We tested and compared the Acer Aspire 3 (2020) versus Acer Aspire 5 in terms of (Gaming) Performance, Portability, Battery Life, Display Quality, Price and more.
Above you can see the test result of the comparison in our Ranking and below you will find the in-depth test reports of each Acer Aspire Laptop.
Ranking First: Acer Aspire 5
- Better Performance than Acer Aspire 3
- IPS display with stable viewing angle
- Good battery life & lightweight device
- More expensive than Aspire 3
Acer praises the Aspire 5 as a notebook for the “home office” and I believe that it is also suitable for surfing the internet or watching videos beyond work and is also suitable as a “mobile office” thanks to its compact dimensions and good battery life.
These are by far not all possible applications, as the test shows – however, it is not the right laptop for games or photo and video editing that require a lot of graphics power.
Many notebooks with Intel chipsets of the current Comet Lake architecture have already been announced, but only a few models with the “10” in the processor designation are really available.
The Acer Aspire A514-52 belongs to the first laptops in which Comet Lake proves itself in practice.
Design & Interfaces
Simple elegance describes the Acer Aspire 5’s exterior quite well. The aluminum case is matt and comes without patterns and reflections.
Only the Acer lettering is emblazoned on the notebook’s lid, which, when closed, moves in the midfield with a thickness of 1.8 centimeters – so it’s neither particularly thick nor particularly thin.
The aluminum case not only makes the Aspire 5 look elegant, but also robust. Of course, the laptop shouldn’t fall down, but with a weight of 3,52 lbs, it is ideal for packing up and using on the go. So it can’t hurt if it’s a bit more robust than a laptop that’s only placed on the desk.
With USB ports, the Acer Aspire 5 is well equipped for you. In addition to a USB 2.0 port, there are two USB 3.0 sockets. You’ll recognise the faster USB 3.0 ports by the blue colour inside the socket.
There is also a USB C connection. For an external monitor you can use the HDMI port and headphones or a headset can be connected via a 3.5 mm plug. Bluetooth 5.0 provides wireless connectivity, and you can access the Internet via WLAN using the ac standard or via a LAN cable with its own RJ45 socket.
The Acer Aspire 5’s display measures 14 inches diagonally and has narrow edges on the sides. They are wider at the top and bottom. At this size, the Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is sufficient for a razor-sharp image.
The color representation looks natural and the brightness is high enough with one exception: The screen’s luminosity is not sufficient for working in the sunshine.
But as long as you don’t plan on doing so, you’ll get wide viewing angles with the IPS panel and won’t have to bother with reflections because the screen is anti-reflective.
Not always necessary, but sometimes quite practical: the Aspire 5’s display can be opened 180 degrees. This allows you to bring it into line with the rest of the laptop, which becomes a flat flounder. However, I can only think of a few spontaneous usage scenarios where this is necessary.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The keyboard of the Acer Aspire 5 doesn’t have a number pad, but I still find it very pleasant to write on it. The individual keys are sufficiently large and clearly separated from each other.
The stroke is not too deep, but still high enough to be well felt, just like the pressure point at the end.
The touchpad is large enough to move the mouse pointer across the entire screen without making it extremely sensitive – and still doesn’t get in the way of the palm of your hand when typing.
The pressure point can also be felt clearly after a short distance, while the fingers stroke the surface unhindered.
On the underside of the Aspire 5, there are two speakers in the front area that provide stereo sound.
Because of their position, the sound sometimes doesn’t come directly from the direction of the screen, but with music that’s less important and even with videos with spoken text, I only noticed this with some and by no means all of them – but if it was, it really annoyed me.
Overall, the sound quality is within the notebook average and doesn’t stand out from it either positively or negatively.
The Aspire 5’s lithium-ion battery doesn’t turn out to be very big with a performance of 48 Wh, but in practice you benefit from the hardware with low power consumption.
Without any special power saving settings and with full screen brightness, I could watch just over six hours of YouTube videos before the battery ran out.
That’s a decent figure, especially considering the stated battery performance, which you can increase – if it matters – with some adjustments to the settings.
