Hands-on Acer ConceptD 7 Review: MacBook Pro-Beating Specs for Less
The Acer ConceptD 7 and ConceptD 5 represent the company's first true attempt to challenge the 15-inch MacBook Pro head-on.
I had a chance to go hands-on with both systems at Acer's launch event and came away impressed with their displays -- and comfier keyboards with actual travel -- but the designs didn't quite wow me.
Acer ConceptD 7 and ConceptD 5 Specs
|Acer ConceptD 7||Acer ConceptD 5|
|Display||15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS display||15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS display|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i7||8th Gen Intel Core i7/i5|
|RAM||Up to 16GB, upgradable to 32GB||Up to 16GB|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q or Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060||AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL|
|Storage||Up to 1TB SSD||Up to 1TB SSD|
|Size and Weight||14.1 x 10 x 0.7 inches, 4.6 pounds||14.1 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches, 3.3 pounds|
|Ports||Ethernet, USB 3.1 (3), Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort 1.4||USB Type-C, USB 3.1 (3), HDMI, SD card reader|
Acer Concept D7 and D5 Pricing and Availability
The Acer ConceptD 5 will be available in April for $1,699 and Europe in July starting at €1,699 while the ConceptD 7 will cost $2,299 in the U.S. and go on sale in April and run €2,299 in Europe come July.
Both the ConceptD 5 and ConceptD 7 boast one of the best displays in their class, a 15.6-inch 4K display that is Pantone-validated. In person the panels looked colorful if not super bright, and the matte finish resists glare. The bezels are fairly narrow but not XPS 13 thin.
What you don't get is touch support, but that's not a big trade-off given the target audience.
Serious Power without the Noise
The Acer ConceptD 5 packs an 8th-gen Core i5 or i7 processor and AMD Radeon RX vega M GL graphics, so it should provide enough muscle for less demanding creative pros. The ConceptD 7 is the true powerhouse here, which steps things up to a 9th-gen Core i7 CPU and Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, though you can start with a RTX 2060 GPU.
The best part is that, unlike the sometimes-noisy MacBook Pro, Acer promises that each of these ConceptD machines operate with little to no noise. You can expect less than 40 decibels, compared to 46.8 dB for Apple's laptop.
Given how much Acer is charging for the Concept D7 and D5, I was hoping for a bit more premium of a look and feel. Don't get me wrong. These systems are fairly sleek. The metal chassis is made of magnesium alloy on the top and palm rest and magnesium-lithium alloy on the bottom.
It's all covered with a white paint job that looks clean and creative pro-ish, but it's just not that striking a look. The only real flair are the tapered front edges.
The Concept D5 is fairly light for a 15-inch laptop at just 3.3 pounds, while the D7 is a heftier 4.6 pounds.
Keyboard and Ports
Given all the complaints Apple has faced with is MacBook Pro keyboards, Acer didn't need to do much to win in this category. But I do like that the keys felt fairly snappy during my brief hands on; there's definitely more travel here than on the MacBook Pro. The touchpad is nice and roomy, too, and seemed responsive.
The port selection on the D5 includes a USB Type-C port, three regular size USB 3.1 ports (huzzah!), along with an SD Card reader. The MacBook Pro makes due with just Thunderbolt 3.
The Concept D7 adds a MiniDisplay Port and Ethernet but loses the SD Card slot.
Make no mistake. The Concept D line is a gamble for Acer, but it was also new to the gaming arena before it made a splash with its Predator and Nitro lines. The specs of the Concept D5 and D7 look good for the money, but we'll have to see how well these systems perform in our labs and in the real world before we can say whether Apple should be worried.