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Acer ConceptD 5 Pro review: Beauty lies within

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £2700

It’s fast and includes a brilliant 4K screen, but a couple of niggles mean it falls short of top marks


  • Impressive performance
  • Great storage and memory
  • Great screen quality


  • Ugly design
  • Poor battery life

The Acer ConceptD 5 Pro has one aim: to tackle high-end creative tasks such as 4K video editing, photo editing and professional design. It isn’t here to dazzle you with its looks, but the sturdy magnesium alloy shell, subtle logos and neatly angled corners deliver a fine first impression. However, its angular exhaust vents at the rear look out of place on a professional machine.

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Acer ConceptD 5 Pro review: Design

The Acer tips the scales at 2.5kg and measures 23mm thick, which might lead you to expect bundles of connections. While there are three USB-A slots, only two are USB 3.1 with the third using the slower USB 2 standard. The full-size HDMI output and single USB-C port are welcome, but there’s no Thunderbolt 3, no card reader and no fingerprint reader. What you do get is fast network connections, with a Gigabit Ethernet and a Wi-Fi 6 chip.

I like the keyboard too, with the large chassis giving Acer room to include a number pad without making layout compromises. The buttons have ample travel and speed, and they’re pleasingly quiet. With a large, smooth trackpad that has full gesture support, and two responsive buttons, it’s a nice combination.

Acer enhances the ConceptD’s ergonomics with a 4K 15.6in screen. A density level of 282ppi translates into tremendous detail and crispness – and there’s room for multiple windows. Plus, its Delta E of 1.9 is below the point where human eyes can detect colour accuracy deviations, so colours will be near-perfect. That’s paired with a temperature of 6,329K, which is close enough to the 6,500K ideal to avoid any issues.

Acer’s screen returned sRGB and Adobe RGB gamut coverage levels of 99.8% and 98.9%, so designers can easily work in both of these colour spaces. A brightness level of 385cd/m2 is high enough for anything, the black level of 0.26cd/m2 is suitably deep, and the contrast ratio of 1,480:1 is sufficient to deliver depth, vibrancy and accurate images in any situation. Don’t expect similarly high standards from the speakers: they pack plenty of volume but the mid-range is muddy and the bass minimal.

READ NEXT: Apple MacBook Pro (2018) review

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro review: Performance

The Acer’s graphical grunt comes from the Quadro RTX 3000 – a professional chip that uses Nvidia’s latest Turing architecture and delivers performance similar to the consumer RTX 2070 GPU. The RTX 3000 has 6GB of dedicated memory and 2,304 stream processors. As it’s a professional chip, it has ISV certification – meaning dozens of prominent professional applications are tested to ensure they run smoothly.

The professional GPU is joined by the powerful six-core Core i7-9750H. Its base and boost speeds of 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz are excellent, enabling rapid performance in Single-threaded scenarios, such as Office, web browsers and some photo-editing apps. The Acer’s overall benchmark score of 171 means it will have no problem handling photo editing, video work and design tools. But the CPU throttled to 2.4GHz after a short period of 100% load, and a full-system stress test saw the CPU throttle to 1.5GHz.

However, you’re only going to need more power if you’re running intense 4K video tools, database applications or CAD software. And note the Quadro RTX 3000 GPU scored 191fps in the Cinebench OpenGL test, which is fantastic: the RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 tend to score around 120fps and 110fps respectively in the same test.

Acer bolsters the core components with 32GB of RAM, while the main boot drive is created by two 512GB SSDs in a RAID0 array that provide 952GB of formatted space – alongside chart-topping read and write speeds of 3,514MB/sec and 3,153MB/sec. Just note that RAID0 means speed rather than failover capabilities: if one SSD fails, all data goes with it. Fortunately, you can add a hard disk up to 2GB in size.

While there’s a pleasing lack of fan noise, even when the ConceptD is pushed, it only lasted 5hrs 14mins in our battery rundown tests, which is roughly three hours less than the equivalent Apple MacBook Pro. This isn’t unusual for a high-performance machine (especially one with a 4K screen), but it means you will need to recharge after a hard morning’s work.

The Acer ConceptD 5 Pro offers lashings of power thanks to its pro-level GPU, Core i7 CPU and impressive storage and memory – so it can tackle virtually any work task, from tough photo-editing and design to 4K video editing. Elsewhere, the 4K screen is fantastic, but the ConceptD 5 Pro falters when it comes to battery life and thermal performance.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro review: Verdict

The Acer is only middling on the outside, too. Its keyboard and trackpad are good, but it’s certainly not the most stylish workstation laptop around. That accolade surely goes to the MacBook Pro, but beefing up its specification to match the Acer costs £3,045, excluding VAT. Consequently, if performance is more important to you than looks, the Acer ConceptD 5 Pro is a firm contender.

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