Acer Aspire 3 (A315-41-R98U) review. (2023)

The Acer Aspire 3 is a large screenbudget laptopwhich offers a spacious 15.6 inch screen, a comfortable keyboard and the power to work efficiently - and a little more. The $529.99 review model (Acer ID is A315-41-R98U), based on an AMD Ryzen processor with integrated Vega graphics and a bootable SSD, drops below $500 at some retailers and keeps up with other low-end machines and mainstream, i.a. some cost up to $700. But before you get too excited about a $500 laptop that punches above its weight class, know that the price comes with some sacrifices. The screen is dimmed and has a native resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. battery life is several hours shorter than competing models. and the touchpad is worse. The raw computing power and graphics in the Aspire 3 for the money is admirable, but moving to a model likeRemoving the VivoBook S15more people please.

Ryzen Pep in a single housing

On the Aspire 3, the only departure from the basic black plastic case is the brushed texture pattern on the lid and keyboard. Otherwise, the Aspire 3 is as vanilla as the black laptops. The only exceptions to the monochromatic design are the silver Acer logo on the lid and bottom edge, as well as a pair of AMD stickers below the keyboard.

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At 4.3 pounds, the Aspire 3 forces you to carry a few more ounces than 3.7 poundsLenovo IdeaPad 530Sor the 3.97-pound Asus VivoBook S1($329.00 on Amazon) (opens in a new window), two other late-model 15-inch budget laptops. At one inch thick, it is also slightly thicker than the two models. It is 15 inches wide and 10.4 inches deep. Due to the combination of its thickness and the thin plastic used for the case, the Aspire 3 feels bloated, a bit like the laptop equivalent of a bag of chips before it's opened.

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That said, the hinges that hold the screen in place are pretty solid. They hold the screen in place with little to no wobble and provide reassuring resistance as you adjust the angle. Although the keyboard and back panel flex slightly inward when you grab the laptop and lift it up, the keyboard itself feels stable under my fingers. I'm a fat typist and didn't feel discouraged as I hit the keys.

The main action is quiet and offers a nice ride while being responsive. The layout of the keys also looks spacious. This is not unusual given the presence of a dedicated numeric keypad in the key space that the 15.6-inch screen provides.

Unfortunately, the touchpad doesn't match the solidity or feel of the keyboard. The surface is loose and brittle along the lower edge. Also, when you hit it, the pad swings without clicking, making you do itrightclick as if it requires more force than it should. In addition, the space around the edge of the touchpad will catch crumbs and dirt.

Display and connections: just the basics

Given the ugly touchpad, I was hoping to avoid using it and instead rely on touching the screen for input. Don't be, though: this monitor isn't a touchscreen, which means you and I are stuck using the touchpad unless we want to plug in a mouse.

In addition to lacking touch support, the Aspire 3's screen also has low brightness and raw resolution. The screen remains a bit dim even when you crank it up to maximum brightness, and the native resolution is retro at 1366 by 768 pixels. Native 1080p resolution is more typical for a 15-inch laptop and provides a better picture. This panel looks like a flashback.

The built-in webcam is also below average. It only offers a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, which makes for grainy videos. The 720p webcam on the Asus VivoBook S15 or Lenovo IdeaPad 530S is a clear leap in image quality.

The speakers are mediocre at best. The sound output is small, with sufficient gain for projection in a small room. It's not a laptop that doubles as a dorm sound system (not many cheap machines are), but the sound is good enough to watch YouTube while sitting in front of it.

Like the screen, the Aspire 3's port selection is sparse and dated. It lacks the newer USB Type-C ports and has more USB 2.0 ports than USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, Ethernet port and SD card port are on the left…

On the right side, you'll find a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack and a power jack...

The vents cover almost half of the bottom frame, and the large vents take up half of the laptop's rear edge, making it a bit uncomfortable to hold the laptop closed under the arm. This is more of an optical vent than usual for a laptop with a main mobile processor and integrated graphics, but that could be a consequence of the specific Ryzen chip used here.

In addition to ventilation, the bottom panel hides an unusual feature for a budget laptop: two small panels that provide easy access to the memory and the hard drive (or rather the hard drive).Cove). Compartment covers are held in place with a single screw. Behind one you'll find the memory modules, and behind the other you'll find an empty 2.5-inch drive bay.

The Aspire 3 boot drive is a 256GB solid-state drive located elsewhere on the motherboard, so you can add an additional drive (2.5-inch Serial ATA hard drive or SSD) to increase capacity. That's actually a rare perk in a budget laptop, and the idea of ​​a decent bootable SSD paired with a capacious hard drive (you can find 1TB 2.5-inch hard drives for around $50) is a compelling deal.

More power than your typical budget

PC Labs doesn't see as many AMD-based laptops as Intel-based laptops, so this Ryzen 5-based device is of particular interest.

I compared the A315-41-R98U to many competing Intel-based machines in the same general price range. The AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Aspire 3 processor is in direct competition with the Intel Core i5-8250U processor found in the rest of the range. The key components of competing laptops are shown below…

Thanks to the combination of a quad-core/octa-thread Ryzen 5 CPU and a speedy SSD, the Aspire 3 felt snappy for basic tasks. Windows booted up quickly, apps loaded instantly, and I found a fairly high level of multitasking before performance started to drop (and the fan kicked in). When it comes to responsiveness, this is no budget laptop hog. Too many external parts of the hardware give away the original state, but its performance is not great for the money.

