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Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) review

Acer is looking to supercharge its Aspire 5, and boost its chances against the IdeaPad 5s and the Vivobooks of the world. It is paired with a 12th Gen ULV processor by Intel. This could take on the Zen 3-equipped everyday notebooks out there.

However, there is something else about the machine. Recently, NVIDIA released the RTX 2050 – its most affordable ray-tracing capable mobile graphics card. And it can be found in the G-version of this device.

Unfortunately, there was no such device in the store in our area, so we had to settle for a non-G model. Nevertheless, it has an extremely low price. Another very impressive option is the 1440p IPS panel. It is great to see that even with their low-to-medium budget notebooks, Acer omits the 768p panel in favor of a far more superior one.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-57/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57) review - Specs

  • BOE NV156FHM-N48
  • Color accuracy  4.2  3.9
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 512GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 + 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, No OS
  • Battery
  • 50Wh, 56Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 362.9 x 237.8 x 17.9 mm (14.29" x 9.36" x 0.70")
  • Weight
  • 1.77 kg (3.9 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 3x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • 2x Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, there is the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 65W power adapter.

Design and construction

Looking at the appearance, there has been a slight change from last year’s model. It is mainly found in the portion of the lower lid area, and the vents at the top of the base. Interestingly, the machine seems to have gained some weight, as it went to 1.77 kg, up from the 1.66 kilos of yesteryear.

Still, the lid is made out of aluminum, while the base is plastic. Both have some flex when twisted, but it’s never too much to feel uncomfortable.

Thankfully, you will be able to open the lid with a single hand. It exposes a matte display, surrounded by thin side bezels, and a bit thicker bottom and top borders. As usual, there is an HD Web camera up top, but there’s no sign of a privacy shutter. On the other hand, the lid acts as a lever and lifts the backside of the base gently up from the ground, thus providing more airflow and a slightly better typing comfort.

Then comes the base. It houses a clean-looking keyboard, with a backlight and a NumPad section. We were pleasantly surprised by the decent key travel, and clicky feedback. The single unfortunate thing about this keyboard is the size of the “Up” and “Down” Arrow keys.

Now, look at that! This little devil sports a fingerprint reader. It is embedded into the surface of the touchpad, and to our surprise, doesn’t interfere with the touch sensitivity of the area around it. This is great, especially since the touchpad is pretty comfortable to use too.

Turn the laptop upside down, and you will see the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill. This is not the only access point for the fans to breathe, as they draw even more air through the keyboard. Respectively, the hot air is being exhausted through a pretty long vent in between the lid and the base.

Ports

On the left side, there is the charging plug, a LAN port, an HDMI 2.1 connector, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, and a Thunderbolt 4 connector. And on the right, you will find a Kensington lock slot, as well as another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

There are 10 Phillips-head screws you need to undo, to access this laptop’s internals. After that, pry the panel with a plastic tool and lift it away from the chassis.

Inside, we see a 50Wh battery pack. It lasts for more than 9 hours of Web browsing, or about 7 hours and 30 minutes of video playback. Unplug the battery connector, and undo the two Phillips-head screws that hold it in place.

Memory-wise, there are two SODIMM slots, which fit 32GB of DDR4 RAM in total. As for the storage, you get two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, one of which supports Gen 4 drives.

The cooling system here looks very simple but effective. There are two heat pipes connecting to a long heat sink, where two fans blow the heat away.

Display quality

Acer Aspire 5 (515-57) has a Full HD IPS panel with a model number BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0A56). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 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 comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The measured maximum brightness of 287 nits in the middle of the screen and 265 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 16%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6770K – slightly colder, 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 good – 1400:1.

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 on 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 (515-57)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 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 (515-57) 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 = 28 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

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 (515-57)’s display doesn’t use PWM at any brightness level. This makes it comfortable and safe 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.

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 (515-57) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0A56).

*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

Acer Aspire 5 (515-57)’s speakers produce a sound of good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/9263?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the 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. The 50Wh battery inside of this device lasts for 9 hours and 22 minutes of Web browsing, or 7 hours and 28 minutes of video playback.

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

CPU options

This notebook can be found with the Core i3-1215U, Core i5-1235U, or (supposedly) the Core i7-1255U.

GPU options

Our unit is the one only equipped with an integrated graphics card. However, the G-version of the model features up to an RTX 2050.

Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GOHD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings)HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS129 fps93 fps55 fps

DOTA 2HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS136 fps84 fps44 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 P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i3-1215U (15W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-57)3.99 GHz @ 3.09 GHz @ 78°C @ 55W3.09 GHz @ 2.45 GHz @ 67°C @ 34W2.84 GHz @ 2.33 GHz @ 63°C @ 28W

It is impressive to see that Core i3-1215U’s P-cores can reach almost 4.00 GHz at short bursts. Also, the sustained 28W power output is indicative of a good cooling solution, especially when the average Core temperature is only 63°C.

Comfort during full load

This is achieved with minimal fan noise and a maximum keyboard temperature of 37.7°C.

Verdict

Acer did a good job with the cooling of this laptop. Indeed, it might be an overkill for the Core i3 model, like ours, but you have to keep in mind that Intel’s 12th Gen is really capable if you provide it with the right cooling.

Also, another key factor in the performance (this time the graphics one), is the memory. Our unit came with only 8GB of single-channel RAM, and we were swift to upgrade it to 16GB in dual-channel. This way, the laptop is really good for light games such as CS:GO and DOTA 2 at pretty high graphics settings.

In addition to the two memory slots, which fit up to 32GB of RAM in total, by the way, you get two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage expansion. One of them even has support for Gen 4 drives.

Acer Aspire 5 (515-57)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, a good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Its only downside is the limited color coverage of 51% of sRGB.

While we’re here, we can’t pass up the opportunity to praise Acer for the 1440p IPS panel option. We look forward to this becoming the new norm in everyday notebooks.

Thus far, the Aspire 5 seems like a good deal, with pretty much no real disadvantages. Quite amusingly, we find it hard to speak (or write) a bad word about it. The keyboard is great, its touchpad is awesome, and even the fingerprint reader doesn’t interfere with the otherwise large footprint of the touchpad.

In addition to the plethora of internal ports, you get quite a good choice of external ones too. For example, the HDMI connector is 2.1, while all three USB Type-A ports run at 3.2 (Gen. 1) speeds, which is a huge contrast to last year’s model. And you know what? There is a Thunderbolt 4 connector as well.

So, if you want a good laptop suitable for your everyday needs, and coming with an appetizing price tag, the Aspire 5 (A515-57) is a very viable choice. Keep in mind that even the Core i3-1215U has more than enough power for your needs.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a515-57/

Pros

  • Thin and light design
  • Alder Lake-U CPUs
  • Thunderbolt 4 + Wi-Fi 6
  • Touchpad + great input devices
  • Capable cooling
  • 2x SODIMM + 2x M.2 PCIe x4 (one supports Gen 4 drives)
  • Good battery life
  • Doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0A56))


Cons

  • No SD card reader
  • 51% sRGB coverage (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0A56))