Acer Aspire 5 review

An affordable laptop that doesn’t feel budget

We take a look at what the Acer Aspire 5 laptop can do.
Acer Aspire 5

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Here’s how the Acer Aspire 5 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 3,770; Fire Strike: 1,042; Time Spy: 353
Cinebench CPU: 295 points; Graphics: 33.49 fps
GeekBench 4: 4177 (single-core); 13986 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2443 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 6 hours and 48 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 8 hours and 26 minutes

Acer bills the Aspire 5 as a laptop for day-to-day tasks, and for the most part it succeeds at these. The solid state drive (SSD) keeps Windows 10 feeling pretty fast, while the 8GB of RAM and quad-core Intel Core i7 8550U processor help with multi-tasking. For general Windows desktop applications, the Aspire 5 does a fine job – it doesn’t feel quite as nippy as more expensive laptops, but for regular use it’s absolutely fine.

As we just mentioned, the SSD in the model we tested helps to keep things running quickly, so if your budget allows we'd recommend going for a model with an SSD installed – and preferably with an additional standard hard drive as well. This is because the 256GB SSD our Aspire 5 came with was already pretty full without us installing much on it – you may find that you need to invest in an external hard drive to make room for your apps and media.

Acer Aspire 5

Acer bills the Aspire 5 as a laptop for day-to-day tasks.

The IPS screen is decent, if a little washed-out, with contrast not being quite as strong as we’ve seen on other laptops. However, the Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen is welcome, making movies and photos look a lot better than on laptops with lower resolutions, and Acer has included its Color Intelligence technology, which it claims dynamically adjusts gamma and saturation in real time to make the screen look the best it can.

To be honest, we didn’t see much of a difference, and again for standard day-to-day tasks the screen will be fine, especially with that Full HD resolution; however, if you want to edit photos or videos, you may want to look at an alternative machine.

And if you’re a gamer then you should definitely look elsewhere, as while the integrated Intel 620 UHD graphics will handle photos and videos, and maybe a undemanding indie game or two, for the most part modern games won’t run well on this laptop – although, of course, that’s not what it’s been built for.

Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 lasted six hours and 48 minutes using the PCMark 8 battery test.

Battery life

Battery life was pretty impressive, with the Acer Aspire 5 lasting six hours and 48 minutes using the PCMark 8 battery test, which replicates medium to heavy use. If you dim the display a bit (we had it set to full brightness), and keep to light web-browsing and less strenuous tasks, you could eke out even longer life.

It at least means that you should get through most of a work day on a full charge, which compared to some laptops is really good, and a sign that the more power-efficient processor is paying off. In our own day-to-day use we found that the battery did a good job of letting us work on the Aspire 5 for most of the day.

The battery does take a while to charge, however – specifically three hours to get back to full capacity.

Acer Aspire 5

If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop that won’t cost the earth, then the Acer Aspire 5 is a great choice.

We liked

The Acer Aspire 5 has a nice design and good build quality – apart from the slightly loose-feeling touchpad. The large range of ports is welcome, and makes this a versatile laptop for using with a number of peripherals, and battery life is very good. It also remained cool and quiet during our tests.

For the price, you’ll feel like you’ve got your money’s worth with the Aspire 5, including some up-to-date components.

We didn’t like

The touchpad doesn’t feel as satisfying to use as those found on other laptops, and it’s an unfortunate reminder that this is not a premium device. 

The screen is also a little washed-out for our tastes, with contrast not as high as we'd have liked.

Final verdict

If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop that won’t cost the earth, but which isn’t compromised with cheap build quality and out-of-date components, then the Acer Aspire 5 is a great choice.

The range of configurations available means there’s a good chance you’ll find an Aspire 5 model that suits your needs and budget – while the model we tested wasn’t too capable when it came to graphical oomph, there are options to get an Aspire 5 with a dedicated graphics card.

Battery life was particularly good, so if you want an inexpensive laptop that can dependably handle day-to-day tasks without needing to be constantly plugged into a power socket, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth considering.

However, if you like your laptops to, well, aspire to something more, such as being able to run modern games or cope with heavy-duty image and video editing, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.