Cheap laptops are getting a whole lot better, but in a world with the likes of the Lenovo IdeaPads and hundreds of great Chromebooks, the Acer Aspire has seemingly been left behind a little. The laptop has always offered great value for money, but so has much of the competition.
That could be changing though. The new Acer Aspire 3 clearly has a lot to offer, at a low starting price — and it may well make for a better option than most at under $400.
How well does the Acer Aspire 3 actually perform? And does it take out the sub-$400 competition? I’ve been using the laptop to find out.
- Solid performance for price
- Good value
- Keyboard isn’t bad
- Build isn’t the best
- Webcam could be better
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) design
The Acer Aspire 3 is a budget laptop, and as such, you shouldn’t expect the sleekest and most stylish design. The device offers a slightly big and bulky design, with Acer opting for a silver-colored plastic chassis.
The build quality of the laptop is average at best. There’s quite a bit of flex in the lid and keyboard deck, which suggests it won’t stand up to much abuse over time. Again, it’s not terrible — but it does feel like a budget laptop.
Around the edges of the laptop are the ports, and Acer has offered a decent selection. There are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, as well as a USB 3.2 Type-C port and HDMI 2.1 port on the left side. On the right side is another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, and an audio jack. It’s enough to get you going, but Acer could have thrown in a few more USB-C ports for good measure, especially in 2023.
Overall, Acer has done a decent job with the Acer Aspire 3’s design, considering the price point. It’s not overly sleek or stylish, but it does look okay and is functional enough for everyday tasks.
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) display and webcam
The display on the Acer Aspire 3 is a little basic, though that’s to be expected with a budget laptop like this. It’s an LCD display with a 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh rate, which is okay but nothing to write home about.
Despite the slightly low specs, it looks fine. Viewing angles aren’t the best, but it will do the job for most tasks. There’s also a built-in webcam, though it’s not great. Colors are pretty muted, and it’s not overly crisp. That’s largely thanks to the 720p resolution, which isn’t great. I would have liked to see at least a 1080p webcam.
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) keyboard, touchpad, and speakers
The Aspire 3 comes with a full-size keyboard, with a number pad. That’s nice for those who want the extra keys. There is quite a bit of flex in the keyboard bed, but you do get used to it after a while. The keys themselves feel slightly mushy, with decent travel and spacing. Typing on the Acer Aspire 3’s keyboard isn’t incredible, but it’s perfectly acceptable given the price point.
The touchpad is a similarly average experience. It’s a good size and mostly responsive, though you can’t click toward the top of it. Again, perfectly fine for basic tasks — but don’t expect anything like the more expensive laptops out there.
The speakers are a little tinny, but they can get decently loud, and are deep enough for casual listening. Most will want to use a decent pair of headphones or speakers, but again, for things like listening to podcasts, the built-in speakers will be perfectly fine.
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) performance
Under the hood, our particular model of the Acer comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 7320U processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM. This makes it more than capable of basic tasks, such as web browsing and word processing. It’s not a performance workhorse though — even on startup, the fans seem to spin quite a bit. So, if you’re looking for something for gaming, or heavy workloads, this probably isn’t it.
Benchmark results confirmed our findings. The laptop scored 983 on GeekBench 5’s single-core test and 3669 on its multi-core test. That’s relatively low, but not terrible for a phone in its price range.
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) battery
The Acer Aspire 3 comes with a battery that Acer rates as being able to last up to 11 hours. Most, however, won’t quite reach those heights. If you have the brightness turned up to a decent level, or are doing more than the most basic tasks, you’ll get less than that. That being said, battery life isn’t terribly bad — but as someone who’s used to using Apple’s recent laptops, it felt a little short. Generally, though, most won’t have any issues getting through a few hours at a time on battery.
Acer Aspire 3 (2022) software
The 2022 Acer Aspire 3 comes with Windows 10 in S mode, though it can be switched to full Windows 10. There isn’t too much bloatware and extra software, which is always nice — but there is still some, like a few games, Evernote, and more. These can be removed or ignored relatively easily though. The rest of the experience is pretty much what you would expect from a Windows laptop at this price point.
The Acer Aspire 3 (2022) is a decent budget laptop that will be perfectly adequate for most. It’s good enough for day-to-day tasks, like web browsing and word processing — but it won’t handle heavier workloads or gaming very well. The display, speakers, and battery life are all okay, while value is definitely on its side.
That being said, if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful, it might be worth spending a little extra money. But if you want an affordable laptop that will do the job without breaking the bank, Acer’s Aspire 3 (2022) is certainly worth considering.
Acer does face some stiff competition in this price bracket, but it competes relatively well. If you’re looking for a 15-inch laptop for basic tasks, then it’s also worth considering a cheaper Aspire 5 or even an ASUS Chromebook. But this laptop still does extremely well for its price range, for those looking for a solid Windows laptop.
Should I buy the Acer Aspire 3 (2022)?
Yes, but only if $400 is your budget.