Intel recently declared its 8th gen Core CPUs to get laptopsand desktops, which have been highlighted in fresh launches at IFA 2017. Laptops according to these new CPUs have already begun trickling into the current market, also Acer is one of the first companies to begin selling them in India.

The Aspire 5 series has become the refresh rate, and Acer has established multiple SKUs with slight variations in terms of specifications, each of priced aggressively in about Rs. 50,000. The model on evaluation today is your Aspire 5 A515-515G-571Z, which has got the best configuration of this lot. Together with Intel’s new CPU, the laptop also boasts of Nvidia’s new budget-minded MX150 GPU, which makes this an extremely interesting multimedia solution in this price. Let us see exactly what you get to get money.

The Aspire 5 is designed keeping a mid-range budget in mind, therefore the majority of the body is constructed from plastic. The lower half, in which all of the components go, is nicely constructed and feels sturdy. The Aspire 5 is also quite slim for a 15.6-inch laptop, measuring approximately 20.95mm thick. On the flip side, it’s still heavy at 2.2kg, and so you will feel the heft in your backpack. The lid includes a striped design, which seems nice and does not bring in fingerprints. But it flexes quite easily and it does not provide much protection to the display, which could easily warp if you press on the lid. There is also noticeable warping across the left side of this display each time you close or open the lid.

Acer has fitted a full-HD display with this particular variant (although not on all), so text, menus and everything in general seems clear and sharp. The lid may also tilt all of the way back, to 180 degrees. The torsion of this hinge is great too so it is possible to use it in multiple angles without worrying. Colour reproduction is adequate, however, the worst part is that the viewing angles, which can be quite feeble. Horizontal viewing angles aren’t that bad but there is a really narrow sweet spot for your vertical angles.

The Aspire 5 includes a fantastic selection of ports. You receive a total of three full-sized USB ports (2 2.0 interfaces, one 3.0 interface), a Type-C jack (USB 3.1, Gen1), Ethernet, HDMI, an SD card slot, and a headphone and microphone combo socket. The laptop has a metallic plate to the palm rest area, which gives it slight premium feeling. This also means that there isn’t any bend round the keys, which is ordinarily true with plastic. You obtain a backlit, full-sized keyboard together with a number pad. We also discovered the trackpad to be generously proportioned.

At the bottom of the laptop, we’ve got a a great deal of vents to maintain decent air circulation. Additionally, there are two hatches for accessing the hard drive and RAM. This is extremely useful as it allows owners easily get these components without needing to go to a service center.

Design is most likely not the strongest suit of this Aspire 5 but its specifications are what is really interesting here. It matches Intel’s new Core i5-8250U CPU, depending on the Kaby Lake Refresh architecture. It still employs the identical 14nm fabrication procedure but the amount of cores has doubled from two to four, which means you finally get eight processing threads. This by itself should provide a sizeable increase in performance. There is also 4GB of DDR4 RAM plus a 1TB hard drive. You are able to add more RAM thanks to this empty accessible slot.

The latter component was recently declared by Nvidia, and replenishes the ageing GeForce 940MX. It’s predicated upon the newer 14nm Pascal graphics architecture and should significantly improve performance even though the CUDA core count remains the same.

Additional specifications includes Bluetooth 4, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, along with an HD webcam. The laptop ships with Windows 10 Home and you also receive the complete version of Microsoft’s Home and Student 2016 edition with this particular variant.

There is also a 30-day subscription to Norton Security. Besides this, you get Acer’s standard suite of bundled software like Acer Collection, which curates programs out of the Windows Store; Care Centre which makes it possible to keep your drivers up to date; Quick accessibility which enables you to toggle the blue light filter; and Portal to help you install your very own private cloud. There are loads of other programs from the Windows Store that ship with all the laptop too, but it is possible to uninstall nearly all of them if not required.

The Aspire 5 includes a fantastic pair of specifications but it’s tough to tell with routine usage. With programs like the Chrome browser running, you are left with hardly 1GB of free RAM, which induces a good deal of lag. 8GB of RAM could have been a far better idea. Regrettably, all of the variants which Acer provides with 8GB have something else missing, like Windows or the full-HD display. At least you may include more RAM yourself.

The Aspire 5 plays well in benchmarks, and in certain multi-threaded evaluations, it manages to outperform Intel’s higher-end 7th gen CPUs. POVRay finished in 4 minutes and two minutes, while we obtained 3044 and 3578 points in PCMark 8, which can be great scores to get an i5 U-series CPU. The hard drive also achieved well in SiSoft Sandra’s physical disk evaluations, where we have a drive score of 200MB/s. The Aspire 5 does a good job when gaming in the native resolution if you fall graphics settings down to either Low or Medium for playable framerates, depending upon the match. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, we averaged only 15fps with Medium settings, at 1080p using the built-in standard. Actual gameplay has been better as the match hovered round the 20fps mark. In 3DMark Firestrike, we have a score of 3238 points.

If gaming, the exhaust fan is audible and secrets round the WSAD area have a tendency to have a bit warm. The noise from the fan isn’t too distracting if you are all on your own. The Aspire 5 easily manages 4K video without any difficulty. Acer also has a dynamic contrast modification system named Colour Intelligence, which is helpful for animated movies but otherwise is best left switched off. The keyboard has great travel for typing as well as the keys are not too noisy. We like the way the trackpad is generously proportioned, and button presses do not require too much work.

The stereo speakers are set on either side, at the bottom. They make fairly loud at full volume and sound best when the laptop is put on a solid surface so that noise can reflect off it. Acer promises up to seven hours of battery life in the 4-cell battery however we were able to have about five-and-a-half to six hours, which is about typical.

Verdict
Acer delivers a solid foundation to get a mid-range multimedia laptop in the Aspire 5. The competent CPU and GPU, comfortable computer keyboard, and user-upgradable RAM and storage making it great price. However, you ought to be careful when shopping since there are lots of variants of this Aspire 5, all priced in the array of Rs. For instance, the A515-515G-571Z model that we analyzed isn’t available with 8GB of RAM so if you that pre-installed then you are going to need to forego either the full-HD display or Windows.

We wish the display had improved viewing angles, and we’d have liked a sturdier lid. The default option 4GB of RAM and mechanical hard drive actually cripple Windows performance, so if you are planning on getting this one, then it’s advisable to invest in a different stick of RAM.

51,500

Experts

Great multimedia performance
Great value for money
User accessible RAM and storage
Cozy keyboard
Disadvantages

4GB of RAM simplifies use
Display has feeble viewing angles
Lid flexes
Heavy