So I recently bought the Acer Aspire A515-45 Ryzen 5 5500U laptop. This laptop will be used for regular tasks, like web browsing, watching youtube videos, editing documents, blogging, taking notes etc.
I checked quite a few laptops from other brands as well including Lenovo, MSI and Asus. Finally settled for this one for some key feature benefits within my target budget.
Some key advantages in this laptop were a usb-c port (3.2 gen 2), 15.4 inch ips display panel, 6 core/12thread cpu and upgradeable ram along with ms office lifetime license. But this laptop also has plenty of drawbacks that are quite prominent and affect the performance as well.
In this review we take a look at various aspects of this laptop from its build quality to its performance and other details. So keep reading.
- Series: Acer Aspire 5
- Model Name: A515-45-R0HB
- Part No: NX.A84SI.002
- CPU: Ryzen 5-5500U (6-core/12-thread) 2.1Ghz/4.0Ghz
- RAM: 8GB (Expandable upto 8GB+16GB)
- Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- Display: 15.6" (39.62 cms) FHD, IPS, Acer ComfyView (Matte anti-glare), LED-backlit TFT LCD, 45% NTSC color gamut
- Ports: 1x USB (power-off charging), 1x USB 3.2Gen1 port, 1x USB-C (5 Gbps), 1x USB 2.0
- 1x HDMI
- Wifi: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160MHz ( 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth 5.0
- Ethernet: Gigabit Ethernet, Wake-on-Lan Ready
- Webcam: 720p HD, 0.9 MP, 16:9 (1280x720)
- Weight: 1.76 kg
- Battery: 48 Wh Li-ion, 3-cell
- Color: Pure Silver
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Power Supply: 45W AC Adapter
- Norton Security Ultra (Trial)
- MS_Office Home and Student 2019 Lifetime License
- Acer Care Center
Some of the key drawbacks of this laptop worth keeping in mind are:
- No fingerprint sensor
- Poor Color gamut - Only around 60% sRGB color gamut
- No indicator light for caps lock and num lock - Makes typing passwords really a mess sometimes
- Only 8GB-DDR4 Ram in single channel mode, need to upgrade it for full performance
- The 5500U cpu has a very weak integrated gpu (performs far worse compared to igpu on i5-1135G7)
- Lack of edge grip on the chassis front, which makes it bit inconvenient to lift the lid.
- Poor external body shape - Looks un-refined and cheap
1. The Case - Build, Looks and form factor
The body is all silver color with the "acer" brand name engraved on the lid. The build quality is decently average I would say and there is nothing to complain about in this budget segment.
However one weird thing that I noticed in this laptop is the lack of a edge grip on the chassis. This makes it sort of un-easy to catch the lid edge when trying to open it. My other Acer Swift 3 laptop has a fine edge cut which makes it easy to grab and lift the display lid.
Morever the edges of the display lid do not align with the edges of the chassis properly because the display lid span is slightly smaller. This makes it look very weird and actually bad.
Air vents are only on the bottom face and there are none on the sides (left, right, back).
An interested feature of this laptop is that the display lid can open to 180 degrees and lie flat on the surface. Not sure how useful that would be for an average user like me.
The weight of the laptop is within 1.8 kgs which keeps it portable, though its not ultralight. If you want something even lighter there are options available.
The display is an IPS panel which gives good viewing angles, however the gamut is only 45% NTSC which is equivalent to 55-65% sRGB which is definitely very disappointing.
At this price point a laptop should offer atleast 100% sRGB for good colors. It seems like, the color gamut is a popular point of compromise on budget laptops, simply because majority of the users are unaware or unable to notice it when using casually.
The low color gamut can be noticed right away as colors are not very sharp when viewing images or videos on youtube. The refresh rate is 60Hz which is the standard on regular non-gaming laptops.
The IPS glow was minimal like it should be, and there was absolutely no backlight bleed which is a very good thing.
