Acer is very good at making affordable multimedia notebooks which are actually strong performers. Earlier this year we introduced you to one of their best achievements in this segment – the Aspire 5 (A515-51G). It features good build quality, nice keyboard, an IPS panel, powerful and energy efficient hardware.
We have spent the last couple of days with the next-gen Aspire 5 15-incher – the (A515-52G). It comes with a couple of design differences, aimed at modernizing the look of the notebook and keeping it on par with the competition. Apart from the narrower bezels and hinge design, we see Whiskey Lake CPUs and the same GeForce MX150 onboard. So, keeping in mind the older model, we have a lot of expectations from this young lad.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-52/
Acer Aspire (A515-52G) technical specifications table
What’s in the box?
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) is presented in a nice white cloth bag. Accompanying it in the box we can see a couple of paper manuals and the mandatory 65W power adapter.
Design and construction
Acer has made some changes to the design. It still features a mostly plastic build, however, now the brushed aluminum comes on top of the lid, rather than the palm rest area. While it might boost the presentability of the exterior it may as much reduce the resistance of the body. However, the base is made of a very hard and supposedly thick plastic. We are happy to see a slimmer profile and lighter overall weight – 18 mm and 1.9 kg respectively, which is pretty nice for a 15-inch notebook.
As we mentioned, the aluminum lid cover results in it being stronger and more resistant to flex. Moreover, it features a very slim side screen bezels. Somehow, the hinges look cheap and easily breakable, while the screen is impossible to be opened singlehandedly.
Next is the base area, featuring a keyboard and a touchpad. Still no fingerprint reader in contrast to the ASUS VivoBook S15 S530. Anyhow, we have a full-blown keyboard experience. A thing we are not really a fan of is the tiny spacing between the keys and the down-sized Numpad keys. However, we appreciate the presence of them at all. In addition to that, we find the arrow keys to be silly, since the ‘shift’ button over the “up” arrow is huge – more than half of the length of the space bar.
On the contrary, it provides a nice, tactile feedback. Moreover, the touchpad is super responsive and doesn’t wobble, as the A515-51G did and as its own keyboard does.
Looking at the Aspire 5 (A515-52G) from the bottom reveals another difference. First, Acer has decided to ditch the service panels for good, so if you want to upgrade RAM or storage, you have to remove the whole bottom panel. However, they have remained relatively the same configuration of the ventilation and exhaust grills.
|Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G)||363 mm (14.29″)||248 mm (9.76″)||18 mm (0.71″)||1.90 kg (4.2 lbs)|
|Acer Aspire 5 (A515-51G)||382 mm (15.04″)||263 mm (10.35″)||22 mm (0.87″) (+22%)||2.2 kg (4.9 lbs) (+16%)|
|ASUS VivoBook S15 S530||361 mm (14.21″)||243 mm (9.57″)||18 mm (0.71″)||1.80 kg (4 lbs) (-6%)|
On the left side, we have an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI port, two USB ports, one of which Type-A 3.0 and the other Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1), and finally full SD card reader. On the opposite side, there are two retro USB Type-A 2.0, as well as a single combo 3.5 mm audio jack. Also located here is the charging port.
Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance
As we mentioned earlier, gone are the user-friendly service lids. On the other hand, Acer has thoughtfully decreased the number of screws that keep you away from removing the bottom plate. No more than 5 minutes of unscrewing and unprying, and you are inside the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G). At first glance, we see a pretty well-organized body with not a lot of free room available – hence the lack of DVD-reader option.
The cooling comprises of a super short but bulky heat pipe, which goes through both CPU and GPU. While having the shortest path possible is always good, we are not really fans of cooling both processors with a single heatpipe.
Right next to the CPU we got two RAM DIMMs – so far, so good, as the A515-51G featured 4GB of soldered memory and just a single slot for upgrades.
As mandatory, the Aspire 5 (A515-52G) has an M.2 SSD slot, which supports NVMe drives. It is located on the bottom right corner – right next to the battery.
On the bottom-most part of the body is located the battery of 48Wh capacity. Frankly, it is exactly the same model as the one in the predecessor, so one would expect the same if not better battery life. More on that – later.
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel, model number BOE NV156FHM-N48. Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 x 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).
Viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.
The maximum measured brightness is 287 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 261 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 18%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6350K (average) – just a little warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 6270K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 51% Brightness (White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.11 cd/m2).
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 (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is excellent – 1220:1.
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 (A515-52G)’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers only 51% 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 (A515-52G) 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 = 33 ms.
Health impact – PWM / Blue Light
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 (A515-52G)’s display uses PWM for every brightness level, except the maximum one. However, the frequency of the flickers is high enough to reduce the negative effect when it is present.
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.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) is equipped with a pretty adequate Full HD IPS panel. As expected, it has a high contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles. Sadly, it lags behind when it comes to 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 (A515-52G) configurations with 15.6″ BOE NV156FHM-N48 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.
*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 [email protected]
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 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.
THealth-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.
Acer Aspire (A515-52G) has a relatively loud sound. However, low, mid and high tones have deviations.
