If you are a student or a fresher looking for a reliable daily driver laptop on a budget, Aspire series from Acer has always been one of my first recommendations, as they always offer balanced specs at a budget-friendly price. Since this year’s no exception, let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the
ugly best of the Acer Aspire 5 (2023) in this review. Before we begin, here’s a brief list of what the Aspire 5 has to offer in terms of specifications.
Acer Aspire 5 2023 (A515-58) Specifications:
- Design & Build: Aluminum lid/plastic chassis, 362.9 (W) x 237.8 (D) x 17.9 (H) mm, 1.8 kg
- Display: 15.6-inch IPS panel, Acer Comfyview (matte)
- Resolution: FHD (1920 × 1080 pixels)
- Keyboard: Chiclet keys
- Processor: 13th Gen Intel Core i5-1335U
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR5
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
- Connectivity: WiFi 6E AX201, Bluetooth 5.1
- I/O Ports: 2x USB Type-A, 1x combo audio jack, 1x HDMI 2.1
- Battery: 50Wh battery, 65W AC power adapter
- What’s inside the box: Laptop, power adapter, quick start guide
- Price: Rs. 87,000
My unit powered by the Intel Core i5-1335U alongside 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD retails for just USD 600 in the US, around INR 55000 in India, and NPR 85000 here in Nepal. If you want something cheaper, there is also a Core i3 variant, but it’s better to stick with the Core i5 for the sake of future-proofing.
Acer Aspire 5 2023 (A515-58) Review:
- 362.9W x 237.8D x 17.90-mm, 1.8 kg
- Aluminum lid, plastic chassis
First, let me start with the design. Like other budget notebook manufacturers, Acer has cut some corners when it comes to the build of the Aspire 5. It has a plastic chassis with an aluminum-clad top and thick bezels all around the display (similar to last year). The overall laptop does have a little bit of flexing here and there, too, but I would say it’s nothing deal-breaking.
Luckily, the alarming issue of “the gap” between the screen and plastic bezels in last year’s model doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. So good on Acer for fixing their mistakes with the newer Aspire 5.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Moving on, there is some Keyboard flex, but it is hardly noticeable in day-to-day work. The keys do have this gritty texture, though, which some may find appalling. But I didn’t mind it much since you get used to it over time. Unfortunately, my unit lacked backlight, so if you’re someone who works in dim-lit environments or late at night, you would want to get the one with the backlight option.
Acer has, however, included a number pad here for those who love cranking numbers on their laptop. The trackpad here is good for the price too. It’s large, centered, and works well with multi-finger gestures. It’s not only quick but precise as well.
- 15.6″ non-touch matte FHD panel
- 45% NTSC, 220 nits of brightness
The display is probably one of the weaker aspects of this laptop. Here you get a 15.6” IPS LCD panel with just 45% NTSC color coverage and 220 nits of brightness.
It should fare just fine doing your everyday tasks like browsing or watching videos, but I wouldn’t trust it with things like color correction or graphic designing. Likewise, its subpar viewing angles and the low max brightness make it difficult to use outdoors too.
I’d have also loved it if Acer had provided a larger 16:10 ratio for that extra screen estate. That tiny bit of vertical space can really be a blessing when reviewing long lines of code or reading an article.
Speaker and Webcam
As for the speakers, they are decent too. They get reasonably loud and don’t distort at high volumes. However, since they are down-firing speakers, they sound neither very open nor very rich, but again they are very reasonable for the price. The webcam is also good enough for conference or work calls. So you shouldn’t have any trouble attending Zoom, and Meet calls if you’re in a well-lit room.
- Intel Core i5-1335U CPU (10C/12T, up to 4.6GHz)
- Integrate Intel Xe graphics (80 EU)
- 8GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Let’s talk about the most exciting part of the Acer Aspire 2023: the performance. This guy is powered by the latest Intel Core i5-1335U chip. This processor may not have the largest leap in performance from the previous gen i5-1235U (5% increase), but it is a pretty capable CPU. It even performs neck and neck with the M2 Mackbook Air in Cinebench R23 even beating the Mac’s single-core score.
Thus, you’ll probably have no complaints about doing everyday tasks. With my workflow involving multiple Chrome tabs, photoshop in the background, and Microsoft Word, I didn’t notice any stutter or lag here, which is great for a budget laptop.
The fans also stayed silent throughout all this, which was an added bonus. Do keep in mind that they will get audibly loud when playing games or doing any sort of heavy tasks, say light video editing.
As for coding and such too, the i5 13th gen is a good choice for IT students and beginner programmers. It had no trouble running a few C projects with ChatGPT and Stack Overflow open in the background.
Aspire 5’s gaming performance is impressive for a budget laptop. You can get away with casual gaming on low settings, especially in games like CSGO and Valorant, which mainly rely on the CPU. The cooling setup also works well without any complaints. The fans do get audibly loud when gaming but remain silent under normal stress.
With CS: GO on low settings, I was getting 100 fps on average, with 32 fps, 1% low. I did notice a few stutters here and there, but it was nothing major. Valorant followed suit with similarly smooth gameplay. I got 139 fps on average, with a 1% low of 59 fps on low graphics.
- 3-cell 50Wh Li-ion
- 65W AC power adapter (round-pin)
Lastly, the battery life on the Acer Aspire 5 is decent too. I got about 5 hours of screen time under normal load at about 70% brightness. But if you opt to go for the battery efficiency mode, you might even be able to get a bit more. You can charge it with this compact 65W adapter provided in the box, which takes about 2 hours to fully charge the laptop.
Connectivity and I/O
- Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
As for the ports, you have your charging port, HDMI, and a USB 3.2 Type-A port on the left, while the right side houses a USB A slot and the headphone jack. One thing to note is that models sold in other markets, like the US, do feature a Thunderbolt 4 port, but that was missing on my unit here.
Acer Aspire 5 2023 Review: Conclusion
In conclusion, the Acer Aspire 5 2023 Edition is an excellent budget notebook for anyone who’s looking for reliable performance at a budget price point.
The Intel Core i5-1335U, coupled with fast DDR5 RAM, exudes confidence in its capability. But despite having that, Aspire 5 does have its drawbacks in design, build, and display quality. This is where something like the IdeaPad Slim 3 thrives but again you’d be making a different set of tradeoffs there. But paired with good battery life and freedom for future upgrades, Aspire 5 (2023) is still an appealing option for those looking for value. So, this can be a good option for college students, office workers, or any general user looking for a powerful day-to-day laptop without breaking the bank.
That being said, since this laptop isn’t very different from the 2022 model and the performance bump is minor, I‘d recommend you buy that at a discount instead.
Acer Aspire 5 2023 (A515) Review: Pros and Cons
- Fast Performance (Intel 13th-Gen CPUs and DDR5 RAM)
- Decent battery life
- Value for Money
- Unsatisfactory build quality
- Subpar display panel
- Scarce Port Selection