Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3, 4GB/128GB SSD $309.99 + F/S @ Amazon
Model: Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L
-- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U dual-core Processor 2.6GHz / up to 3.5GHz
-- 4MB L3 Cache
-- 15.6" full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display
-- AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
-- 4GB DDR4 Memory 2666 260-pin SO-DIMM
-- 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
-- Built-in stereo speakers,
-- 2 integrated microphones
-- 802.11ac WiFi
-- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port)
-- Bluetooth 4.0
-- Back-lit Keyboard
-- HD Webcam (1280 x 720)
-- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports, 1 HDMI Port with HDCP support
-- Windows 10 Home in S mode,
A few notes for those who are shopping for a budget laptop...
This was a $269 deal on Amazon Prime Day. It bounced up to $319.99 and yesterday dropped to $309.99. After gazing at laptop specs day and night for a week trying to find the best laptop at the lowest price within my limited budget, I bought the Aspire 5 today. Following are a few notes on why IMO this is the best deal around on a <$400 laptop for those who are on a similarly limited budget...
--Many users here who know far more than I do about laptops loathe TN screens and say all laptops are junk without an IPS screen. There just aren't many sub-$500 laptops with an IPS, and this Aspire 5 has it. That was one of a few deciding factors for me.
--Some budget laptops have memory soldered to the board, and one DIMM slot for upgrades. Some are limited to a max of 16GB. The Aspire 5 has two upgradeable DIMM slots, and it can be upgraded to 32GB.
--Back-lit screen and back-lit keyboard. Most <$500 laptops lack one or both.
--The Ryzen 3 processor and Vega 3 graphics are more than adequate for what I need. I write books, edit, and wander around the Web. Most <$400 laptops have older technology that probably would be adequate but may struggle as Windows becomes ever more complex and requires greater processing power and memory.
--At $309.99, I get a decent laptop and decent features without having to buy a refurb and inherit someone else's headaches. I plan to write my next half-dozen books on this laptop, and I don't need the angst. Plus, many refurbs cost more than I paid for the Aspire 5 new.
--Space (and included cable) for a second SSD drive. I have a brand-new 250GB SSD in my desk drawer, so I can upgrade without spending a cent. Acer provides a short video on how to open the case and install a second drive. It's simple and quick. After upgrading a friend's HP-15 Licorice recently, and having to take the damned thing apart to do it, upgrading the Aspire will be a breeze.
--Sleek styling. The top cover is aluminum, and the overall look of the Aspire 5 just appeals to me.
I almost bought a recent deal on SD for a Lenova S340 8GB+256GB for $288. Great price. I missed out on it, and when it came back in stock last night, the new price of $339, at $50 higher, tilted me over to the Aspire 5. I think that the Lenova may have been better quality, but for about the same price, I get an IPS screen with the Aspire 5. My feeling too is that Acer customer service is a little more eager to please than Lenova, based on reading thousands of comments.
Now that I've found my laptop deal, I won't be looking for more deals or following this thread. But I do want to say that having access to this community, and many opinions expressed here by others has given me valuable insights into buying a decent laptop on a budget. Thanks to everyone I've been reading here the past week for sharing your knowledge and your views.
UPDATE 7 Sept 2019
: After some confusion with Amazon about the shipping and arrival date, they gave me free upgraded shipping, and I will receive this laptop on Monday, Sept 9. I plan to open it up and install +4GB of RAM and a second 250GB SanDisk SSD drive that I already have. I'll post my comments here on how the installation goes and my impression of the screen. Although to be honest, I am not an IT guy and just wanted something that is sharp and I can see with aging eyes.
On the question of this being a repost, or that this laptop was $269 on Amazon Prime Day, yes, that was an awesome deal, but I wasn't there for it. It went to $309.99 and someone posted it on SD over a month ago. I started following this laptop a few weeks ago at $309.99 and hoped it would drop below $300 so I could save ten bucks plus a little more by being able to get into a $250-299 extended warranty. The price went up to $319.99 instead and sat there. It dropped back to $309.99 yesterday. In my very limited experience on SD, when a price goes up, the original SD deal is expired. When it goes back down, I've seen others repost a deal, so when this item dropped to $309, I felt it was acceptable to repost. No duplicate intended, and my apologies if I misunderstood the rules.
True, I might be able to pick up this laptop for less on Black Friday. But that's Nov 29, and nearly three months away. It has been enough torture sitting here for two weeks dissecting dozens of laptop deals, and I don't have the time or patience to wait for a price drop that might or might not happen in three months.
After wading through a lot of "good deals" with TN screens, or lacking various features, and after comparing those to this item, I felt that this Acer, after the price dropped back to $309.99 (plus the cost of upgrading it) was "my best deal" for limited amount of money I had to spend. I thought it might help others to share my thoughts on the selection process and why I thought this was a good deal. I hope this laptop is as good as others here who bought it previously have said it is and that I'll be able to get lots of use out of it. :-)
NOTES/TIPS ON UPGRADING ~ 9 Sept 2019
As I said I would do in my update, I am posting my impressions of the Acer A515-43-R19L that I received today from Amazon, as well as describing the process for upgrading the memory and adding a second hard drive.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sleek appearance of the brushed aluminum case. It looks quite nice, and has a nice look and feel. The IPS screen is *definitely* a major improvement over the TN screens on HP-15 laptops that I have used in the past. You don't appreciate the difference until you actually see it for yourself. The colors are bright, but not so bright that they cause a headache as someone commented above. The images are sharp and clear, viewable from any angle, which is nice. This IPS screen is definitely worth the money.
I knew that 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD is not sufficient these days and I planned to upgrade this laptop with a new SanDisk 250GB SSD plus 4GB of RAM. I splurged and bought an 8GB stick of DDR4 2666 260-pin SODIMM for $30 (yes, I could have paid less on eBay, but I wanted something that would arrive with the laptop, so I paid a little more to Amazon.
To accomplish the upgrades, I followed two short but excellent YouTube videos:
Aspire A515-43 How to Install an Additional Hard Drive
Acer aspire 5 r3 3200u Vega 3 graphics Adding additional ram
Opening the case made me anxious, as I imagined snapping off clips or breaking something on a brand-new laptop that I hadn't even owned for a day. I removed the 10 tiny screws, which was easy enough. In the video, the case seemed to pop right open more easily then mine did--but I was being extra careful. After a few of the clips popped open along one edge, it got easier to work around the rest of the case.
Once the laptop was opened, I simply followed the videos, step by step. Both videos showed what needed to be done. In about 20 minutes (working very slowly and carefully!) I had the second SSD installed, the 8GB memory clipped in place, and the 10 screws tightened down. It was an easy task that any newbie or technically challenged should be able to complete easily.
So that's the last page in the story of my quest for a cheap but feature-rich laptop. I'm very happy with this purchase and appreciate the feedback from SlickDeals users who helped me to avoid laptops that would have been a headache and to find one that right one for my needs at the right price. Thanks all!