According to HWiNFO utility the display panel model details are as follows:
Monitor Name: AU Optronics [Unknown Model: AUO4999] Monitor Name (Manuf): AUO B156HAN02.1
3. CPU - Ryzen 5 5500U
The Ryzen 5 5500U is a capable processor that is also power efficient (U stands for ultra-low power). The core specifications of this cpu are as follows:
- Cores: 6
- Threads: 12
- Base Clock: 2.1 Ghz
- Boost Clock: 4.0 Ghz
- TDP: 10-25W
- L1 Cache: 384 KB
- L2 Cache: 3 MB
- L3 Cache: 8 MB
Its notable competitors are i5-1135G7 and i7-1165G7 from Intel and the 5500U surpasses the by a huge margin. Here are the Cinebench scores to put things in perspective.
Now lets take a look at some of the benchmark scores.
We ran some quick and simple Cinebench tests and below are the screenshots of the results.
Single Core test:
Multi core test:
To put things into perspective here is a comparison of the Cinebench scores of this laptop some other laptops that we have reviewed in the past.
Single Core Score
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||1175||6377|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||1202||3206|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H|
In terms of multi-core task loads this 5500U cpu outperforms the Intel i5-1135G7 by a huge margin. This is partly because it has an extra 2 cores/4 threads. However in single core tests it lags behind slightly.
It should be noted that higher multicore performance might not result into better user experience for all users. As we shall see later that this cpu has a far inferior integrated gpu compared to i5-1135G7. This can cause serious bottleneck situations in gpu demanding applications like casual gaming, simple video watching or editing.
The cinebench test consumes around 2.4 GB of ram, hence the scores could have been better if the system had dual channel ram.
Geekbench 5.4.5 Tryout - CPU Benchmark
|Model||CPU||Single Core Score||Multi-core Score||Results Page|
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||1085||3909|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||1417||5401||Click here|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H|
The score of this laptop can be compared with other 5500U cpu based laptops on this page.
The scores on the above table might look very puzzling, as the i5-1135G7 outperforms the 5500U inspite of having fewer cores. The reason behind this is the faster dual channel ram on the acer swift 3 and slower single channel ram on this laptop.
These results once again remind us of the importance of ram speed in the actual performance of any system. So whenever you are looking for a laptop, make sure to get one with preferably dual channel ram and overclocked ram.
However unfortunately most manufacturers do not reveal this information in the spec sheet of a laptop. Another option could be to read reviews and watch review videos online, and see what other users are reporting.
UserBenchmark - System Benchmark
Userbenchmark gave a brief but comprehensive overview of this laptop. The ram speed turned out to be very low which seriously hurts the performance of this laptop and gpu is also very weak compared to regular intel cpu based laptops.
4. RAM - 8GB (single channel) - Upgradeable to 24GB
This laptop has 8GB ram which runs on single channel at a frequency of 1600 Mhz, giving a DDR speed of 3200 MT/s. It is soldered onboard.
Only 8 GB ram in single channel configuration is a huge downside of this laptop and will bottleneck the 5500U cpu from working to its full potential. A quick fix is to upgrade the ram using the additional slot.
Here is a quick comparison of ome of my other laptops with this one:
|Model||CPU||RAM (GB)||Clock Speed||DDR Speed||Channel Used||Max Bandwidth||Overclocked|
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||8||1600 Mhz||3200 MT/s||1||3200 MT/s||-|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||16||2133 Mhz||4267 MT/s||2||8534 MT/s||YES|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H||16||1600 Mhz||3200 MT/s||2||6400 MT/s||-|
The existing 8 GB ram is soldered onboard and is not replaceable. There is an extra slot for adding an additional ram module of upto 16GB. The maximum supported ram is 24GB (8GB + 16GB).
Even with an upgrade the configuration of the ram would be hybrid, because part of it is onboard and part would be slotted. You would have to carefully match various technical parameters of the new ram sodimm to maximise the chances of it running in dual mode.
If you plan to buy this laptop then be sure to upgrade the ram to atleast 16gb by adding an extra 8gb sodimm in the empty slot.
Userbenchmark measures the ram transfer speeds and gives a very clear picture as to how well a machine will likely perform in real use.
|Model||CPU||RAM (GB)||Clock Speed||DDR Speed||Channel Used||Max Bandwidth||Overclocked||Multi-core speed||Single-core speed|
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||8||1600 Mhz||3200 MT/s||1||3200 MT/s||-||12.4 GB/s||18.4 GB/s|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||16||2133 Mhz||4267 MT/s||2||8534 MT/s||YES|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H||16||1600 Mhz||3200 MT/s||2||6400 MT/s||-|
The ram speed of this laptop compared to the Acer Swift 3 i5-1135G7 is seriously low and this reflects in nearly all benchmarks.