PCMark 10 (performance test) and PCMark 8 (stock test)

PCMark 10 and 8 are holistic performance suites developed by PC benchmarking experts at UL (formerly Futuremark). Our PCMark 10 test simulates different workflows for real-world productivity and content creation. We use it to evaluate overall system performance for office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet creation, web browsing, and video conferencing. The test generates a unique numerical score. bigger numbers are better. Meanwhile, PCMark 8 has a storage subtest that we use to evaluate the speed of the storage subsystem.

The Aspire 3's PCMark 10 score of 3163 was within the margin of error of most Core i5-8250U-based notebook scores, including the Optane-equipped Aspire 5, which only has a 4GB and slower hard drive when combined with the Optane benchmark . Thanks to its fast SSD, the Aspire 3 PCMark 8 Storage scored right in the middle of the pack.

Cinebench R15

Here's a benchmark for Maxon's Crunching R15 CPU, which is fully integrated to take advantage of all available CPU cores and threads. Cinebench emphasizes the CPU, not the GPU, to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score that indicates a computer's suitability for CPU-intensive workloads.

The Aspire 3 took a strong second place in Cinebench, just ahead of the excellent Asus VivoBook S15. You won't want to spend a day in a video editing suite with the Aspire 3, but it has the power for occasional video editing tasks without having to wait long for it to finish.

Photoshop CC

We also run a custom Adobe Photoshop image editing benchmark. Using the early 2018 release of Photoshop Creative Cloud, we apply a series of 10 complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image. We measure the time for each operation and finally add up the total execution time. This task puts pressure on the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, but it can also use most GPUs to speed up the filter application process, so systems with powerful graphics chips or cards can see a boost.

In our Photoshop test, the systems were tightly clustered. These budget laptops are capable of doing moderate Photoshop work without feeling too cumbersome.

Graphics tests

3DMark Sky Diver oznacza Fire Strike

3DMark measures the relative texture of graphics by rendering sequences of highly detailed game-style 3D graphics that highlight particles and lighting. We run two different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike, suitable for different types of systems. Both are DirectX 11 benchmarks, but Sky Diver is more suitable for laptops and mid-range PCs, while Fire Strike is more demanding and made for high-end PCs.

The Ryzen 5 processor includes an integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card. It's not the Radeon RX Vega graphics equivalent of AMD's desktop graphics cards, but on the rare occasion that PC Labs tested laptops powered by the notebook Vega card, it was a pleasant surprise. (For example, see our review2018 Dell XPS 15 2-w-1.) Here it is clearly more efficient than Intel's integrated competition. The Aspire 3 achieved 3DMark scores that were almost double those of Intel-based systems.

Unigine Superposition

Here's another synthetic graphics test, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the overlay test renders and jumps to a detailed 3D scene and measures how well the system handles it. In this case, it is done on the proprietary Unigine engine of the same name. This different 3D loading scenario gives a different meaning to the graphics capabilities of the machine.

Of course, you wouldn't mistake the Aspire 3 (or any laptop with integrated graphics) for a gaming machine, but the Aspire 3 registered a higher frame rate in our Superposition benchmarks than budget Intel-based laptops. But with frame rates below the 30fps target, you'll need to check your gaming expectations to ensure smooth gameplay even at 720p.

Battery discharge test

With the laptop fully charged, we put the machine into power-saving mode (as opposed to balanced or high-performance mode) and made a few other battery-saving changes in preparation for the untethered video resolution test. (We also turn off Wi-Fi by putting the laptop in airplane mode.) In this test, we replay a video—a locally saved 720p file of a Blender Foundation short filmTears of steel- with the screen brightness set to 50 percent and the volume set to 100 percent until the system turns off.

Good news about the Aspire 3 performance ends here. It lasted just 5 hours and 33 minutes, at least three hours less than the next best laptop in this competitive lineup. In particular, the Asus VivoBook S15 lasted more than twice as long.

The good intestines need a better body

With an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and integrated Vega graphics, this Aspire 3 packs a punchMuchwell-rounded performance for a budget machine. The boost provided by Radeon Vega 8 graphics is particularly important. Kudos to AMD for its entry-level hardware.

Unfortunately, the battery life and the body are not enough. Many users can swallow this kind of reduced battery life on a large 15-inch laptop because it's not that portable and spends most of its life plugged in. Well, no inspiration. The dull, low-resolution screen and bumpy touchpad make it hard to recommend. The Editors' Choice Award-winning Asus VivoBook S15 S530UA maintains its belt as our current budget pick. It's worth the extra money for its sleek design, excellent display and similar performance.

Acer Aspire 3 (A315-41-R98U)


(Opens in new window)

Check Stock $599.99 at Amazon (opens in new window)

MSRP $529.99


  • Ryzen CPU/Vega graphics provide impressive value for money.

  • Practical keyboard.

  • Easily upgrade RAM and storage.

  • Empty 2.5 inch drive bay.

See More


  • Short battery life.

  • Boring screen in low resolution.

  • Lekki touchpad.

  • There are no USB Type-C ports.

See More

the most important

This version of the cheap Acer Aspire 3 laptop with an AMD Ryzen processor gives good money, but the touchpad, battery and 15.6-inch screen let the team down.

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