Acer's ConceptD 3 Ezel is a PC that's frankly, not like anything else that I've ever use, and I kind of love it. The ConceptD brand is only as old as April 2019, and it's Acer's lineup for creators, whereas before creator PCs were a popular category, those that needed that kind of power might opt for a gaming laptop. While the specs are similar, creator laptops are more optimized for things like video editing, going so far as to include special Studio drivers from Nvidia instead of the usual Game Ready drivers.
At CES this year, the firm introduced its first ConceptD Ezel, specifically the ConceptD 7 Ezel. When I saw it in person, it blew me away. After all, it was a convertible with RTX graphics, and it was beautiful.
That's why when Acer offered me its newer ConceptD 3 Ezel for review, I jumped on it. It comes in 14- and 15.6-inch sizes, has Intel H-series processors, Nvidia graphics, a display that you have to see to believe, and the unique convertible form factor that I witnessed at CES.
|CPU||10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core Processor
12MB Smart Cache, 2.6 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 5.0 GHz
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM|
|RAM||16GB onboard DDR 4 memory|
|Storage||512GB M.2 PCIe SSD|
|Thermals||2-fans, 3 heat pipes and Vortex Flow technology|
|Material||Magnesium aluminum alloy|
|Finish||Micro-Arc Oxidation that resists staining, abrasion, yellowing|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
Speaking to the overall look and feel of the ConceptD 3 Ezel, this is probably the best-looking laptop I've seen that's not made out of aluminum. First of all, it's all-white, giving it a minimal look. It has flat sides, sharp corners, and everything about gives it a modern look.
The white color is a Micro-Arc Oxidation ceramic coating, and it's resistant to dirt, felt, rubber, and more. Acer said that after 96 hours of UV exposure, the PC's finish was "impeccable". The MAO process is performed by immersing the chassis in an alkaline electrolytic bath.
Like I said, it's not made out of aluminum; instead, it's made out of a magnesium-aluminum alloy, so it's much lighter than regular aluminum but it still feels premium. It's just 3.81 pounds while still being almost an inch thick. I'd wager that this is among the lightest devices in its class, if there are even other devices in its class at all, especially for the 14-inch model. Still, Dell's XPS 15 weighs 4.5 pounds, and that's where aluminum devices usually end up when you pack in a powerful processor and dedicated graphics.
Aside from how generally pretty and pleasant this thing is, it does have a unique design that seems to be perfect for creators. It's a convertible, but not the 360-degree hinge kind. The display opens up like a regular clamshell, but then you can pop out the display to use it on an angle, or you can lie it flat to use it as a tablet.
Right in the front of the device, there's a pen garage, and I love it. It's a nice way of always having the pen with you, and always having it charge. The only downside, of course, is that it's not a full-size pen, but you can always buy any variety of third-party pens. It's just a form factor that makes it super-easy to pop out the display, break out the pen, and start writing, drawing, and more.
On the right side of the device, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports for 5Gbps data transfer speeds. Those are the only USB Type-A ports on the PC. There's also a full-size SD card reader with a tray that pops out by pressing on it, and there's a 3.5mm audio jack.
On the left side, you'll find a fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and AC power. The barrel charging port is necessary since Power Delivery can't handle the 135W needed to power this machine, and also, the USB Type-C port won't take a charge anyway. Both the HDMI 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 ports are capable of handling your high-resolution displays, which is nice given the kind of power that's under the hood.
There really is just something that's delightful about the whole design though. It doesn't sound like much given how minimal it is, but it feels sleek and modern.
Display and audio
The ConceptD 3 Ezel that Acer sent me has a 14-inch FHD display, and as you'd expect from the form factor, it supports multi-touch and pen input. As far as the resolution goes, I do think that FHD is fine in a 14-inch form factor, especially considering that battery life is an issue with powerful internals like this.
This is actually a very good display. It's Pantone validated, meaning that this PC is better than the average laptop at reproducing Pantone Matching System colors. It has a 100% sRGB color gamut and has a Delta E (a measurement of how the eye can see the difference in colors) average of <2. In other words, the colors are accurate, something that's invaluable when editing photo and video.
It's actually pretty impressive to see a display this good that has an anti-glare coating like that. Typically, matte displays just tend to look a bit more washed out, but this screen is beautiful.
