Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) review – they got it back on track

Acer’s Aspire 5 series is bringing some sort of premium looks and feel to the lives of ordinary people, that don’t want to spend a great deal of their budget for a laptop. In fact, it is not marketed as a business laptop, and by no means, the A515-54G is not a gaming device. However, the versions with “G” after the model number feature a graphics card – in our case the GeForce MX250.

While it is totally up to you, to get the graphically enhanced model, we can’t miss saying that the Aspire 5 (A515-54G), is one of the cheapest IPS-equipped laptops that actually feature a decent graphics card. This is all good, but if you remember its predecessor – the Aspire 5 (A515-52), not everything is as good as it looks on paper.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-54-a515-54g/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) review – they got it back on track - Specs

  • AUO B156HAN02.1
  • Color accuracy  4.4  3.7
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 2000GB HDD
  • RAM
  • up to 20GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 S, Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Home, No OS, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 3220 mAh, 4-cell, 48Wh, 4-cell, 41Wh, 4-cell, 48Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 363 x 251 x 17 mm (14.29" x 9.88" x 0.67")
  • Weight
  • 1.90 kg (4.2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth
  • 5
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD 720p
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x
  • Optical drive
  • optional
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G)’s packaging contains a 65W charging brick, the laptop itself, as well as the mandatory manuals and guides.


Design and construction

In terms of measurements, the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) has pretty much the same footprint as its predecessor – it weighs 1.90 kg and has an 18mm profile. However, there are some slight visual differences. This time, the lid of the device has a matte finish on its aluminum material, whereas the (A515-52G) had the brushed look. Another difference we see is the hinge cover, which now goes all the way from the left hinge to the right (or vice versa). On the other side, the plastic material on the rest of the chassis is retained.

Once again, its lid cannot be opened with a single hand. On the bright side, it is sturdy and prone to flexes. Moreover, we see an upgrade in the hinge department that leaves them a lot stronger than before.

An issue that persists, however, is the rigidity of the plastic base. There is some reasonable bend from the material, when you press upon it – especially, the area where the keyboard sits. Speaking of which, its key travel is fairly short, and the feedback is rather soft. The main problem we experienced was that the feedback from each key is sometimes different from the rest. Additionally, it has a backlight, which is optional and depends on the model.

Further below, a little off-center (as usual from a Windows device), there is the touchpad. It has a decent area and in terms of usability – it is pretty accurate and quick. It also supports all of the default Windows gestures.

Similarly yo its predecessor, there is a pretty sizeable ventilation grill on the bottom. It is accompanied by two speaker cut-outs, while the hot air is exhausted from in between the body and the display.


Ports

As far as the I/O goes on this system, you have the power plug, RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, as well as two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports and a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port on the left, while the other side houses only a USB Type-A 2.0 port and an audio jack. Sadly, there is no SD card reader and at this price point, a Thunderbolt connectivity seems utopic.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

In order to access the internals of the Aspire 5 (A515-54), you need to remove 11 Phillips-head screws. Then you just pop the bottom plate with a plastic pry tool and you are inside.

Despite being pretty standard, the cooling system on this laptop doesn’t seem to be very efficient. It consists of a single, yet bulky, heat pipe, that connects both the CPU and the GPU to a heat spreader. As we have repeated numerous times – connecting the two main generators of heat inside a chassis is not the best idea. However, we would talk about the efficiency in the temperature segment of this review.

On the left side of the chassis is located the 2.5″ SATA slot, currently occupied by an HDD, while on the right side, you are going to find the single RAM DIMM that supports up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and an NVMe-enabled M.2 slot.

Then, there is the 48Wh battery, that seems unchanged from two generations before.


Display quality

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) in our configuration is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel with a model number AUO B156HAN02.1 (AUO21ED). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 278 nits in the middle of the screen and 263 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 14%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6600K – almost matching the sRGB standard of 6500K, which is great.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is mediocre – 1170:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 55% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels at any point. This makes it comfortable for use during long work periods, without harming your eyes in this aspect.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G)’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio. On top of that, it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness, whatsoever. Its main disadvantage is poor color coverage.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAN02.1 (AUO21ED).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

This laptop’s speakers are okay. Low, mid and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All the drivers and utilities for Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) are available for download here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/7982?b=1 ; while the (A515-54) ones can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/7972?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop has a 48Wh battery pack.

