Top positive review
Quick, lightweight, multi-functional
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 28, 2022
After several months of using this Acer Aspire A515-45 laptop, I gotta say it's been an amazing experience. For under $500, you get a really fast, extremely lightweight, and ultra portable laptop.
Right out of the box and after the setup, this laptop opens everything insanely quick with the help of the SSD that comes with it. I'm coming from another Acer Aspire laptop from a few years ago that had a standard HD so this is a very nice boost, although the big downside is the not-so-big capacity of the hard drive. At only 256gb (which is normal for laptop SSDs I guess), it can't hold much. Thankfully it comes with a hard drive expansion kit, though it can be a little confusing to use. The possibility is there, but you can also get an external hard drive for that extra space. Even after using more than half of the given hard drive space, this thing still hasn't slowed down and that's one of the things I'm really liking about this laptop.
While we're still on the topic of speed, the new Ryzen processor on this laptop is pretty quick too. Equipped with a Ryzen 5 5500U quad core processor, it's a huge boost from the old duo core processor I had on my previous laptop. Though it can't run games like Fortnite on high or max settings at a consistent 60 fps, bumping down some graphics and sacrificing some quality features on Fortnite would help you achieve the near-consistent 60 fps that would help you get those victory royales. The 8 GB ram that comes with this laptop is also nice and should be a standard among all laptops nowadays. I haven't opened the laptop yet to see if there are any open additional expansion slots like my previous Acer laptop, but if there are it would be an even bigger plus.
The keyboard on this Aspire 5 feels great. Typing feels amazing, somewhat comparable to a Macbook and with the grey and black color scheme of this laptop, it even looks kind of like one. The sleek texture of the laptop is satisfying to have your palm rest on while you're typing up a storm.
The picture quality is what you'd expect from a laptop in 2022; clear picture, sharp images, great pixels, and all those good stuff. Sound on the other hand though is not so great on this Acer Aspire 5. No matter what position I have it on; laying flat, screen side down with the speakers facing me, elevated a little bit from the surface, the sound isn't something to be proud of. It feels a little muffled and even pumping the volume to 100%, increasing everything I can to 100%, the sound is still very weak which is a shame because it makes me resort to using my bluetooth devices to get better sound quality.
Speaking of sound quality, I've tried to use my AudioTechnica 2020USB+ microphone on this laptop for work, but at first without knowing, I pluggged it into a USB 3.0 port on the left side and not knowing, the recording quality was very VERY bad. It wasn't until after playback that I discovered the microphone was incompatible (along with my other microphones) with the USB 3.0 side. Not sure if it's just my laptop, but thankfully there's a USB 2.0 port on the right side that works just fine. It took a few days of troubleshooting with Realtek HD audio (which was what I used on my old laptop) to get the sound quality back to standard.
Let's talk more about the ports on this laptop. There's 1 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port (which apparently is rare nowadays on laptops? I know of some people who don't have HDMI ports on them). There's a USB-C port and an ethernet port if you're into being hardwired to your internet. There's also a tiny port that looks like micro HDMI (is that a thing?) or something looks similar to USB-C but a little smaller.
I think the last thing to cover before I talk bad about this laptop is the battery which has an amazing life from the beginning. I've been able to do some work and play video games for a good 4ish hours before it asks to be plugged in. On normal usage where you're just browsing or working or not using really process-heavy tasks, you could probably get 7-8 hours on this on a single charge. Charging this laptop is also pretty quick taking 2-3 hours to get it back to full.
Also something that's nice that the laptop came with was a webcam privacy protector! And it didn't have just one, but two protectors! Simply take it out of the tiny bag it came in and stick in on where the webcam is and you can slide it to cover the webcam and block out any FBI people watching you browse TikTok.
Some qualms I have about this laptop are the function key shortcuts. First of all, by default the function keys are disabled (or enabled, whichever makes it so you have to do extra steps to use them). This means you have to start up your laptop and go to the system menu and enable (or disable) the function keys to make them work as they should. Not sure why this was set as a default, but they're there and they're really useful for everything that you do from lowering and turning down brightness, volume control, and putting the laptop to sleep among other functions. Another (personal) problem I have with the volume control is that on my previous laptop, the volume control function keys were on the arrow which makes sense because if you want the volume up or down, you hold the fn key and press up or down on the arrow! On this laptop, it got moved to the F11 and F10 key respectively. Instead, the arrow keys have the pause/play for up and stop for down and the left arrow has back while the right arrow has forward. One last thing about the function key is that while the placement for the brightness makes sense sort of where raising brightness (F4) is to the right of lowering brightness (F3), the icons on those keys don't make sense! The brightness icons both have a sun, but one is empty in the middle. You'd think that means the brightness is getting lowered as opposed to the icon with the filled in sun, but nope, F3 with the filled in sun means lowering your brightness. Who'd have thought? One last complaint I have about this laptop is the lack of an SD card reader. Maybe this laptop isn't geared towards people who use SD cards often, but my old Acer laptop that costed under $350 at the time I bought it had pretty much all of what this laptop has and an SD card reader on top of it. Would be nice but not detrimental because I know not many people rely on it, but I figure it's not hard to add since it can go in front of the laptop where your left wrist is. Also, while it is good the laptop came with a hard drive upgrade kit with screws and drive holder, taking out the underside of this laptop was a pain compared to my previous laptop. This one has ELEVEN screws you NEED to take out in order to access the inside. This is a lot compared to the only THREE screws needed for my previous Acer laptop. Needless to say, this was a huge time sink especially when all the screws were so tight that it took more than a minute to unscrew them.
All miniscule complaints aside, this is a great laptop in its price bracket. If you're looking for a really lightweight and quick work station on the go, this laptop is pretty good and I'd recommend this one. It took me a few days of comparing other laptops and this one was my choice.