Acer's ConceptD 3 Ezel laptop takes a very flexible approach, with a special hinge that opens, flips and folds the laptop into six convertible positions, facing either front or rear. It's the latest in Acer's ConceptD series of laptops that showcase unique approaches for creative users. It's an impressive laptop, offering high performance and stylish good looks, with an emphasis on versatility and ease of use. It's aimed at "pro" users, so it's not cheap, but creative professionals should find it good value.
What's special about the ConceptD 3 Ezel?
The unique Ezel hinge offers multi-position flexibility.
We tried out the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel (CC314-72G-7513) courtesy of Acer to see what you get in a designer's laptop and found it to be a powerful and highly versatile workhorse.
The 3 Ezel is designed for creative workers such as illustrators, video editors, interior designers and anybody who works intensively with graphics.
As such, it's a very good looking laptop, but the 3 Ezel is not only pretty, it's pretty tough, too. A new Micro-Arc Oxidation process gives ceramic hardness, strength and corrosion resistance to the metal surfaces, and makes it stain resistant. Acer says the magnesium-aluminium alloy body is 20% lighter than aluminium and nearly twice as durable.
It's fast, tough, cool, quiet and the battery should last you all day even under heavy workload
The build quality is sturdy, but we do think the corners of the base are a tad too pointy. They can tend to dig in to your hands if you're not mindful of the way you rest them on the palm rest, or when picking up and carrying the laptop while it's open.
How fast is the 3 Ezel?
As you'd expect for a laptop aimed at designers and professionals who work with graphics, the 3 Ezel is very fast. In fact, it showcased the second-highest performance score we've seen in our laptops testing.
Our 14-inch model included 16GB (gigabytes) of memory and a six-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H processor, which produced an overall excellent score in our performance tests.
Performance is about much more than just a powerful CPU – you also need fast storage and graphics support. The 1TB (terabyte) solid-state drive (SSD) was particularly quick, making the laptop feel highly responsive, while the pixel-pushing grunt of the 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card was also much stronger than what you'll find on mainstream laptops.
Overall performance was the second-highest we've seen in our laptop testing
High performance was what we expected, as this laptop was designed to do a lot of the heavy number crunching demanded by professional graphics software. Of course, heavy processing means more heat, but the 3 Ezel's dual fans pushed out that extra warmth while keeping noise down. Acer claims it's under 40 decibels, and although we didn't measure it, the fan produced little more than a murmur.
Battery life is good too. Acer claims up to 18 hours of battery life, but if you really want to push it with demanding work, then of course that figure will dive considerably. However, in our heavy-usage test of continual Full HD video playback at maximum brightness we achieved a good result with the battery lasting just over seven hours. This means it should see even demanding users through a full day of work.
Screen and keyboard
The soft-amber backlit keys are a joy to type on, while the Corning Gorilla Glass trackpad is smooth and accurate.
The 4096-level pressure-sensitive Acer Active Stylus, which is stored in the base, gives a claimed 90 minutes of precision use with just 15 seconds of charge. The built-in button gives you the options of the right-click functionality of a mouse, and an eraser function.
The 14-inch matte screen is Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) with a measured brightness of 327nits, and for designers who need industry-standard correct colour, the anti-glare Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen offers 100% sRGB colour gamut, Delta E <2 colour accuracy, and is a PANTONE Matching System (PMS) Validated display.
The anti-glare Full HD screen is Gorilla Glass for toughness and calibrated for industry-standard colour accuracy
The keyboard feels luxurious to use and is backlit. However, the backlight colour is amber, and it bleeds through the edges of the keys. This can make it look a bit messy, as the edges of the keys are more defined than the lettering, depending on how dim the room is. But this isn't a deal-breaker by any means.
The keys themselves feel soft to press, but with crisp responsiveness, and very good 1.55mm key travel, and are not at all loud. The Corning Gorilla Glass trackpad is huge, and not only felt smooth, but performed smoothly and accurately in our tests. There's also a fingerprint reader built into the power button for one-touch logon.
What connection ports does the 3 Ezel have?
Creative types often connect a lot of equipment to their computer and the 3 Ezel has plenty of ports to do so. There's an SD 7.0 Card Reader, two USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A ports, plus high-speed Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C), Mini DisplayPort, full-sized HDMI, plus Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).
The downside of having all this versatility is that the laptop body is 28mm thick and weighs 1778g (laptop only). There's an extra 464g for the power supply – a total of 2242g. That's fairly hefty and while it's a laptop and thus portable, in most cases you'll be using it while it's sitting on a desktop.
Sure, you can carry it around as a tablet, but not for too long as it will start to feel heavy. Prolonged tablet use is best done while it's resting on a table. A nice inclusion is that you can secure it with a cable connected to the built-in Kensington Security Slot.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.