Thankfully, there is a big upgrade from last year, as we were able to extract 8 hours and a half of Web browsing and video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Acer Aspire 5 3220 mAh, 4-cell

CPU options

There are variants of the model that are delivered with the Core i3-8145U, Core i5-8265U, and the Core i7-8565U.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

The G-version of the laptop comes with the GeForce MX250 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, while the non-G model is equipped with only the integrated UHD Graphics 620.

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54 / A515-54G) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 78 fps 58 fps 40 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 113 fps 75 fps 51 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-8565U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54) 3.07 GHz (B+71%) @ 80°C 1.96 GHz (B+9%) @ 67°C 1.99 GHz (B+11%) @ 73°C
ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534 3.32 GHz (B+84%) @ 85°C 3.10 GHz (B+72%) @ 89°C 2.68 GHz (B+49%) @ 83°C
MSI PS63 Modern 3.17 GHz (B+76%) @ 95°C 2.56 GHz (B+42%) @ 95°C 2.32 GHz (B+29%) @ 95°C
ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533 3.92 GHz (B+118%) @ 65°C 3.82 GHz (B+112%) @ 79°C 2.71 GHz (B+51%) @ 75°C
HP Spectre x360 15 (15-df0000) 3.10 GHz (B+72%) @ 69°C 1.92 GHz (B+7%) @ 61°C 1.88 GHz (B+4%) @ 64°C
Dell Inspiron 14 5482 2-in-1 3.12 GHz (B+73%) @ 96°C 2.56 GHz (B+42%) @ 94°C 2.01 GHz (B+12%) @ 76°C

What Acer has done with the thermal configuration was pretty straightforward. Its Turbo Boost time is very short, and we only get frequencies above 3.00 GHz for the first 10 seconds of the test. Moreover, this is not because of thermal throttiling, since the temperature is fairly manageable – 80C. However, at the end of the torture, the CPU was running just shy of 2.00 GHz, while its temperature was 73C.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54G) 1297 MHz @ 74°C 1139 MHz @ 74°C
ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 1708 MHz @ 77°C 1480 MHz @ 67°C

All we said, during the disassembly of this device was slowly becoming true. Even though its CPU is working at pretty low temperatures, to give enough headroom for the MX250, we see very low clock speeds – 1297 MHz at the 2-minute mark, and 1139 MHz after half an hour. Add this to the 74C and you will understand what we meant – especially when you compare it to a more capable laptop – like the ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 for example. We should note something, however. First, the MX250 is the more powerful 25W version (the same as in the VivoBook S15 S532), and second – the fan was pretty loud when gaming.

Comfort during full load

It happens that the loud fan was helpful for the outer temperatures. We measured a maximum of 43C on the keyboard, while the rest of the laptop was pretty cool.


Verdict

Okay, guys, keep in mind that we are talking about a budget laptop over here. In fact, as we mentioned, in some regions it might just be the cheapest IPS-equipped laptop that features the GeForce MX250. This not only enables you to play some low-medium intensive games at decent frame rates but also without breaking your bank account.

Let’s start with the setbacks of this notebook. While it is indeed a great bang for your buck, you should be prepared for some cost-cutting measures. One of them is plastic material, which is dominant on this occasion. Its base flexes more than one would want, and it is easily bendable when you apply the slightest force on top of it. On the bright side, the lid is made out of aluminum, and the hinges assembly is improved from last year.

Then, there is the keyboard, itself. What we weren’t impressed by was the amount of travel it has, and the overall uniformity of the keys – some feel clicky, while others are softer than molten cheese.

