Today we have something that is on the budget. And we mean really on the budget. Usually, you can find the Acer Aspire 3 in many different configurations, some of which include pretty powerful hardware. This makes the Aspire 3 (A315-22) look like a very weird option, as the processor inside is the AMD A4-9120e. It is built on a 28nm architecture, called Stoney Ridge, and it came out roughly 6 years ago.
So why is Acer selling a laptop that comes with such old hardware? Well, we see one reason for that. Because of the current situation, which pretty much depleted the low-budget laptop market, manufacturers have tried everything to provide anything. And what do you do when everything new is out of stock? You get what you have. And we are pretty positive that the Stoney Ridge stuff had a lot of stock since it wasn’t a banger even when it came out.
Thus, the Aspire 3 (A315-22) is born and aimed at all of the people that need a laptop for the sole reason of having one on their hand. Would it be for online school purposes, or “just in case”? Now, we’re going to check how well does this device cope in 2021, especially since we only found TN options for the display. Not a good start…
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://freesmart.biz/series/acer-aspire-3-a315-21/
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Acer Aspire 3 (A315-21/31/32) – Specs
What’s in the box?
Inside the package, we found only essentials – some paper manuals, the laptop, itself, and a 45W power brick.
Design and construction
This device tries to bring the best of both worlds. No, we don’t mean the premium and the budget market, but instead – the new and the old, in terms of design. Nevertheless, the entire laptop is built out of plastic. Despite that, we found the body to be pretty rigid, which is helped by the honeycomb structure on the inside. Also in terms of size, we have a 19.9mm height and a weight of 1.94 kg – again, in check with the competition.
Unsurprisingly, its lid cannot be opened with a single hand. Also, it is bendy, and as soon as you twist it, you will start seeing funny color shifts in the matte TN panel. On the other hand, the small side bezels make for a modern look, while the top one houses the camera. A terrible one, but still – it’s there.
Next, let’s take a look at the keyboard. In contrast to that of the HP 250 G8, which was one of the best out there, Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s main input device doesn’t really feel good. It has very short travel and uneven feedback from the keys. Also, it lacks a backlight, but at least it’s got a NumberPad.
On the other hand, the touchpad is surprisingly good with its pleasant gliding and accurate and fast tracking.
And if you turn the laptop upside down, you will see the speaker cutouts and a tiny vent for air intake. Heat exhaust (or air exhaust) is happening from the back.
On the left side, there is the charging plug, an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 2.0 port, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. On the other side, you will find a security wedge slot, another USB Type-A 2.0 port, and an audio jack.
Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance
To get inside of this device, you have to undo 11 Phillips-head screws. Then, carefully pry the bottom panel away from the body.
Here we have a semi-active cooling solution. There are no heat pipes, but instead, Acer has used a thin cooling plate. Also, there is a fan, that spins the air around the chassis. The idea here is that the intake grills on the bottom panel are placed right beneath the cooling plate so that the fresh air gently brushes the surface.
As you can see, there is one RAM SODIMM slot, which enables you to upgrade the soldered 4GB memory. In terms of storage, you get one 2.5-inch SATA drive bay and an M.2 slot for NVMe drives.
Unfortunately, the battery has a capacity of only 37Wh.
Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22) with a WXGA TN panel, model number BOE NT156WHM-N44 (BOE07CE). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1366 x 768p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 100 ppi, their pitch – 0.25 x 0.25 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).
The viewing angles are uncomfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.
The maximum measured brightness is 263 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 244 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6600K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 49% Brightness (White level = 139 cd/m2, Black level = 0.62 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is poor – 225:1.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s color gamut coverage.
Its display is limited just to 50% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 11 ms.
Health impact – PWM / Blue Light
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s display backlight uses PWM up until 68 nits. Thankfully, the flickerings have a high frequency, which renders the display comfortable for long periods of use in this aspect.
Blue light emissions
Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s display in our configuration has an extremely budget-level TN panel. It has a low 768p resolution, poor contrast ratio, modest color coverage, and bad viewing angles. On the bright side, the PWM it uses is of a very high frequency and stops above 68 nits, plus it has a very fast pixel response time.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22) configurations with 15.6″ BOE NT156WHM-N44 (BOE07CE) (WXGA, 1366 x 768) TN.
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
Although we didn’t found any deviations in the frequency spectrum, Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s speakers produce a very quiet sound. Its quality is good, but you will have a hard time in quiet movie scenes.
All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/ID/content/support-product/8047?b=1
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 37Wh unit delivers 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing and 6 hours and 2 minutes of video playback.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
This device comes equipped with a processor that is part of the Stoney Ridge 28nm architecture of AMD. Our particular unit has the unpretentious A4-9120e, which has a 6W TDP.
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Respectively, the integrated graphics here is the Radeon R3.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|AMD A4-9120e (6W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)||1.69 GHz @ 51°C||1.64 GHz @ 55°C||1.10 GHz @ 47°C|
Even though the temperatures are very low under extreme workload, we found that the AMD A4-9120e was throttling below its base 1.50 GHz clock for quite a while.
Comfort during full load
Interestingly enough, the laptop was very quiet and cool during the test session.
If we have to be honest, it was really painful to do (or try to do) productivity tasks on this machine. The performance is just not there. Even though we are talking about a very low budget, the new Athlon series, and not to mention the Ryzen 3 4300U, are miles ahead in terms of sheer power.
So, with this major caveat, you should know, that you are getting this laptop either to watch videos or to browse the Web. Nothing more, nothing less. At least, the battery life is somewhat impressive, considering the teeny tiny 37Wh unit onboard. We got 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing and about 6 hours of video playback.
Acer Aspire 3 (A315-22)’s display in our configuration has an extremely budget-level TN panel (BOE NT156WHM-N44 (BOE07CE)). It has a low 768p resolution, poor contrast ratio, modest color coverage, and bad viewing angles. On the bright side, the PWM it uses is of a very high frequency and stops above 68 nits, plus it has a very fast pixel response time.
Thankfully, the upgradability is okay, with one RAM SODIMM slot, a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay, and an M.2 slot. However, keep in mind that this specific CPU only supports single-channel memory, so don’t expect miracles from it.
Unfortunately, the keyboard was unsatisfactory with its short key travel and uneven feedback, but on the bright side, there is a camera onboard, and the structural integrity of the base is actually not that bad.
Sadly, none of the feats and perks of the Aspire 3 (A315-22) is strong enough to make us recommend it for anything more than e-mail operation, movie watching, etc. Lastly, we’d like to remind you that two of its USB Type-A ports are really slow (2.0), and there is no SD card reader to be found.
- Extremely affordable
- Decent upgradeability
- Doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (BOE NT156WHM-N44)
- Poor build materials choice
- Its TN panel has poor viewing angles, mediocre contrast ratio and covers only 53% of the sRGB color gamut (BOE NT156WHM-N44)
- Dated hardware with a very low performance
- No SD card reader and USB Type-C port
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://freesmart.biz/laptop-specs/acer-aspire-3-a315-22/