Acer didn't go for tiny bezels like other companies might have. Instead, the bezels are moderately sized, still looking like they're made in 2020 but not aiming for the tiniest footprint around. As you'd expect, the webcam is above the display, but sadly, there's no IR camera for facial recognition.
The speakers sit right above the keyboard, and the dual stereo speakers sound great. For things like editing video, they sound crystal clear. Volume is impressive as well, but after reviewing the Lenovo Yoga 9i 15 with its rotating soundbar, it's just hard to compete with that.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard on the ConceptD 3 Ezel uses standard Chiclet-style keys, and I quite like it. In fact, let's take this time to point out that almost everything about this PC seems like it was designed by a different company. The keyboard has full-size up and down keys, whereas it usually crams them into the same row as the left and right keys. The fingerprint sensor is on the side instead of next to the touchpad. It all just seems better.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best Acer keyboard that I've ever used. Not just because it's a more modern design for the keys, which is long overdue, or that it's actually very comfortable and accurate for typing, but also because it's pretty. It's got the white keys that match the rest of the laptop, but it's also got this unique orange backlight.
Obviously, most keyboard backlights are white, and then you'll see different colors on gaming laptops. The orange complements the white chassis in a way that's visually appealing. I really do feal like every bit of the design was well thought-out. I've always felt like Acer makes some solid PCs, if not always the best, but this is next-level stuff.
The Microsoft Precision touchpad is great as well. It's larger than what you'd find on most PCs, actually taking advantage of the available real estate. This is one of my biggest touchpad complaints of other laptops, simply that they could have had bigger ones. The only other Windows OEM I've seen taking advantage of that space is Dell with the XPS 15, and I do like this touchpad slightly better; it's just a bit less wobbly.
Performance and battery life
The ConceptD 3 Ezel that Acer sent me includes an Intel Core i7-10750H and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR6 memory. They're actually pretty much the same specs as the Lenovo Yoga 9i 15 that I reviewed earlier this week.
You can use this laptop for just about anything. Most of what I focused on with the ConceptD 3 Ezel was photo and video editing, using apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro. It performed like a champ, actually doing well editing 4K 60fps video, although choking up quite a bit if I tried to do anything while rendering it.
But you can use it for some FHD gaming as well. Remember, this is the same GTX 1650 GPU that you'll find in an entry-level gaming PC. You can also switch between Nvidia's Game Ready and Studio drivers if you want to.
Battery life is disappointing though. With the screen brightness at about 25% and the battery slider at a notch above battery saver, I couldn't get over four hours doing regular work. With the power slider all the way up and brightness at 100%, I barely got two hours.
|Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel
Core i7-10750H, GTX 1650
|Lenovo Yoga 9i 15
Core i7-10750H, GTX 1650
|Dell XPS 15 9500
Core i7-10875H, GTX 1650Ti
|Lenovo Legion 5
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, GTX 1650 Ti
|PCMark 8: Home||3,945||3,936||3,652||3,819|
|PCMark 8: Creative||4,631||4,693||4,839||5,711|
|PCMark 8: Work||3,812||3,817||3,322||3,904|
|3DMark: Time Spy||3,058||3,643||3,743||4,150|
|Geekbench 5||1,238 / 5,081||1,232 / 5,608||1,185 / 7,971|
Note that the Core i7-10875H in the XPS 15 is octa-core with 16 threads, while the Core i7-10750H in the ConceptD 3 Ezel is hexa-core with 12 threads, although they both have a 45W TDP. In fact, AMD's H-series Ryzen 4000 processors are also 45W, and while the Ryzen 7 4800H has eight cores and 16 threads, it's built on a 7nm process while Intel is still on a 14nm process.
When I started using the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel, it was love at first use. Sure, there's no IR camera and there's no cellular connectivity, two things that I believe should be on every portable PC but you'd also never find on a machine like this one. But still, the ConceptD 3 Ezel is just a delight in every single way.
The all-white design is beautiful, sleek, and modern. It's smooth to the touch, and gives it a minimal look and feel. For graphic designers that have a modern taste, this is absolutely the laptop that they'll want to have a look at. With the Pantone validated display, powerful internals, and convertible form factor with its Ezel hinge, it adds an entirely new level of versatility to the machine.
This is one of those reviews that I almost don't want to publish because it means I can't use the PC anymore. I really did just fall in love with it almost instantly when I started using it.
And if you want to check it out, you can find it on Amazon here. Right now, you can actually get $220 off of the normal price, so it's $1,279.99.