Hands-on with the Acer ConceptD 5 and its 16:10 Pantone-Validated screen
Acer held its annual [email protected] event today. It was held virtual, of course, instead of its usual venue in New York City. One thing that didn’t stray from the norm is that the company refreshed pretty much its entire line of products. There are new business laptops, gaming PCs, a thin and light Swift X, a sustainable PC called the Aspire Vero, and of course, new ConceptD notebooks for creators. Acer was kind enough to send over a couple of its ConceptD products for us to check out, including the ConceptD 5.
One of the ones that it sent over is the new ConceptD laptop with the SpatialLabs Stereoscopic 3D display, and it’s pretty cool. You can find out more about that here. The other one that Acer sent over was the ConceptD 5, something that’s a bit more par for the course. And when I say par for the course, it’s still awesome; it’s just not going nuts with a 3D display that doesn’t even require glasses.
There are a few things that are notable about this laptop. One is that it comes with Intel’s 11th-generation H-series processors. While the unit that Acer sent me has NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, the Pro model comes with up to an RTX A5000. We won’t be talking about that today though. This is a pre-production unit, which means no performance talk.
The Acer ConceptD 5 has a 16-inch 16:10 display
The ConceptD 5 has a 16-inch 3,072×1,920 screen, and that’s something that we can talk about. It has an 87% screen-to-body ratio, so around that screen are narrow bezels. It’s one of the more immersive experiences that I’ve seen on a ConceptD. There’s no touch, and if you want that, you should probably be looking at one of the convertible Ezel models.
The screen, as usual, looks good. Acer always puts a lot of work into color accuracy when it comes to the ConceptD series. I also really love how this feels with narrow bezels.
Let’s get to the good stuff now. According to my testing, it gets 100% sRGB, 89% NTSC, 91% Adobe RGB, and 99% P3. This is a very good display. Still, none of that is a surprise for a ConceptD.
Indeed, the one thing that differentiates the Acer ConceptD 5 from the rest of the lineup is that the display is 16:10. At 16 inches, this display is significantly larger than a 15.6-inch 16:9 display. You have to remember that screens are measured diagonally, so the closer that the aspect ratio gets to square, the more surface area you’re going to get.
Compared to a 15.6-inch 16:9 display, the 16-inch 16:10 display is much taller, and close to the same width. It’s pretty great, especially if you don’t want to sacrifice width in favor of height.
Acer ConceptD 5 design: More of the same, but that’s okay
In most reviews, I talk about the design first because it’s the first thing that you see. This is more of a hands-on since there are aspects that I can’t cover, so I talked about the display, which is the differentiator. What I’m getting at is that if you’re already familiar with the usual ConceptD design, you can probably skip this. The Acer ConceptD 5 isn’t designed all that different than most of the company’s creator laptops.
It comes in white and black, just like many of Acer’s ConceptD notebooks. The model that the company sent me is black, and it’s actually my first black review unit. The other ConceptD units that I’ve had have been white, and I think white is my preference. There’s something cleaner about that all-white look. But of course, that’s why we have a choice in life.
It has the selection of ports that you’d expect from a machine like this. There are dual USB Type-A ports and even dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. Both are present one on each side, which is awesome as there are plenty of instances when it’s more convenient to plug something into one side and not the other.
Taking a look at the keyboard, it has the familiar orange backlight. This is something that I appreciate on a weird level, because it’s just a backlight. Obviously, most machines have a white backlight. Gaming laptops tend to have colored backlights, if not RGB lighting. The orange is subtle, so it doesn’t look flashy like a gaming laptop would.
Another thing that’s weird is just how much the Acer ConceptD design language is burned into my mind. There’s so much about the product that makes me feel like it’s what I’d expect from it. The only thing is, ConceptD has only been around for a couple of years. The fact that so much about it has stuck with me probably speaks to how good the design is, or at least how much I like the design.
I’ll tell you one thing that I don’t like though: the fingerprint sensor. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, but I really don’t like it when companies put the fingerprint sensor in the touchpad. Note that it doesn’t serve as a touchpad when it’s not in use. If it gets in your way, the cursor stops moving. Honestly, I don’t understand why companies do this.
The whole idea of a creator laptop is somewhat new. Up until a few years ago when Acer launched products like its ConceptD brand and others did the same, and when NVIDIA started pushing “Studio laptops”, you’d just buy a gaming laptop if you wanted something for editing video. After all, the internal hardware really isn’t different. You’re still getting that 45W CPU and dedicated graphics.
But when you start looking at making laptops for creators, a few things happen. For one thing, the design changes. You stop looking for the laptop to look cool and flashy and you start looking to make it more minimal. You’re not going to boring and mainstream though; it has to feel modern and sleek to fit into an office aesthetic. Acer ConceptD pulls this off nicely.
Another thing that changes between a gaming laptop and a creator laptop is the display. No longer are you trying to sacrifice pixels in exchange for a higher refresh rate. Indeed, gaming displays will sacrifice plenty in exchange for low latency and high refresh rates. For creator laptops, resolution and color accuracy is king.
The Acer ConceptD 5 does all of this. I realize that I can’t look at this as a complete picture because this is a pre-production unit, but speaking as someone who has reviewed ConceptD laptops and knows what to expect, along with seeing what’s new here like this beautiful display, the Acer ConceptD 5 is going to be pretty awesome.
The Acer ConceptD 5 is coming to North America in August and EMEA in July, starting at $1,999.99 and €2,199, respectively.