfect for day-tripped without a power adapter.

On average, it took a little over 9 hours for the 49 watt-hour battery in the Core i5-equipped Aspire 5 to die, which is right in line with our expectations. Topping the list is the Asus ZenBook 13, which wrings an exceptional amount of juice out of its similar-sized battery. The Acer E 15 benefits from a larger 62 watt-hour battery. In any event, the Aspire 5’s nine-hour result in our battery rundown trial means close to all-day battery life.

Bottom line

Capable of smooth-as-butter performance for mainstream computing activities, this Core i5-powered version of the Acer Aspire 5 manages to pack quad-core power into a thin, budget-priced chassis. But while it can run Office like a charm, the Aspire’s quad-core performance isn’t quite as impressive, and we’re also disappointed by its dim display.

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At a Glance
  • This slim $530 laptop packs in more than enough power for everyday computing tasks, and its quad-core performance is respectable, but you'll have to settle for a dim display.

    Pros

    • Inexpensive
    • Plenty of mainstream productivity power
    • Impressive battery life
    • Fingerprint reader

    Cons

    • Dim display
    • No memory card reader
    • So-so quad-core performance
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