Dim, dark display. Scanty 4GB of system RAM. Lackluster battery life. No SSD, backlit keyboard, touch screen, or Windows Hello support. Intel’s Optane Memory perks up the 1TB hard drive of Acer’s $500 Aspire 5 laptop, but a dim screen and tepid performance will keep it off budget buyers’ short lists. It’s an eye-catching claim on the box and palm-rest sticker of the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-51-58HD): “20GB Memory.” Can a $499.99 laptop really come with that much RAM? A second glance reveals the catch: There’s only 4GB of system memory. The other 16GB is Intel Optane Memory, which serves as an intelligent cache to speed up the 1TB hard drive. (The system has no solid-state drive.) It works all right; the Acer feels perkier than other PCs we’ve tried with 5,400rpm SATA hard drives, though never as swift as one with an SSD. But Optane can’t do anything about the Aspire 5′s murky screen or other shortcomings. Our Editors’ Choice recommendation for a budget desktop replacement is still that you spend $100 more for Acer’s Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-5762), or $200 more for the Asus VivoBook S15 S530UA. The Aspire 5 is a 15.6-...