Tech

Acer ConceptD 7 Review: Big and Beautiful

In a crowded retail market, it’s hard to make your laptop stand out from the crowd, but Acer is giving it a red hot go with the ConceptD 7 laptop. The laptop is big, and white, making it easy to notice on the store shelf.

The ConceptD range from Acer is aimed squarely at creatives, so it’s no wonder you get a big screen. The ConceptD range is heavily influenced by their Predator range of laptops and devices, and it shows in the design, and their choice of specs for the ConceptD range. 

But shelf appeal and a big bright display aside, the big question is: how does it go long term?

The Basics
Acer Australia loaned EFTM their ConceptD 7 with a 9th Gen Intel Core i5, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD installed. The laptop comes with an 84Wh Li-ion battery and the usual laptop power brick.

The laptop includes a generous 15.6-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution display which is 100% Adobe RGB gamut colour-rated, with Pantone validated colour fidelity, all driven by a 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card – a card with decent gaming heritage. 

The screen has an 81% screen-to-body ratio claimed by Acer and it looks pretty good, with minimal bezels – though the top is fairly hefty but does include a 720p resolution webcam. The body is a mere 17.9mm thin but includes some amazing fans to keep the laptop cool, and quiet, perhaps thanks to the machined aluminium chassis, with the whole thing weighing in at 2.1kg. 

How does it go?
So, the overall package is well put together, you get Gigabit Ethernet, (separate) mic and headphone jack, three USB 3.1 ports and a mini-Display port and HDMI out for video but it’s still relatively thin for a larger form factor notebook.

The weight I thought would be a concern, but I’ve sat with the ConceptD 7 in my lap for hours on end – my workflow includes a lounge chair – and the laptop is evenly weighted so it sits nicely, but firmly in the lap. If I were to take it to a trade show or event it may present problems using it in a smaller space to take notes though. 

The body itself is white and Acer advised there’s no coating or protection which was a worry throughout my review period. Just something to note if you put this laptop down on a table at a cafe, just make sure it’s clean.

The keyboard is full size and spacious which is nice to type on, though there’s no keypad. I’ve transitioned through a bunch of keyboards recently and the Acer is nicely responsive without having too much travel – it’s a firm touch when you’re touch typing and easy to get into a flow.

I love the softer orange glow illuminating the keys, it’s a little less harsh than bright blue or white, but still easy to see in dimmer light.

I’m not totally in love with the Acer touchpad – it’s the one hardware feature Apple still rules, at least for me – but it is a lot better than I expected. There’s gestures and it feels responsive, but there’s just some lag to it and it doesn’t feel as accurate as other touchpads I’ve used. I plugged a mouse into it and that fixed a lot of the issues I had. 

The design is somewhat reminiscent of the Predator gaming range with the slight sloping off of the corners, it’s a nice design flourish and softens the overall silhouette when it’s open.

Despite the overly large looking cooling vents on the side and base of the laptop, it remained quiet throughout the day, though kick in some processor intensive work at it and you’ll hear a bit.

The Intel CPU handles well, and the Nvidia RTX 2060 handled nicely as well. I threw a few games at it and hit 60fps at 1080p, but 4K didn’t quite get there, though it handles 30fps just fine. The graphics card on the more professional, and creative front – where Acer is aiming the ConceptD 7 – handled things very nicely as well. 

On this front, the ConceptD 7 is fantastic – the display is stunning. The colour representation was a little blown out on occasion for my liking but I played with the tuning tools, which allow you to adjust your colour profile to your personal taste or needs.

I threw some Photoshop work and some Premiere at the ConceptD 7 and was impressed with the results from these applications. As you’d expect, everything on the web performed fantastically as well. The end result is that you don’t get a lot of wait time with the ConceptD 7 

I was a little underwhelmed with the internal speakers on the ConceptD 7, it’s a good audio experience but not great, the wireless headphone experience was a little better. Acer has included their Waves MaxxAudio software on most of their laptops for a while, and this does allow you to tweak the sound to your liking which is a neat inclusion.

Battery wise, the ConceptD 7 could be better. The spec sheet lists a 84Wh Li-ion battery inside, but I couldn’t find any information on the battery life expectancy on the Acer website. In real world terms I used the ConceptD 7 on a daily basis and ended up with about 6-7 hours of use. That said, I was mainly keen to use it on a desk near a power point, and given the creator market it’s aimed at, it’s likely going to be where it’s used.

I am disappointed with the lack of biometric authentication with Windows Hello. There isn’t a compatible webcam nor a fingerprint reader, so you can’t use Windows Hello to access your machine. Given the price range the ConceptD 7 is in, this is a bit of a missed opportunity.

The user experience on the ConceptD 7 is decent from the get-go. There’s the usual Windows 10 installation that includes relatively little bloatware, a surprise from other laptops I’ve had come across my desk. This leads to an incredibly smooth and responsive Windows experience overall.

The Windows experience is by and large similar to one you’ll get from most big box manufacturers these days. You get Windows 10, then you’ll need to spend an hour or so cleaning off everything you don’t want like Norton, or the pre-installed games, but it’s overall fairly clean and did come with Firefox installed, so no need to even load Edge!

I had occasion to factory reset the laptop and it performed like a champ. It was quick, hassle free and I was back to a clean, fresh install in no time. 

Should you buy one?
The ConceptD 7 is aimed at creatives and professionals, so it’s more visually appealing and higher specced than models normally found in their business range, but it’s not so over-bearing and visually in your face as their Predator line, but it does borrow some of that Predator spirit for a powerful, well specced and designed machine.

The 4K display in particular is a big seller for anyone in the graphics or design industry, or anyone who just appreciates a colour accurate display. There’s enough grunt available to perform tasks related to those industries as well.

The ConceptD 7 offers a lot, and while the battery life wasn’t the greatest, I’ve seen far worse and it’s other assets give that balance. The price is about where you’d expect for the design and specs, and while we all want things cheaper, sometimes you need to pay that little bit extra, but with the ConceptD 7 you’ll be rewarded.

Acer ConceptD 7 Review: Big and Beautiful
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