5. GPU - AMD Radeon iGPU
There is no dedicated GPU on this laptop and it only has the integrated AMD Radeon gpu (512MB vram), which is actually quite weak as shown by benchmark tests and games.
Most applications today need some level of gpu hardware acceleration. Modern systems use gpu accelerated graphics processing for rendering websites, playing videos online, rendering the desktop etc.
By not having a decent gpu, the system will likely start lagging at some point as the graphics processing load is shared by the cpu which is very inefficient.
For example when you scroll a webpage, it will flicker or behave strangely. When playing videos, the cpu usage will go very high.
The internal details of the gpu can be checked with tools like cpuz and gpuz.
A relative performance chart is provided by techpowerup.com over here
This igpu on 5500U is far weaker compared to that on i5-1135G7, which is a little disappointing. The i5-1135G7 allows you to play some basic games like Asphalt with HIGH graphics settings, whereas this cpu cannot handle even that unless you lower the graphics settings.
The pre-installed device driver version was: 27.20.14016.13
The new drivers were downloaded from the official website. The new driver was bundled with the package named AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition. It had the latest display drivers along with configuration utility program to manage the settings of the gpu.
The new display driver version is: 30.0.15021.11005
Geekbench 5.4.5 Tryout - GPU Benchmark
Following are the scores from Geekbench OpenCL and Vulkan tests, along with comparison with some other laptops:
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||10412||11291|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H|
Based on the scores the gpu on 5500U is less capable compared to the one on i5-1135G7. This will be very visible when playing games as the fps would be lower. However in regular usage there is no noticeable difference. Web-browsing, video watching and other simple task run perfectly smooth.
Intel cpus provide a decent balance between cpu and gpu processing power.
We ran a couple of gpu benchmark tests using tools like FurMark (opengl) and Unigine Heaven (dx9). The results were quite low and we did not bother to run other high profile benchmark tools like 3DMark (dx12) as this laptop is simply incapable of running them.
FurMark 22.214.171.124- GPU Benchmark
FurMark is an OpenGL based gpu benchmark and stress test tool.
After multiple runs of the Furmark benchmark tool, this laptop seemed to achieve a max score of: 319. The test details are available at this link.
Here is a comparison with other similar laptops.
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||319||6|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||1769||29|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H|
FurMark uses the OpenGL api for rendering and the results are quite disappointing. The i5-1135G7 delivered nearly 5 times the fps compared to this 5500u laptop, and came out with a much higher score.
The gpu can only do basic regular non-gaming graphics processing and extremely low graphics for even the simplest games like Asphalt as we shall test ahead.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
The Unigine Heaven Benchmark tool renders a series of 3D scenes and tracks the fps generated by the system.
We ran the tests with the setting present named Basic which uses DirectX 9. Uningine can also use directx 11 and opengl.
Here are the scores of this system.
|Model||CPU||Unigine settings||Unigine Heaven 4.0
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||Basic (DirectX 9)||649||25.8||30.0|
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||Ryzen 5 5500U||Basic (DirectX 9)||664||26.4||27.20|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||Basic (DirectX 9)||2001||79.5||-|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H||Basic (DirectX 9)||-|
The intel i5-1135g7 laptop performs hugely better than this ryzen 5 5500u laptop. The fps generated are over 3 times higher and so is the score.
Also, the older driver (27.20) seemed to deliver a better score compared to the latest driver (30.0).
Overall the gpu on this laptop is just adequate for minimal regular tasks. Anything beyond that would cause the laptop to slowdown.
6. Thermals and Cooling
Now that we are done with cpu, gpu and their performance, its time to talk about the temperatures and how well the laptop cools itself. To examine the thermals we just ran a simple cpu stress test with cinebench 30 minute stability test. This test puts maximum load on the cpu for around 30 minutes which is long enough to make saturate the cooling system.
During the tests, the laptop was placed on a flat hard glass surface (which actually got warm due to the heat from the exhaust vents).
The temperature graph was monitored with Open Hardware Monitor.
