A decent everyday laptop, available for a low asking price.
- Attractive and solid design
- Decent connectivity
- Comfortable, comprehensive typing experience
- Limited performance
- Very basic display
- Review Price: £429
- 2.0GHz Intel Core i3-6006U
- 4GB DDR4 SDRAM
- 128GB SSD
- 15.6” Full HD display
- 2xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB 3.0, 1xHDMI, 1xEthernet, 1xSD Card Reader
What is the Acer Aspire 3 A315-51?
On paper at least, the 8th-generation Acer Aspire 3 laptop seems to offer quite a bit for its rather slender asking price. You get a well-sized 15.6-inch Windows 10 machine, packing a Full HD display and Intel Core i3 chipset. Not bad specs for a budget notebook. It’s certainly an option worth considering for students and families who want to get online without breaking the bank.
So does the latest wallet-friendly Aspire really offer strong value for money? Or should bargain-hunters look elsewhere?
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Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 – Design and build
For a budget laptop, the Aspire A315 is rather fetching. The attractive gunmetal grey chassis sports a textured finish, both on the lid and the interior. It’s a neat finish that compliments the durable construction nicely. Plenty of poking and prodding revealed no weak spots in that frame, although the lid does bend somewhat under duress. Thankfully, not to a worrying degree.
While this Acer machine isn’t as portable as some other budget rivals, including the company’s own Chromebook 14, I had no issues carrying it around in a backpack. That 15.6-inch frame is relatively slender and not too cumbersome at a shade over 2kg. I’d still recommend checking out some alternative notebooks if you want something to lug around every day, however.
Lining the edges, you’ll find a generous selection of ports. Three USB connections (including a single USB 3.0 port) mean there’s plenty of space for peripherals. There’s an HDMI connection and SD card reader, plus a neat little Ethernet port that flips open on demand.
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Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 – Keyboard and touchpad
One of the highlights of this budget laptop is the full-sized chiclet keyboard. This stretches across a fair chunk of the chassis, which means that each key is well sized and spaced. No crushed-up Enter or cursor keys to ruin your touch-typing experience. There’s even room for a proper numerical keypad, although I’d have preferred a bit of a gap between that and the rest of the board.
The typing action is impressively firm, even towards the centre of the keyboard. Combined with the not-too-shallow travel of each key, I found this a perfectly comfortable typing experience.
Drop your gaze to beneath the board and you’ll spy the touchpad, housed in the palm-rest as standard. This reasonably spacious pad is perfectly responsive and supports multi-touch gestures, for skimming through webpages, zooming into documents and the like.
However, the built-in clicky mouse buttons are a serious pain in the posterior. A left-click often sends the mouse cursor skidding across the screen, so you end up selecting something completely different. Of course, you can always just lightly tap the surface of the pad instead.
The touchpad is also positioned quite far to the left of the palm-rest, which isn’t ideal for right-handed users.
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Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 – Screen
The first indication that this is indeed a budget laptop is that 15.6-inch display. ‘See everything in vivid detail from a superb HD display’ screams the marketing blurb. Sadly, the only part of that sentence that rings true is the ‘HD display’ bit.
It’s a Full HD screen, which means images are at least pleasingly crisp. Peer close enough and you’ll still spot individual pixels, but that 1920 x 1080 resolution means sharp results, whether you’re browsing your photo collection or kicking back with a flick.
Unfortunately, the colour reproduction of Acer’s display is rather abysmal. Only 59% of the sRGB range and 44% of the Adobe RGB range are covered, which in layman’s terms means a serious lack of accuracy. Photo editors beware.
Visibility is also occasionally an issue. At top brightness levels, the Aspire doesn’t exactly sear your retinas. Thankfully, the matte finish means reflections are kept to a minimum.
However, viewing angles are incredibly narrow. Just slightly tilting the display immediately darkens the image, so you can’t see anything you’re doing. Just as well, then, that the screen hinge allows you to force that panel back a full 180 degrees, until you find the sweet spot.
If you demand a better quality of display on a budget, maybe try the Lenovo Ideapad 510s instead.
Acer Aspire A315-51 – Audio
Sound is blasted through dual speakers – which, unfortunately, are housed on the bottom of the laptop. That means any audio ends up muffled by either your desk or your lap. It’s fine for just watching some YouTube videos, but we’d recommend hooking up speakers or headphones to enjoy a movie or some tunes.
Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 – Performance
Running the show is Intel’s Core i3-6006U chipset, with a 2GHz clock speed. This is backed by 4GB of DDR4 RAM.
Basic performance is the name of the game here. I found that I could happily browse the web, bash out reviews and stream media from the web, without too much of a struggle. Occasionally, the Aspire A315-51 loses its train of thought and staggers to a halt for a couple of seconds – for instance, when flicking quickly through a webpage. However, for the most part it does a reasonable job of running your apps.
Of course, you’ll want to avoid cramming lots of software on this laptop, since it will certainly slow down as a result. Likewise, we’d recommend a regular cleanup of the drive, to avoid constantly sluggish performance.
We ran our standard benchmarking tests on the Aspire, which spat out the following basic scores.
GeekBench 4.1.1 Single Core: 2361
GeekBench 4.1.1 Multi-Core: 4821
PCMark 8: 2097
If you fancy a round of gaming on the Aspire A315-51, you’ll want to keep your ambitions around knee-level. As with all budget laptops, you won’t find any dedicated graphics here. Older titles such as Serious Sam 3 run okay on low to medium settings, with perhaps the occasional stammer. Anything more demanding will be more like a slideshow.
Besides, the 128GB solid state drive won’t hold many games before it begins to fill up. And speaking of that SSD, it operated just as expected. In our benchmark testing we saw read speeds of 523.9MB/sec, as well as write speeds of 367.9MB/sec. That’s about on par with other budget laptops – and again, fine for simple everyday tasks.
Acer Aspire 3 A315-51 – Battery life
With budget laptops such as this, one of the better aspects is usually the battery life. I always hope to get a full day of use from each charge, so I don’t have to lug the adapter around when I’m out of the office.
Acer’s device didn’t disappoint. When bashing out documents and browsing the web (all while streaming music in the background), those power warnings didn’t start flashing up until late in the afternoon. And with the standard Trusted Reviews benchmark test (a non-stop cycle of internet shenanigans and video playback), the machine lasted for over seven hours in total.
However, if you’re constantly on the road then bear in mind that the Aspire A315-51 isn’t quite the best out there for longevity. The likes of the Asus Vivobook L403 and Acer’s own Chromebook offer closer to ten hours of life per charge, for instance. And as you’d expect, gaming drains that battery far more quickly.
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Why buy the Acer Aspire 3 A315-51?
The biggest issue with the Aspire A315-51 is that 15.6-inch display, which suffers from poor visibility and a serious lack of colour accuracy. However, look past these flaws and you’ll find a perfectly decent budget laptop.
Acer’s solid design work, coupled with a satisfying keyboard, respectable connectivity and decent battery life make this Aspire well worth considering as a family or student machine.
Overlook the basic display and the Aspire A315-51 is a decent everyday laptop, available for a low asking price.
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