Now on the bright side – finally, Acer has fixed the battery issue on this model, that was poising the entire last generation. Despite retaining the same 48Wh battery pack, the Aspire 5 (A515-54) is now able to achieve around 8 hours and a half of Web browsing and video playback, which is extremely good for this device. Additionally, this laptop features a Full HD IPS panel (AUO B156HAN02.1), which has a decent contrast ratio, great viewing angles and doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels. On the other hand, it covers only 54% of sRGB.

Then, there are the thermals of the laptop, which are great. Even though Acer needed to sacrifice noise level and clock speeds in order to achieve this, we are confident that if you are willing to play games on the GeForce MX250, it is not going to present any significant problems.

So, guys, we would recommend this laptop to people that are not very pretentious about their devices and prefer to get some premium treatment at a low cost. Perhaps, Acer has done a good job pulling this one out.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • GeForce MX250 and an IPS display at a great price
  • Its display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness (AUO B156HAN02.1)
  • Thin and light chassis


Cons

  • Plasticky body
  • Uneven tactile feedback and short key travel from the keyboard
  • Covers only 54% of sRGB (AUO B156HAN02.1)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-54-a515-54g/

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R7ex Ed
R7ex Ed
2 years ago

No SD card reader still?
No buy from me.
Had a SD card slot been present, I would’ve bought the Swift 5 a year ago. 🙁

Shiva
Shiva
2 years ago

Does this use PWM for controlling brightness? If so, what’s the frequency? I am thinking of buying this but concerned about PWM.

Igor
Igor
2 years ago

According to videos and photos it seems like this laptop suitable only for M.2 2240. Or did I miss something?

Igor
Igor
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Iliev

Indeed, I’ve probably mistaken a wi-fi module from ssd. Thank you for the response.

kidp
kidp
2 years ago

Great review! Are you sure it has an HDMI 2.0 port? It is written in Ports and connectivity.

R7ex Ed
R7ex Ed
2 years ago

“Once again, its lid ….. , it is sturdy and prone to flexes.”

So, is it strong and sturdy? Or is it weak and flexible? I don’t get it.

CCC
CCC
2 years ago

I bought the laptop and got another display with less brightness and less contrast. Is it pure luck which display you get?

Nikhil Muddamsetty
Nikhil Muddamsetty
2 years ago

What is the charger pin size on the laptop , i need to buy a new charger

Frank Witteman
Frank Witteman
2 years ago

My brand new Aspire 5 a515-54G came with a “HD User Facing” USB camera and 12 year old Microsoft generic drivers. Windows Hello Face feature requires an IR camera found in newer middle-high end laptops (Acer Support does not offer any camera drivers for my model). The very old camera drivers (not UWD compatible) probably cause issues even when disabled when shutting down (Hibernate/Hybrid) corrupting Sysmain and Hiberfil.sys used by (default) Windows10 Fast Startup feature (Event error 6008, 29 and warning 360): My reliability monitor has not been above 5.0 yet (10 = reliable) since the date of purchase February… Read more »

Nick Mooney
Nick Mooney
2 years ago

Got this laptop with the 1TB nvm2 ssd, can’t say i’m fussed about the lack of sd card adapter I use a usb micro sd card adapter. My concern was the ethernet port which is lacking on most modern laptops. The speakers are really not hot for listening to FLAC files so i use Headphones instead.
The laptop itself is fast and i think the keyboard is very good and i’m not complaining at the price i got this for.

Joe w
Joe w
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Mooney

Hey Nick,

Thinking about buying one of these on sale at staples. I read some issue with wifi dropping connections often;waking to blue or a screen showing nothing;webcam not working. You experiencing any of these issues.

Faslul Haq
Faslul Haq
2 years ago

I got Acer 515-54G i5 10th Gen 8GB 1TB…. writing this review after 6 months of use..
It is ideal for ordinary users who needs internet/email/document processing and some general purpose. But slow in response time taking 3-5min to boot. And when 5GB or above RAM loaded, very difficult to work, some times freezing. Obviously difficult to run VMs / Video processing / multimedia purpose. Any idea / suggestions pls reply.

Pasindu
Pasindu
1 year ago
Reply to  Faslul Haq

Does your ram gets heated up?..what is your operating temperature of your RAM when using the Zoom like app?

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