You can find all of the drivers and utilities for the Aspire 5 A515-52G-55KB on Acer’s official website: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/7778?b=1
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. As we mentioned, Acer has retained the same battery from the old design with 48Wh capacity.
Weirdly enough, the Aspire 5 (A515-52G) doesn’t inherit the great battery life of its predecessor. Its times dropped down from 9 hours and 30 minutes of web browsing in the A515-51G to 4 hours and a half in the A515-52G. Things get even worse when you see the video playback performance – a little over three hours. Terrible optimization by Acer this time… (10 points are taken from Gryffindor). However, fear not Acer lovers, as this might be fixed soon with an update.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) is loaded with Intel’s new Whiskey Lake CPUs. Our configuration is equipped with the four-core, eight-threaded Core i5-8265U. It ticks at a basic frequency of 1.6 GHz and can reach up to 3.9 GHz in Turbo mode.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Apart from the GeForce MX150, you can find the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) equipped with the more entry-level – MX130 (which is basically a rebranded GeForce 940MX). Last but not least is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. Obviously, we don’t recommend the last one for gaming, but it will offer the best battery life and thermal efficiency.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
The NVIDIA GeForce MX150 performs as expected – it is able to run low-demanding games on high settings and Full HD resolution. However, we noticed that in longer game sessions, the notebook becomes a little too loud and frame rates start to drop slightly.
|CS:GO||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||94 fps||82 fps||67 fps|
|DOTA 2||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||64 fps||56 fps||46 fps|
|TC Rainbow Six Siege||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, High (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||86 fps||68 fps||62 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||HD 768p, Normal (Check settings)||HD 768p, High (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||48 fps||41 fps||31 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||HD 768p, Lowest (Check settings)||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||60 fps||41 fps||13 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||HD 768p, Low (Check settings)||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||94 fps||54 fps||28 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 temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Intel Core i5-8265U (15W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-55KB||3.07 GHz (B+92%)@ 93°C||1.84 GHz (B+15%)@ 63°C||1.87 GHz (B+17%)@ 67°C|
|Intel Core i5-8250U (15W TDP)|
|ASUS VivoBook S15 S530||2.99 GHz (B+87%)@ 77°C||2.99 GHz (B+87%)@ 87°C||2.29 GHz (B+62%)@ 71°C|
There is an interesting trend we see lately. More specifically we are talking about Whiskey Lake equipped notebooks. Manufacturers are certainly having a bad time optimizing them since there is not a single temperature test where we found adequate results. Here, for example, we see a high enough frequency in the first segment. After that, however, the clock speeds drop to just 15% more than the base one. In comparison, the ASUS VivoBook S15 S530 is able to maintain more than 400 MHz at the end of the test and a whopping 1 GHz more in the serious task scenario.
On the bright side, the temperatures were very well controlled, so there is a lot of headroom for future updates.
|NVIDIA GeForce MX150||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)|
|ASUS VivoBook S15 S530||1591 MHz @ 74°C||1475 MHz @ 74°C|
|Acer Aspire (A515-52G)||1341 MHz (-16%) @ 74°C||1280 MHz (-13%) @ 74°C|
Looking at the GPU table we see an inability of the cooling system to maintain high clock speeds. While 74C seems to be a stable temperature, we see a 200 MHz deficit compared to the ASUS VivoBook S15 S530. In addition to that, once again the Aspire 5 (A515-52G) has vacuumed itself to the table thanks to the super loud fan.
The hottest point of the device remained well above the keyboard. However, the warmest point of the keyboard itself never exceeded 49C and the palmrest area was cool enough. No smell of burning fingers today, folks.
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) is a device we really wanted to like. Keeping in mind that its predecessor is what we can still point out as one of the best budget multimedia notebooks. Moreover, the A515-52G could easily be successful, if it wasn’t for some major disappointments. First, and probably the most prominent one, is battery life – the Aspire 5 (A515-51G) lasts twice as much as the A515-52G.
Not only that, but the notebook has a weird thermal management. The CPU can be pushed just for a short task before it drops down to just over the base clock speed. Secondly, the GPU comes far away from the competition in terms of frequencies, while maintaining the same temperature.
However, if we set the heavy duty work aside, Acer Aspire 5 (A515-52G) seems like a very good machine. It has a nice IPS display (BOE NV156FHM-N48) with an excellent contrast and lack of aggressive PWM in brightness adjustment. Still, it does fail to display around 50% of the colors in the sRGB color gamut.
When comparing it to what we consider a direct competitor – ASUS VivoBook S15 S530 (due to similar hardware and pricing), we saw some checkboxes left to be filled. Apart from the battery life we already mentioned, there is the lack of keyboard illumination and what appears as less durable design.
Too bad, Acer. You had a great foundation to build upon and that is exactly what played a trick on you. However, in our opinion the battery life issue can be addressed by future updates, so you can take this remark with a pinch of salt.
- Decent input devices
- An IPS display without aggressive PWM brightness adjustment (BOE NV156FHM-N48)
- Good price/performance ratio
- Light and compact 15-inch device
- Wobbly keyboard plastic
- No keyboard illumination
- Lags behind the competition in thermal management
- A huge downgrade in battery life, compared to its predecessor
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-52/