The laptop seems to have an upper temperature limit of 85-86 C, and once that is hit the cpu starts throttling down. Under sustained maximum load on all cores, the clock speed dropped to 2.8 Ghz which is still higher than the base clock of 2.1 Ghz. Power consumption by the cpu was consistent around 19 W.
|Model||CPU||Clock||Temperature (C)||Power (W)||Load|
|(This Laptop) Acer Aspire 5||R5-5500U||2.8 Ghz||85.5||19||100|
|Acer Swift 3||i5-1135G7||-||-||-|
|Asus TUF A17||Ryzen 7 5800H||-||-||-||-|
Even during the cpu load test the system could be operated smoothly with other applications and did not feel slow. After the test the temperatures stabilised back to normal levels very quickly.
The area on the upper side of the keyboard was the warmest, whereas the palm rest area on the lower side remained cool making typing heat-free.
Haven't opened this laptop to see the head sink and cooling pipes, but the bottom side of the outer chassis does seem to heat up when the cpu is under load for long durations.
At max load the fan makes a noticeable humming noise, which can be clearly audible in silent atmosphere but is not too loud. Overall its pretty much like other laptops in this segment.
The cooling system has only a single fan so the bottom side feels more warmer on one side. There are no air vents on the edge sides either left, right or back. The only vent is on the bottom which serves for air intake and exhaust together.
7. Storage - 512GB SSD, Slot for HDD
The laptop comes with a 512gb nvme ssd which is an excellent feature, however there are no extra ssd slots. The existing one has to swapped out with a new one if you need more storage.
The internal ssd is connected on a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. Details fetched by hwinfo are shown below.
Drive Controller: NVMe (PCIe 4x 8.0 GT/s) Host Controller: Hynix Semiconductor NVMe Controller Drive Model: HFM512GD3JX016N NVMe Version Supported: v1.3 Drive Capacity: 488,386 MBytes (512 GB)
The part details of the installed SSD can be found using utility programs like CrystalDiskInfo:
However there is an extra slot for installing an HDD, and the laptop comes with extra HDD brackets so that you don't need to buy one. If you are looking for extra but cheap storage, you may as well consider adding a 1 TB hdd.
CrystalDiskMark - Disk Read/Write Benchmark
8. Ports - USB, HDMI, Ethernet
On the left side ports are in the following order:
- Power socket
- Ethernet (RJ45) port
- HDMI port
- USB-A 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps + Power off charging)
- USB-A 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps)
- USB-C 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps)
On the right side we have the following ports:
- Kensington Lock
- Charger (Power) indicator
- System on/sleep indicator
- USB-A 2.0
- Audio Jack
There is no sd card reader big or small. As for usb, there are plenty of ports and more can be added using a usb hub. Since this is a ryzen laptop, there is no thunderbolt support.
9. Keyboard - White backlit
The keyboard has no indicator for Caps Lock and Numlock which causes real inconvenience while typing, specially the passwords. But on the good side, the keyboard is backlit, with just 1 level of white color.
The good thing is that atleast the left/right arrow keys are full sized which makes them more accessible. The up/down however are half sized.
The power button is part of the keyboard and located on the top right. The numpad on the keyboard makes typing numbers more convenient which is a feature that i like about this laptop. Other similar laptops like the MSI Modern 15 Ryzen 5 5500U do not have a numpad for instance.
The function keys also act as media control hotkeys to adjust brightness, sound levels, lock the touchpad, send laptop to sleep etc. Each function key has a symbol indicating the extra function it supports.
By default the function key activates the special media functions and not the standard F1, F2... function. This behavior can be changed from the bios.
The touchpad is decent though not very impressive. It has inbuilt buttons for left and right click on the bottom side which lack a clicky feedback when pressed. The clicks on my other Acer Swift 3 laptop touchpad felt slightly better than this one.
The trackpad supports gestures like double tab and triple tap, which can be configured from windows mouse settings. Compared to the whole width of the keyboard the touchpad is aligned to the left to make it centered with the left region excluding the numlock, which in my opinion is good ergonomics. It provides palm rest in the correct place when typing.
Overall its an average touchpad, that gets the job done.
11. Wifi Connectivity
This laptop is equipped with the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160MHz chipset which supports upto wifi 6.0 and Bluetooth 5.0. The Intel wifi chipset is among the best and perform well above common competitors like the MediaTek MT7921 wifi chipsets.