When looking at the performance, the Intel Core i5-10210U and the eight gigabytes of RAM are clearly in focus. The integrated graphic chip only plays a small secondary role in return.
Intel only introduced the Core i5-10210U in August 2019. It has four computing cores and is designed as an economical chipset. In other words, the battery life of the notebook should be longer due to lower power consumption.
In numbers, this means for example 5 1027 points in single-core and 2570 points in multi-core mode in the CPU benchmark, which measures the processor, with Geekbench.
This means that it is, for example, outperforming the AMD Ryzen 5 in the Acer Nitro 5, which is designed as a gaming notebook. The Aspire 5 lags behind the Nitro 5 in Cinebench R20 with 1014 points in the CPU benchmark, though.
In comparison to the Nitro 5, the Aspire 5 lacks a dedicated graphics card. Its tasks are taken over by the integrated graphics chip from Intel, which is part of the Core i5.
Geekbench’s benchmark values are clearly behind the Nitro 5 with 5750 points in OpenCL and 4830 points under Vulkan.
The Acer Aspire 5 isn’t rendered useless by the poor rates in the GPU benchmark, though. The performance is easily enough to start several programs and write emails, listen to music, have several tabs open in the browser and look at photos from the last family outing at the same time.
The hardware reaches its limits when it comes to displaying graphically demanding current games, editing images on a large scale or rendering videos. This is not possible without a dedicated graphics card.
The Acer Aspire 5 offers a long battery life and convinces with good workmanship. All important connections are present and the anti-glare display looks good.
The keyboard and touchpad are easy to use and the hardware is ready for a lot of tasks, which is why the Acer Aspire 5 is ranking first versus the Acer Aspire 3.
Ranking Second: Acer Aspire 3 (2020)
- Bright Display
- Better Price than Aspire 5
- Fast SSD performance
- Ports / Interfaces not the best
Acer has a large multimedia notebook in its program with the Aspire 3, which should be suitable for all use cases: Multimedia, office and thanks to a dedicated graphics card also for occasional gaming and image/video editing. Whether the $430 notebook meets these demands is something we’ll clarify in the review.
Acer’s Aspire 3 series includes a number of models. The equipment is largely similar in the 17 incher: an Intel® Core™ i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and an SSD with up to 1 TB memory and either an internal Intel UHD 620 or a dedicated Nvidia MX graphics card.
The test model is in the midfield price range with an Intel® Core™ i5 processor of the 10th generation, an MX230 and 512 GB SSD both in terms of hardware and price.
The Aspire 3 looks pretty good with its understated design. Apart from a reflective Acer logo and a discreet Aspire lettering, you won’t see any decoration on the front. Otherwise, the notebook is simply black.
The body is made of slightly glossy, the display front of matt plastic. The case unfortunately has a disadvantage. You can see fingerprints quite clearly.
You should therefore treat yourself to a good cleaning cloth if you want to have a respectable notebook. Because the plastic is quite thin, it can be pressed in quite easily and thus reduces the good impression that the workmanship leaves behind.
The keyboard offers you a number pad, as it is usual for 17″ notebooks. Its keys are a bit smaller than the rest. But that’s no problem in everyday life.
The keys themselves offer hardly any resistance. This makes typing a bit difficult to get used to and the error rate is initially quite high. Once you get used to the short stroke and the very low resistance, typing works quite well.
The touchpad does its job solidly, but reacts a bit sluggishly for my personal taste. That’s not a problem for me, though, as I use a mouse in most cases anyway. And a 17″ notebook isn’t really intended for mobile working anyway, but rather a desktop replacement.
The display frames are relatively wide and therefore look a bit old-fashioned, but that is the case with many 17″ notebooks. A webcam is integrated in the upper frame.
There’s nothing to complain about in the workmanship. The Aspire 3 has no burrs or edges to get caught on. The gaps are even and small. That’s the way it should be.
The connections are the first time you get into the socket. A total of three USB-A ports are installed, two of which belong to the USB-2 standard. The third is a USB 3.0 port.
Why USB 2.0 ports will still be used in 2020 is not at all clear to me. From my point of view this is a clear fail. By the way, you won’t find a USB-C port on this notebook.
