I’ve met many an Acer Aspire 5 in my day. They’ve ranged from excellent to not excellent and all the pieces in between. So I used to be excited to check the most recent twelfth Gen Core i5 Aspire to see the place it fell on that spectrum. I spent a day, morning to nighttime, utilizing it for each job. And, like many issues, it ended up falling someplace within the center.
This 12 months’s Aspire 5 shows some welcome enhancements over earlier iterations I’ve examined and some bonus options that you just don’t all the time see at this worth level. It additionally has a few noteworthy compromises. The day, general, was decidedly… okay, with some points.
One be aware earlier than we soar in: my 15.6-inch check unit, which additionally consists of 16GB of reminiscence and 512GB of storage, has an MSRP of $699. I’m seeing it bought out in all places I look as of this writing. I’ve on good authority that it’s typically priced all the way down to $599 when it’s in inventory, and I’m additionally seeing an analogous mannequin with a barely upgraded Core i7 processor presently priced at $599 at B&H. I’ll be contemplating this mannequin’s worth to be $699 for the needs of this assessment since that’s what Acer gave me — however $599 is presently the place some comparable fashions could be discovered.
I opened up the laptop computer, absolutely charged, at 9AM. The very first thing I seen was that the chassis was nicer than I’d anticipated. Earlier Aspire 5 fashions have had a boring laptop-cart look to them, however this one has a strong magnesium-aluminum lid with a little bit of a shine to it. It seems to be a bit like one thing you’d see on Acer’s costlier Swift 5 line. The keyboard deck has gotten sleeker as effectively (although it’s lacking the flowery accents you’d see on a Swift). And there’s a numpad — a little bit of a small numpad however a numpad nonetheless.
I had a video name very first thing within the morning, adopted by some music listening. That was my second impression of this Aspire 5 — the downward-firing audio system are unhealthy. The standard of the sound itself was clear and distortion-free, however the quantity was so low that I used to be having bother making out a few of what folks on my name have been saying, even at 100%.
I’m often dedicated to reviewing gadgets of their out-of-the-box settings, however it was clear right here that the audio system weren’t going to chop it for the complete day. So I ended up downloading a software program referred to as FX Sound that means that you can regulate EQ and apply different audio results. This solely took a couple of minutes, and it didn’t make the audio system sound nice, however it made a noticeable enchancment.
A lot of the remainder of the work day was spent doing numerous issues employed grown-ups do in Chrome. I jumped round between a dozen Chrome tabs, performing some writing, studying, spreadsheeting, and analysis. There was no slowdown from the Aspire 5 (which, with a Core i5-1235U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, actually shouldn’t be slowing down beneath any web-based workload). I do actually miss the AMD-powered Aspire 5s of years previous, which have been lightning quick, however this Intel configuration was definitely satisfactory. I heard on-and-off fan noise all through, however nothing that was a distraction.
My solely different be aware is that the fingerprint reader was considerably unreliable, typically stumbling on its first try and authenticate me earlier than letting me by way of on the second. (The actual fact that there’s a fingerprint reader in any respect is, after all, good.)
The true problem I bumped into was battery life. I began the day at 9AM, and the Aspire died round 12:45PM — after three hours and 45 minutes. That, for sure, is an period of time I don’t love. It’s a fair shorter lifespan than I noticed from the Aspire Vero, the final Aspire I reviewed in 2022, and it’s dwarfed by the lifespan of some eleventh Gen Intel price range laptops which you can presently get for lower than half of this worth, such because the Gateway 14 that I reviewed a couple of weeks in the past. It means I’d have to preserve this laptop computer plugged in for a strong chunk of on daily basis if I have been to make use of it as my day by day driver. The charger is pretty small and never an issue to hold, however continually needing to be close to a free outlet is only a entire additional factor to fret about once you’re out and about with a pc.
After work, I settled all the way down to compensate for the most recent season of Billions. (I’m nonetheless not carried out, so please don’t spoil it for me.) The 16:9 show (my least favourite side ratio, and one which has actually fallen out of vogue up to now few years) hadn’t been my favourite form to work on, feeling extra cramped for multitasking than the 16:10 and three:2 panels that I favor, however the huge berth is good for TV watching specifically.
Colours appeared alright to me on the 1920 x 1080 display (protecting simply 63 % of the sRGB gamut and 47 % of AdobeRGB), however it was pretty dim. I had it at near most brightness whereas watching TV indoors in my not-very-bright residence and wouldn’t even wish to try utilizing it outdoors. In testing, the machine reached a most of 246 nits, which is without doubt one of the lowest ranges of brightness I’ve seen from a laptop computer this 12 months.
A display that dim could be disqualifying for a thousand-dollar machine; on the Aspire’s $700 worth level, it’s one thing to be very conscious of. That goes, too, for the battery life, which I acknowledge isn’t everybody’s precedence.
Nonetheless, laptops, by nature, are usually not meant to reside indoors on desks. And I fear that whereas every of those two elements on their very own — the battery life and the brightness — could be sufficient to miss at a sub-$1,000 worth, in tandem, they considerably mitigate the portability and flexibility of this pc. That’s very true when you should purchase laptops at this worth level (and even cheaper) with an extended lifespan.
That places the Aspire 5 in an odd spot the place it doesn’t appear fairly inexpensive sufficient to be a strong price range choice and never glorious sufficient to compete with the most effective midrange Home windows machines. My suggestion, if you happen to’re on this package deal, is to see if you will discover a mannequin on sale for $500 or so.
For those who don’t wish to play that ready recreation, you’ll be able to presently discover Aspire Vero fashions priced effectively under the $500 mark — and so they supply a reasonably comparable package deal to this method, together with the identical processor. Those that can take care of a smaller display ought to try the Gateway 14 (the very blue, cow-spotted pc I’ve been recommending to anybody who will pay attention since I reviewed it). Those that could be down for Chrome OS may have an excellent 15-inch expertise with the similarly-priced Asus Chromebook CX5, which additionally supplies glorious battery life, higher audio, and a rock-solid chassis. It even has a numpad.