Intel AX200 easily supports consistent transmit and receive speeds of over 1 Gbit/s, depending on the quality of the local network setup.
12. Ethernet connectivity - 1 Gbps
The laptop has a gigabit ethernet interface. The exact model of the controller can be found using the HWiNFO program.
Ethernet Controller: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
The ethernet port comes as a surprise as most budget notebooks in this range don't have it.
There are 2 speakers (stereo) which are decently audible if you are sitting close to the laptop in a silent surrounding. They are located on the front bottom side of the chassis and sound more like a smartphone speaker.
Not loud enough for watching videos or movies from distance. You would need extra speakers. The spec sheet does not provide any information about the speakers, though it would be safe to assume that they have around 2 watts total power output.
14. Battery - 48Wh
The package mentions the laptop is equipped with a 48Wh battery, but hwinfo reported the battery capacity at 53Wh. Not sure why this difference.
With that sort of capacity the battery can be expected to last several hours for basic usage. For regular usage it lasted over 6 hours which is plenty for most users.
When running a Cinebench stress test on battery the system downclocks itself and under maximum load, the cpu consumes about 8W power and maintains a clock of 1.8 Ghz which is lower than the base frequency of the cpu. Temperatures stay around 56 C. This helps reduce power consumption and lets the laptop run longer on battery.
Battery runtime also depends on various factors like screen brightness, wifi usage and background applications. If you want to keep it running longer then lower the brightness and use fewer concurrent application.
The battery run-time is overall good and makes the laptop a portable device.
The laptop comes with a 45W adapter that charges the battery in little over an hour. The usb-c port does not support charging.
The output mentioned on the adapter sticker is 19V @ 2.37 A which is roughly 45.03W. The adapter is compact sized and lightweight but uses a modular C5/C6 power cord to connect to ac power supply which itself is a little bulky. The overall wire length of the adapter from mains to laptop is over 2 meters which should be sufficient for most desk setups.
This is not a gaming laptop, but even with the integrated AMD Radeon gpu this laptop is gaming capable at low-level performance. So if you would like to play some games occasionally, then go ahead.
Looking at the benchmark scores from FurMark and Unigine Heaven, its pretty clear that this laptop won't run 3d games with high level graphics. However it can run 2d games like Age of Empires and other simpler 3d games like Asphalt with lower graphics settings pretty well.
Some issues we ran into
1. Update display drivers immediately
When using google chrome some websites would not render properly and only show a white blank page with a scrollbar or display few page elements here or there. This problem was very noticeable and happened frequently. This happened only in Google Chrome regular tab. It did not happen in Chrome incognito or Firefox.
The problem was fixed by updating the display drivers that were downloaded from the official website.
Also the gpu benchmark scores were very low in geekbench opencl/vulkan tests and Furmark. By installing the latest display drivers the gpu scores improved drastically.
With the old drivers, Asphalt was simply unplayable unless "Anti-aliasing" was disabled. With new drivers Asphalt ran very smooth with highest graphics settings.
2. Windows 10 keeps reverting to older version of display driver
This seemed to be a very annoying issue on this laptop. Windows 10 was automatically reverting back to the older amd display drivers on its own. Click here for a reddit thread on this issue.
3. Install DirectX End-User Runtime
It seemed that some components related to DirectX 9 were missing on this laptop. The same can be downloaded from microsoft.com. Simply search for "DirectX End-User Runtime" on google or visit this link.
Overall this is a budget laptop with notable feature and quality cuts to make it affordable. If it were made with slightly better hardware specs, buyers would surely be happy to spend more.
Performance-wise the laptop delivers upto the expectations. Most applications and tasks work perfectly fine, due to 6 core/12 thread cpu along with fast nvme ssd. Document editing in ms-office apps had no lags of any kind. Browsing with google chrome and microsoft edge was equally smooth as long as you do not open too many tabs. Even if lots of tabs were opened, the system felt snappy because the fast ssd compensated for the shortfall of memory space in ram. Other media applications like vlc player also worked without complains.
The system should also be capable for slightly heavier tasks like basic video editing and coding etc. However if you try to run high demanding workloads, this machine would start lagging or simply take more time than expected.
But in terms of productivity the laptop works just fine. So if you just care about getting your work done, then you can consider this laptop.
If you have questions or feedback about this laptop let me know in the comments below.