There is another HDMI port on the left side, which you can use to connect an external display. Ethernet and 3.5mm headphone jack round off the connection package. However, I also miss a cardreader besides type-C.
The Aspire 3 17″ also has a DVD drive. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I used a DVD drive on a notebook. But there are still enough users for whom it makes sense.
The Aspire 3 has a matt IPS display that resolves with Full HD. This gives a PPI of 127, which means your content is crisp and clear.
As with all matte displays, you won’t have any problems with annoying reflections. The viewing angles are also wide. But that’s no surprise with an IPS display. The colours are vibrant, but the black level could be more accurate.
The color space coverage is perfectly okay for casual users. The sRGB color space is covered to 91%. The AdobeRGB (70%) and NTSC (68%) coverage is also within normal limits.
So you have nice colours for movies and can also edit your holiday photos without any problems and without any nasty surprises when printing. You can see how the Aspire 3 compares to similar notebooks in the graphics.
The display is pleasantly bright. At the peak I measured 352 cd/m², the average is 322 cd/m². On the positive side, the Aspire 3’s display is fairly evenly lit.
The darkest areas are at the bottom in the corners. But even these still show 295 cd/m². Thus, you can see the screen contents well even in bright surroundings.
The Aspire 3 comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, so you can start right away. As so often it is not a clean Windows version. You will find several programs on the disk, whose use is sometimes more or less doubtful.
Candy Crush Friends, Farm Heroes Saga, Forge of Empires, Netflix, Xing and a 30-day trial version of Norton. The good news is that you can completely uninstall the stuff you don’t need.
The SSD comes with 512 GB of free space.
When it comes to performance, there’s nothing to complain about. You get enough power for all the tasks it’s designed for. The Aspire 3 is powered by a tenth-generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor. It is supported by 8 GB RAM and an Nvidia MX230. The combination ensures a smooth workflow for image and even light video editing.
A Western Digital SN520 with 512 GB is used as SSD. It doesn’t belong to the upper class in terms of performance, but is still fast enough in everyday life. There are no delays and even large files are loaded quickly in programs.
The Aspire 3 is only conditionally suitable for gaming because the MX230 simply doesn’t have enough performance for current games.
Strategy games should hardly be a problem, but especially faster games should be played on another device. In addition, the 60 Hz display isn’t designed for them. So you would have rather little fun.
For the battery life test, I set the display to 200 cd/m² and selected the energy profile “Balanced”. The display brightness is 59%.
Afterwards I used it for my normal working day (Office, Photoshop, Lightroom, surfing). This meant I was able to go four and a half hours without a power outlet – a value to be expected.
By default, the display is set to 40% brightness when you select the energy profile “Balanced” in battery mode.
If you stay at this brightness level and avoid power guzzlers, you’ll get even longer. Acer itself speaks of a 5.5 hour battery life, which the Aspire 3 should offer.
A multimedia notebook should offer a decent sound. As with all notebooks, the depths turn out a bit flat due to the lack of resonance chamber.
But they are present and easily recognizable. The mids are slightly underrepresented in comparison to the highs. The highs, on the other hand, are well hit at half volume and don’t tend to be shrill or jarring.
At full volume the sound image changes only slightly. The trebles become more present, but are not shrill or jarring. I like that quite well.
The maximum volume is not enough to fill a party with sound. That was not to be expected. But it is absolutely sufficient for a relaxed movie night.
The Aspire 3 leaves a mixed impression in the test. On the one hand, it is an all-rounder with which you can do justice to all everyday tasks due to the built-in hardware.
The SSD is large and fixed and thanks to the MX230, even image and light video editing is no problem. The display is bright and offers a reasonable color space coverage. There’s also nothing to complain about in terms of sound.
In terms of criticism, the incomprehensible focus of the connections on USB 2.0 and the renunciation of USB-C is clearly evident. The choice of ports also prevents an unrestricted recommendation of the Aspire 3, which is why the Acer Aspire 3 is ranking behind versus the Aspire 5.
If you can live with that and are looking for a cheap well performing all-rounder, you should take a closer look at the Aspire 3, since its cheaper than the Acer Aspire 5