Review: Acer Aspire 5 with 10th Generation Intel Core i3-10110U & Core i5-10210U with GeForce MX250

Acer Aspire 5, currently the best selling laptop on Amazon has been refreshed just in time for holiday shopping season 2019. The Intel CPU has been upgraded from the 8th Generation Whiskey Lake to 10th generation Cometlake. There are 3 new models
  1. The base model now comes with 10th Generation Intel Core i3 processor
  2. Next up is Aspire 5 with 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor
  3. Finally,  you can get the top of the line configuration which comes with Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics along with 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor.

Acer Aspire 5 with Intel Core i3 10110 U

First,  let's take a closer look at the base configuration. This comes with Intel Core i3 10110 U Series Processor.

Here is a chart comparing this 10th generation cometlake processor to the 8th generation Whiskey Lake processor. First big change is the bump in Turbo Speed. It now goes up to 4.1 Ghz.

So, how does that translate to performance improvements? In the PassMark overall CPU benchmark, the new 10th generation cometlake processor scores 6026 points as opposed to 5507 points scored by Whiskey Lake processor. That's a performance jump of about 9.4%.

The new Cometlake processor also bumps up the system DDR4 memory speed from 2400 MHz to 2666 Mhz. The integrated graphics now supports hardware accelerated encoding and decoding of google VP9 and h265 codecs. This is in addition to h264 codec which was already supported by older intel chip. Overall this is a good upgrade, and kudos to Acer for bringing the 10th generation Intel chips in Aspire 5 series laptops.

RAM Upgrades

Unfortunately, the base configuration comes with only 4 Gig RAM which is soldered to the motherboard. 4 GIG RAM is not enough for running windows 10 smoothly. But Acer does provide an empty DIMM slot,  which can be used to upgrade system RAM. You can either get an 8GIG or 16GIG memory module and bring up the total RAM to 8+4 that is 12GIG or 16+4 that is 20GIG.

Installing memory is pretty easy and all you have to do is remove about a dozen screws from the back of the laptop using a philips screw-driver. Then using a plastic knife or old credit card, pry open the back of the laptop. Once you remove the back of the laptop you will see a solitary memory DIMM slot which is empty. Just insert the memory module in this DIMM slot and you are done. Memory is cheap and dramatically improves the laptop performance. I will strongly encourage everyone to upgrade the RAM

The curse of Windows 10 S Mode

BTW, core-i3 version of Aspire 5 still ships with dreaded windows 10 S mode. S mode is a crippled version of windows. It sucks and you should get rid of it as soon as possible. Upgrading from Windows 10 S mode to full  version of Windows is free and takes only few minutes. Go to windows settings and click on Update and Security. From there Click on Activation and then Click on the “Go To the Store”. Windows App Store will launch and you will see an option to Switch out of S Mode. Follow the instructions & your laptop will upgrade from Stinky windows 10 S mode to full version of windows 10 for free

Acer Aspire 5 with Intel Core i5 10210 U

Now, moving on to the core-i5 configuration. Acer has upgraded this CPU to Core i5 10210 U Series Processor. Here is a comparison chart showing 10th generation cometlake core-i5 & 8th Generation Whiskey Lake core-i5. The most important upgrade is the bump in turbo clock speed from 3.9GHz to 4.2GHz.

In PassMark CPU rating, this translates to about 9% performance improvement.

There are 2 configuration of Aspire 5 laptop with core-i5 processor. The cheaper one uses intel UHD graphics. You can upgrade to nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics for better performance.

Both these models come with 8GIG RAM and full version of windows 10 home edition. So you don't have to deal with the bullshit of Windows 10 S mode if you buy core-i5 model. The nvidia configuration also double the storage to 512 GIG SSD as opposed to 256 GIG that comes with the intel integrated graphics. If you are planning to game a lot, then I would recommend going with the nvidia configuration. This is because GeForce MX250 comes with a dedicated 2 GIG of GDDR5 Video RAM which will significantly improve gaming performance.

Build Quality

Now let's take a closer look at the design aesthetics and build quality of Acer Aspire 5 laptops. The upper half of the laptop is made of aluminum while the bottom half is made of poly-carbonate. I think this is a good design choice because it keeps the laptop lightweight but sturdy. Since the lid of the laptop is made of metal & not plastic, it prevents any screen flex and gives this laptop a very premium look. The laptop feels pretty sturdy and solid in hands. For a 15.6 inch laptop, Aspire 5 is relatively lightweight weighing under 4 pounds. This makes it an excellent laptop to carry around in your backpack.


Acer has also improved the hinge mechanism. The new hinge runs through the entire length of the laptop screen making it extremely durable. The screen quality on Acer Aspire 5 is really good. It is 15.6 inch Full HD display at 1920 by 1080 resolution. This is a widescreen LED-backlit IPS Panel with over 200 nits of brightness. I think this is a really good display which beats far more expensive laptops. The colors look punchy, images are vibrant and text look sharp. The display has modern looking thin bezels which look really cool and I digg it. The screen has a wide viewing angle and its not very glossy thereby reducing harsh reflections. This means you can use this laptop in bright office or classroom environment without any issues.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard and trackpad on Acer Aspire 5 was already great and that continues to be the case with this new model. It has a full size backlit keyboard with great tactile feedback. The trackpad is large and supports multi-finger gestures. It comes with the latest windows precision drivers. Regarding on-board storage, the Core-i3 model has 128 GIG while Core-i5 has either 256 or 512 GIG of PCIe NVMe SSD. The m.2. slot is user-upgradeable, but unfortunately the existing SSD occupies this slot. You will have to replace the existing SSD with the bigger SSD, if you are interested in upgrading the storage.


So overall I am very happy with the CPU refresh on Acer Aspire 5 laptops. It was already a great laptop and now it's even better. So links to these new laptops are in the description below. I have also provided links to compatible RAM and SSDs if you are interested in upgrading your laptop.

Purchase Links:

Buy Acer Aspire 5 with AMD
Buy Acer Aspire 5 with 10th gen Intel Core-i3
Buy Acer Aspire 5 with 10th gen Intel Core-i5
Buy Acer Aspire 5 with 10th gen Intel Core-i5 & Nvidia 
Buy 16GB RAM 

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