Acer: 2019 Brand Report Card
After a solid 4th place showing in 2018, Acer fell a few spots this year. The company made some strong innovations heading into 2019 (including the impossibly slim Acer Swift 7), and continues to offer one of the best overall selections around, with mainstream and gaming machines for every budget.
However, Acer’s laptops had mixed results in our reviews this year, and we found some of the company’s recent designs to be lacking. And while Acer’s technical support is solid overall, we had some issues getting help over the web and via social media. The company still offers some of the best laptops around, but these shortcomings kept Acer from surpassing many of its competitors in 2019.
Acer’s Key Strengths
- Excellent value and selection. Acer’s laptop lineup truly has something for everyone, from entry-level machines like the Acer Chromebook 15 and Acer Aspire E15, to speedy ultrabooks like the Acer Swift 7 and mammoth gaming machines such as the Predator Triton 500.
- An eye towards innovation. Acer continues to push the envelope when it comes to laptop designs, delivering the thinnest laptop ever in the Acer Swift 7 and the multi-mode design of the Triton 900.
- Good customer support (over the phone). Acer’s phone agents proved swift and reliable in our recent tech support testing, providing accurate answers in a timely manner.
Acer’s Key Weaknesses
- Mixed quality: Acer’s bountiful lineup had mixed results in our reviews, with only five of the 20 Acer laptops we reviewed scoring 4 stars or better.
- Some dated designs: The dull plastic looks of laptops like the Spin 3 and E 15 could use a facelift.
Top Rated Acer Laptops
- Best Design: Acer Swift 7
- Best Premium Gaming Laptop: Acer Predator Triton 500
- Incredible Value: Acer Aspire E 15
Acer continues to offer some of our favorite budget and mainstream laptops, but the company struggled this year on the whole. Not one of the 20 laptops we reviewed were Editor's Choice picks, and only five of them received a 4-star rating. Acer laptops averaged a score of 3.4 stars, the lowest of any brand we tested.
Despite Acer's lackluster grades, there are a few standout laptops in its ranks. The Aspire E 15 remains a top pick on our Best Laptops under $500 rankings, thanks to its long battery life and decent performance. Another top budget laptop, the Swift 1, has a slim aluminum chassis and a wide range of ports. Acer also proved this year that it could compete in the premium and gaming space with the incredibly thin Swift 7 and Predator Triton 500.
When it comes to design, Acer is truly like that proverbial box of chocolates. For the creme de la creme of what the company has to offer, take a gander at the Swift 7 and Swift 5. A pair of ultra-svelte laptops, the Swifts pushed the portability envelope with their sleek, aluminum, barely-there dimensions. The company wasn't afraid to bring its mantra of thin to its gaming laptops, like the Predator Triton 500.
Acer will also play with colors. The company is ditching the tired red-and-black gaming laptop palette for the eye-catching turquoise and black as seen on the Predator Helios 300 and the white-and-gold Predator Helios 300 Special Edition. The company even had some color leftover for the Chromebook 11, giving it a striking indigo-blue finish. From there, you have the lovely Chromebook 13, which sports an aluminum chassis and a special hinge to raise the keyboard ever so slightly for a more comfortable typing experience.
But for every delectable chocolate truffle, there's a coconut or molasses disaster waiting to wreck the flavor profile. For Acer, these are its plastic-clad laptops like the Spin 3, the Chromebook Spin 11 and the Aspire E 15, which we love for their price and specs, but the bulky, boring design leaves much to be desired.
Acer's phone-based support system did better than it's done in years, delivering correct answers to all of our questions in a quick and friendly manner. If only its other representatives, working its social media and live chat channels, held up their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, those agents failed at providing the solutions our undercover support agents needed, proving quite frustrating.
Acer pays for the shipping when it sends fixed laptops back to users, but you're the one who's paying to get your notebook to their depots. Acer laptops come with a single-year warranty, and you can pay $60 to $189 for an additional one to three years of warranty protection, with the high-end option including accidental-damage protection. For even more money, your plan can include on-site service.
Acer is innovating on multiple fronts, especially ultraportable laptops and gaming systems. The Acer Swift 7 is a stunning design achievement, as the machine's 0.35-inch frame makes it the thinnest laptop in the world. You also get built-in LTE and over 9 hours of battery life. And this system keeps cool, thanks to an ultrathin, 0.03-inch heat pipe.
Two Acer gaming laptops grabbed our attention, starting with the Predator Triton 900. With the Ezel Aero hinge, you can use easily switch between multiple modes, and Acer is bringing this design to the Concept D9 laptop for creative pros. The upcoming Acer Predator Helios boasts a HyperDrift keyboard, which slides forward to improve cooling and performance.
Value and Selection (14/15)
Acer sells a wide variety of laptops across the spectrum, from budget to premium. For just $179, the Acer Chromebook 15, which features a full metal chassis and a sharp 1080p display. There’s also the detachable Acer One 10 for $218 and the $329 Acer Aspire E15, which offers an 8th Gen Core i3 CPU and great battery life.
If you're looking for a mainstream laptop, look into the Acer Spin 3 ($599), which boasts a strong Core i5 and long battery life, all packed into a 2-in-1 design with decent speakers. There’s also the Aspire R15, available for $799 and the Aspire 7 ($918). On the premium end, you’ve got the hybrid Switch 7 Black Edition ($1,699) and Acer Swift 7 ($1,699) that slides in at just 0.4 inches thin and comes with a surprisingly comfortable keyboard and a gorgeous 14-inch display.
MORE: Best Acer Laptops
Acer also has a decent selection of gaming laptops. They range from affordable, like the convertible $649 Nitro Spin 5 and the Nitro 5 ($719), to exorbitantly expensive, like the Predator Triton 500 ($1,999). But before you crack open your wallet, let’s examine the mid-tier options. For $999, you can get the Predator Helios 300, or pay $1,199, for its snazzier-looking cousin, the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition, which comes packed with a strong 8th Gen Core i7 processor and an overclockable Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, a colorful 15.6-inch display, and a remarkably cool chassis.
The only thing that Acer is really missing is a workstation-class notebook, but the company is taking steps to change that with its ConceptD series. And it looks like the company is looking to court business users once again, bringing back the TravelMate X3 ($999).