Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G) review – the cooling has gotten a LOT better

If 17-inch laptops are your vibe, you are at the right place. We have recently had a run of large notebooks, and we ran it through the LaptopMedia treatment of tests. Some of the results were expected, while others were impressive.

Nevertheless, the best thing we have seen is that you have a wide variety of choices, for pretty much every budget. And you can almost never go wrong. On the other hand, we might be seeing the last days of 17-inch computers. The market was flooded with 16-inch devices, while 18-inch monsters are just around the corner, as we have seen at CES 2023.

Regardless of that, let’s focus on the laptop in hand for today – the Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G). As you can imagine, the “G” in its name means that it has a dedicated graphics card. This equals either the NVIDIA GeForce MX550 or the RTX 2050.

Powering the notebook is a capable chip from the Alder Lake processor family. You can pick from the U-series, or the P-series with the former being paired with the smaller MX550, and the latter featuring the RTX 2050.

What we are most excited about is comparing this machine with its predecessor. The rumor says that 2022’s Aspire 5 has greatly improved cooling, so let’s not waste any more time, and get right into the action.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a517-53-a517-53g/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53 / A517-53G) - Specs

  • BOE NV173FHM-N49 (BOE084E)
  • Color accuracy  5.0  4.1
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4 + 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, No OS
  • Battery
  • 50Wh, 3-cell, 50.3Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 402.1 x 257.9 x 19.9 mm (15.83" x 10.15" x 0.78")
  • Weight
  • 2.20 kg (4.9 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 3x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

All Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53 / A517-53G) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found some paperwork and a 65W barrel-style charger.


Design and construction

Hey, Acer has done a great job with the chassis of their new laptop. It is about 400 grams lighter than its predecessor while retaining the same 19.9mm profile.

The lid is still made out of aluminum, while the base is plastic. Well, we got some flex from both the lid, and the base, but the situation was slightly better with the lid.

Speaking of which, you can’t open it with a single hand. On the bright side, it lifts the backside of the base once you tilt it. Above the matte panel, you will find the HD Web camera.

Moving to the base, we got a backlit unit with decent key travel and clicky feedback, which is not too loud. We can comfortably say that the keyboard is… well, comfortable.

In terms of the touchpad, we get a considerably larger unit. It features a somewhat smooth surface, accurate tracking, and a fingerprint reader. Not only does it work fast, but it won’t obstruct the normal work of the touchpad.

Lastly, if you turn the laptop upside down, you will notice the two speaker cutouts, placed in their orthodox locations. The ventilation grill is also larger than last year, as is the heat exhaust on the back of 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

To get inside this device, you need to undo 14 Phillips-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, and lift it away from the chassis.

Here, we find a 50.3Wh battery pack, which lasts for 11 hours and 30 minutes of Web browsing, or 7 hours of video playback. Taking it out is pretty easy. Just unplug the connector from the motherboard, and undo the two Phillips-head screws keeping the battery in place.

This laptop features two SODIMM slots for DDR4 memory, which can work in dual-channel mode. Storage-wise, there are also two slots of M.2 PCIe x4 type. One of them supports Gen 4 SSDs, while the other is limited to Gen 3.

There are two heat pipes shared between the CPU and the GPU. In addition, you get a large heat sink, two fans, and some heat spreaders over the graphics memory.


Display quality

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G) is equipped with a Full HD IPS screen, model number BOE NV173FHM-N49 (BOE084E). Its diagonal is 17.3″ (43.94 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 127 ppi, and their pitch – 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 69 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are comfortable. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 287 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 266 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 13%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6830K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.

In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 48% Brightness (White level = 139 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 good – 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 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 (A517-53G)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 52% 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 in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

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 = 18 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.


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 (A517-53G)’s display doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. This makes it comfortable for long working periods, without being harmful to 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.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 50.0 GU).


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 (A517-53G) configurations with 17.3″ BOE NV173FHM-N49 (BOE084E) (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

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 (A517-53G)’s speakers produce a sound of good quality, but low maximum volume. In addition, the low, mid, and high tones all have deviations from clarity.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/us-en/support?search=A517-53G&filter=global_download&suggest=aspire%205%20a517-53;0

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. This laptop comes with a 50.3Wh battery pack. It lasts for 11 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, or 6 hours and 47 minutes of 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 50.3Wh, 3-cell

CPU options

We were able to find the device with a Core i5-1235U, Core i7-1255U, or Core i5-1240P.


