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Acer ConceptD 5 Pro laptop review

Hands-on with a professional workstation for on-the-go

fl acer conceptd 5 pro
Last updated: 13 May 2020

CHOICE verdict

The Acer ConceptD 5 Pro is designed for professionals needing the best out of their mobile workstation. It’s technically a laptop, but the size, weight and capabilities of this powerhouse means it's more of a desktop replacement for heavy duty applications such graphic design, CAD (computer aided design), animations, simulations, video and audio editing and other programs that need serious number-crunching power. But it's still easier to cart around than a desktop.

Price: $3899
Contact: acer.com/ac/en/AU/content/conceptd-series/conceptd5pro

We went hands-on with the 15.6-inch ConceptD 5 Pro courtesy of Acer to see what you can expect from a high-end laptop workstation.

Heavy duty processing power

The model we tested pulls no punches with its specification. The CPU (processor) is a 2.6GHz (gigahertz), with boost up to 4.5GHz, ninth-generation Intel Core i7-9750H with six cores and 16 threads. There's 32GB (gigabytes) of RAM (memory) and 2TB (terabytes) of main hard drive storage plus a 512GB system SSD for fast start-ups. 

The screen and keyboard are designed for long sessions of serious work

Overall, it's fairly slim for such a hefty beast. It weighs in at 2250g for the laptop, plus another 450g for the power supply, which you'll probably need to take with you since we only got 3.5 hours out of a battery charge in our heavy usage test. Charging is fast though – we found it took just over an hour to charge it to 80%.

Screen 

The 15.6-inch screen is impressive, with the high-resolution and colour fidelity that professionals expect. It offers 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), lush colours (Pantone validated and 100% Adobe RGB colour accurate), plenty of depth, high detail, and excellent contrast and brightness (a measured 324 lumens). 

The viewing angles are wide and the screen's matte finish protects against glare from room lights to make it easy on the eye for long sessions of serious work.

Speed

Performance is tailored to suit professionals or well-heeled enthusiasts in design, engineering, photography, and animation, coders and anyone else who could benefit from plentiful CPU threads and heaps of RAM. The Nvidia Quadro T1000 graphics (with 4GB RAM) comes into its own with CPU-optimised software,  such as Adobe Premiere Pro, for example. Though fast, it's more for professionals than gamers.

Acer ConceptD 5 Pro open

Build quality

The body has a luxurious feel due to a deep touchpad and a plentiful palm rest area, and a very good backlit keyboard that houses a full number pad. The four-level amber backlight is easy on the eye in low light conditions, which is important for long work sessions.

We were less taken with the cut-off corners that present some pointy ends that you'll feel if you accidentally rest your wrists on them. However, a thin bezel around the screen is a nice touch. A silver trim on the touchpad's perimeter adds a bit of flash, but can reflect light, which can be slightly annoying.

We found no issues with heat or excessive noise, even when under a full CPU load. But you must use this laptop on a firm flat surface so that it can breathe properly through unobstructed vents. 

Though it has a good range of ports it lacks high-speed Thunderbolt 3

The power cable sits in an awkward place in the centre of the right side of the laptop and this means it can be in the way or hard to manage. Overall, the build feels very strong and there are no major issues. In particular, the lid felt quite strong when we flexed it.

Connectivity

Surprisingly for a high-end laptop it lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port and an SD card slot, but has relatively basic connectivity with two USB 3.0 (and a USB 2.0) and a full-sized HDMI port, plus gigabit ethernet and USB-C (Gen-1) port. The lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port is an issue if a user wants to use a high-speed dock, for example. 

On the plus side, it has the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0. We found the speakers and webcam are not as good as you might expect, considering the class of the other components and the size of the chassis.

Basically, this is a very good laptop to consider if your primary concerns are processing power and an excellent screen. It could use more modern connectivity and some more thought around connectivity, but it has a competitive price for such a capable workstation.

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