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Acer Aspire 5551 - Performance, Battery Life & Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


At the heart of the Aspire 5551 beats AMD's latest 35W tri-core mobile CPU, the Phenom II X3 N830. Its clock speed ranges between 1.8 to 2.1GHz depending on load, and it sports 512KB L2 cache per core. It is cleverly positioned to fill a perceived gap in Intel's line-up: that of a mobile processor with more than two physical cores at a relatively 'budget' price point. However, we have to wonder whether the extra core and its concomitant power draw are worth it for the average consumer, who is unlikely to run many heavily multi-threaded applications on the laptops the N830 is liable to find itself in. Still, it's impressive that AMD has added an extra core without raising the wattage from its previous dual-core offerings.

Acer Aspire 5551 system performance

In our PC Mark Vantage runs the Aspire 5551's N830 was consistently beaten by the previous-generation 2.5GHz, dual-core AMD Turion II Ultra M620 found in the cheaper HP Pavilion dv6-2113sa (logical considering the M620's higher clock speed), while the Core i5 found in the more expensive Aspire TimelineX 4820TG simply wipes the floor with it. If you run multi-threaded applications that will truly take advantage of the third core then this might be the mobile CPU for you, but for most people's use the N830 will be outperformed by cheaper dual-core alternatives.

Unfortunately things don't improve when we get to the graphics. The Mobility Radeon HD 4250, with its miserly 256MB of RAM, is certainly no gaming card - as you can see below.

Acer Aspire 5551 gaming performance

In fact it's not that much more impressive than Intel's integrated graphics efforts, in that it too won't allow you to play even basic 3D games like TrackMania Nations Forever at decent settings. Still, it does a good job of video acceleration and processing, taking that load off the CPU.

Battery life from the Aspire 5551's 4,400mAh/48Wh lithium unit is reasonable, and it's good to see that, in the intensive DVD test at least, this Aspire isn't suffering from its processor's extra core.

Acer Aspire 551 battery life

In fact, in the Productivity test this Aspire held up better than many similar laptops with older dual-core AMD processors, managing a full 3hrs and 21mins. However, raw horsepower is not the only benchmark where the 4820TG's Core i5 wins the day, as battery life is also significantly better.

This brings us neatly onto our value considerations, where unfortunately the new Aspire 5551 doesn't hold up too well unless you really need its CPU's third core. If you can afford an extra £150, the lighter Aspire TimelineX 4820TG is well worth the larger outlay, offering better build quality, battery life and general performance in applications and games. If you're on a limited budget, the award-winning HP Pavilion dv6-2113sa is a better bet at just £540, with its lesser battery life offset by more connectivity and features (including ExpressCard, Firewire and Bluetooth), a larger hard drive and better performance. If battery life is a prime consideration, Dell offers an Inspiron with a Core i3 CPU and Radeon HD 5450 graphics with Bluetooth for £550, while upping this to £630 will get you a Core i5-based Studio 15 with a Radeon HD 5470 and larger 500GB hard drive.


While the new N830 Phenom II X3 mobile processor doesn't use more power than previous dual-core AMD chips, its performance isn't stellar unless you really need more than two cores. Lacking any other distinguishing features, this version of the Acer Aspire 5551 thus feels like a cheaper laptop than it actually is and, until its price comes down, there are many more attractive options readily available - even from Acer itself.


July 30, 2010, 7:22 pm

I havve just bought acer 5551 from currys digital with excellent service. i am ver pleased with it as one of the main reasons was to store and play classical music.Audio Reproduction is excellent. It is a pleasure watching missed programs on iplayer. I recommend.

simon 23

August 13, 2010, 4:26 am

i bought this laptop from pcworld about 1 month ago and... i just love it the design the features ram processor sound everything jst is wow only one defect synaptics drivers do not like other mouses plugged in so i had about 3 hours of kicking the computer for my mum to press fn f7 to fix it so if u want to install a usb mouse dnt bt apart from tht i wud recommend it to anyone and hope they love it as much as i do

simon 23

August 13, 2010, 4:37 am

also to add to my last comment i forgot to say that this review is quite an under statement there was alot of camparing rather than looking at the computer itself and it deserved a little better than it got


August 13, 2010, 7:35 pm

Bought from Argos for £399 and it is amazing!! can play games like Spore or The Sims really well! :) battery life is brilliant too :) but i am disappointed with the speakers :/ but i had to change the EQ and the settings to get it okay..... but overall amazing! :)


September 28, 2010, 11:21 am

I bought the acer aspire 5551 about a week back, the only problem i have with it is when i plug in any flash drive, it doesn't show the content of the flash, the only thing it show are shortcuts of the content. Can anyone please help me with this problem?


September 13, 2013, 3:09 pm

amazing laptop. Running 7 on it and it plays many of my games and software with no issues.


October 25, 2013, 6:01 am

does it play battlefield 3


October 27, 2013, 9:16 pm

Do you still aprove?


November 8, 2013, 12:48 am

CRAP laptop, apparently it has a faulty chip in the mother board that was a know manufacture effect...yet never was recalled. will last a max 3 years.


January 9, 2014, 5:23 am

this laptop was good once. iv had it for 3 years and 3 months.and its on its deathbed but still keeps going. processor is good and has room to take more ram and it has taken a hell of a bashing with case cracked and stuff and the keyboard doesnt work with keys missing too.. there is a fault that seems to make the laptop cut out randomly sometimes. but there is one major problem with it! the GPU is absolutely god awful. i cant even run any games from 2008 period unless they at low - mid graphics. few years ago was a good buy but now most basic laptops will pretty much be on par if not outperform it.

John Colborne

January 5, 2015, 9:44 pm

not true. I have had mine now for over 4 years. no issues. still have all original hardware.

Christine Ó Cheallaigh

March 17, 2015, 12:22 pm

That explains a lot. I bought mine in 2011 and it gave out on me in 2013, I have no idea what happened to it, it just quit working. It would come on but would not go past the diagnostics screen, I ran everything I could think of on it and nothing worked, it would not go to start screen at all and finally just quit powering on. I had to eventually buy a new laptop because my Acer had totally died. Now I own a Toshiba Satellite that I bought in August 2013 and have had no complaints yet.

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