GPU options

From a graphics standpoint, you get to choose between the integrated GPU, the GeForce MX550, and the RTX 2050.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 186 fps 141 fps 123 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 106 fps 88 fps 75 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 i7-1255U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G) 3.43 GHz @ 2.61 GHz @ 64°C @ 46W 3.21 GHz @ 2.49 GHz @ 68°C @ 41W 2.68 GHz @ 2.18 GHz @ 62°C @ 28W
HP Spectre x360 14 (14-ef0000) 3.55 GHz @ 2.74 GHz @ 88°C @ 43W 3.20 GHz @ 2.50 GHz @ 90°C @ 35W 3.03 GHz @ 2.42 GHz @ 90°C @ 32W
HP EliteBook 860 G9 3.23 GHz @ 2.57 GHz @ 85°C @ 41W 3.09 GHz @ 2.46 GHz @ 86°C @ 38W 1.82 GHz @ 1.58 GHz @ 57°C @ 16W
HP 15 (15-dw4000) 3.19 GHz @ 2.42 GHz @ 69°C @ 40W 1.90 GHz @ 1.49 GHz @ 57°C @ 17W 1.91 GHz @ 1.49 GHz @ 56°C @ 17W
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 4 3.44 GHz @ 2.63 GHz @ 78°C @ 43W 2.98 GHz @ 2.24 GHz @ 75°C @ 36W 2.15 GHz @ 1.57 GHz @ 70°C @ 23W
MSI Modern 15 (B12M) 3.63 GHz @ 2.68 GHz @ 78°C @ 44W 3.63 GHz @ 2.65 GHz @ 86°C @ 44W 3.26 GHz @ 2.40 GHz @ 85°C @ 35W

This test shows that the Aspire 5 (A517-53G) is equipped with a beast cooling setup. It manages to run at relatively high clocks, pegged at 28W for long periods of time, and at only 62°C.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce MX550 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max fan)
Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G) 1530 MHz @ 62°C @ 30W 1517 MHz @ 65°C @ 30W
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro (14″, 2022) 1260 MHz @ 69°C @ 28W 1260 MHz @ 72°C @ 28W
HP Pavilion Plus 14 (14-eh0000) 1441 MHz @ 74°C @ 30W 1436 MHz @ 74°C @ 30W
HP 15 (15-dw4000) 1309 MHz @ 73°C @ 30W 300 MHz @ 55°C @ 16W
Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 1245 MHz @ 73°C @ 30W 1277 MHz @ 77°C @ 30W
Dell Latitude 15 5531 1517 MHz @ 74°C @ 35W 1529 MHz @ 75°C @ 35W

The same can be said about the graphics performance, which is fantastic. The 30W TGP was no problem at all, with the maximum temperature we monitored at the end being 65°C.

Gaming comfort

Yes, after more than 30 minutes of gaming, the laptop’s keyboard will reach about 40°C, while the two fans can be heard running. However, it is nowhere near uncomfortable.


Verdict

Last year, the Aspire 5 (A517-52G) was one of the good 17-inch laptops on the market. However, this year, Acer raised the bar with the inclusion of Thunderbolt 4, two RAM SODIMM slots, and providing one more M.2 PCIe x4 slot for storage.

One big change was also the loss of 400 grams from the overall weight of the product. This made the machine stop the scales at 2.20 kilos – a point, previously reserved for 15-inch devices.

With that said, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (17″, 2022) is even lighter at 2.04 kg. What makes the Aspire 5 superior is the presence of a dedicated GPU. Our configuration is equipped with the MX550, which was no match for the brand-new cooling solution. Acer added one more heat pipe, and one more fan, which helps the device completely obliterate its predecessor when it comes to cooling capacity.

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-53G)’s 17-inch IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t use PWM, which is great. On the other hand, it covers only half of the colors found on the Web (52% of sRGB).

On the bright side, we are left really happy with the keyboard and the touchpad. By the way, the latter features a fingerprint reader, which is fast, accurate, and doesn’t obstruct the work of the touchpad.

Generally, the port selection is good, with the exception of the lack of an SD card reader. And just like that, Acer made one of the best 17-inchers for the money.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-aspire-5-a517-53-a517-53g/

Pros

  • 2x SODIMM, 2x M.2 PCIe x4 (one Gen 4)
  • Great cooling and performance
  • Comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio
  • No PWM
  • Light chassis
  • Thunderbolt 4 + fingerprint reader


Cons

  • Covers only 52% of the sRGB gamut
  • No SD card reader

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