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Acer ConceptD 9 review: Drawing easel, meet workstation

Acer ConceptD 9 evaluation: Drawing easel, meet workstation

“The Acer ConceptD 9 is quick and revolutionary with its easel hinge, however it may’t match different moveable workstations in both energy or portability.”

  • Beautiful 4K display screen
  • Wacom pen help
  • Progressive easel hinge design
  • Improbable efficiency
  • Large, heavy chassis
  • Not as highly effective as a real workstation
  • Awkward keyboard and touchpad

If anybody appreciates glossy, skinny laptops, it’s artists and designers. They know a svelte product once they see one. The issue? These choices usually don’t have the ability some inventive professionals really want.

Enter the ConceptD 9, a beast of a workstation by Acer. Not solely is highly effective with its thick chassis and eight-core Core i9 processor, it additionally options an revolutionary easel hinge that converts right into a digital drawing desk. It doesn’t even fake to be moveable, weighing practically ten kilos. At $5,000, it doesn’t fake to be low cost, both.

It’s a distinct segment product, little question, however is the ConceptD 9 something greater than an attention-grabbing idea?

For artists, by engineers

My first response after I grabbed the field on the FedEx retailer was, “Man, this factor is heavy!” I’ve been reviewing so many ultrabooks that are available at lower than three kilos, with just a few 15-inch laptops that exceed 4 kilos, that the ConceptD 9 felt like a ton of bricks. That simply can’t be a laptop computer, I believed.

However it was. I opened up the packaging, unboxed the machine, and yep: It was nearly 10 kilos of steel, glass, and plastic (exactly, 9.48 kilos). A lot of that weight is the 17.Three-inch show (with huge bezels), and I’m positive a lot of it’s also the hinge meeting that lets the display screen flip out into a really versatile easel mode that enables for any angle from 90 levels all the way down to about 20 levels — good for artists to attract on.

You received’t use this beast in your lap, nor will you pop it in a backpack and take it to a espresso store.

The ConceptD 9 is so much just like the Microsoft Floor Studio on this regard, solely smaller. And arguably, it’s a greater machine as a result of it’s much more highly effective than Microsoft’s providing. In brief, the ConceptD 9 doesn’t fake to be something aside from what it’s. It’s a transportable inventive workstation meant for individuals who will likely be modifying high-resolution pictures and movies, doing 3D work in functions like AutoCAD, and, most particularly, portray on the display screen utilizing the Wacom lively pen.

The easel movement is definitely neat. It’s not fairly as intuitive as on the Floor Studio, but it surely’s a lot easy. Simply flip up the underside of the show and pull it to your required angle. It could possibly pull all the way down to nearly flat (with simply the precise last angle for easy drawing). This does, nevertheless, cowl the keyboard and touchpad.

Artists who wish to draw immediately onto the display screen ought to love this. They’ll additionally love the included Wacom pen. It comes with four,096 ranges of strain sensitivity, and just like the Floor Studio the pen is magnetic and attaches to the show — on this case, up high. The show additionally holds agency in no matter angle you place it, that means which you could draw on it with confidence whether or not it’s at 90 levels or all the way in which prolonged.

Will artists desire this to a PC and Wacom pill? Maybe. Just like the Floor Studio, you’re drawing immediately on the canvas. Having all that in a single place is an attraction as effectively. Although, the pliability of getting a pure drawing area and a display screen for toolbars and menus would require some adjustment.

Connectivity is a energy, with Acer making use of the out there area to slot in a USB-C port with Thunderbolt Three, a USB-C Three.1 port, two USB-A Three.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-A 2.zero port, an HDMI 2.zero port supporting HDCP, a DisplayPort 1.four, and a gigabit Ethernet port. A Killer 1650 802.11ax Wi-Fi radio supplies for Wi-Fi 6 help, and Bluetooth 5.zero is on board.

A powerhouse, however not a real workstation

After all, the promise of the ConceptD 9 was by no means simply an attention-grabbing kind issue. It was uncooked efficiency, too. The ConceptD 9 lives as much as that promise, together with as much as a Core i9-9880HK processor, as much as 32GB of RAM, and an RTX 2080 graphics card. That’s an insane quantity of energy, whatever the measurement of the laptop computer.

That’s, until you examine it to an precise 17-inch workstation like the HP ZBook 17, the Dell Precision 7740 Cell Workstation, and the Lenovo ThinkPad P73 Cell Workstation. These laptops don’t have the distinctive easel design of the ConceptD 9, however they do provide barely extra highly effective Intel Xeon CPUs as an possibility. A few of these workstations, such because the ZBook, provide as much as 128GB of RAM. The ConceptD 9 tops out at 32GB, which is a big disadvantage.

Not that the ConceptD 9 is gradual, by any means. In comparison with quick 15-inch laptops like Dell’s XPS 15 and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2, the ConceptD 9 is kind of aggressive.

It churned by means of our Handbrake check that encodes a 420 megabyte (MB) video in simply 1 minute and 52 seconds. The XPS 15 with the identical CPU took 1 minute and 42 seconds whereas the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 took 1 minute and 58 seconds. The Apple MacBook 16, additionally with the Core i9-9980HK sits proper in between the 2.

Solely the ZenBook Professional Duo was considerably quicker at 1 minute and 19 seconds. Outdoors of the ZenBook, which was a outstanding 32% quicker, there was solely a 12% distinction between the quickest laptop computer (the XPS 15) and the ConceptD 9. We haven’t examined probably the most highly effective Xeon-equipped laptops, however we anticipate that they’d be not less than barely faster than all however the ZenBook.

It’s quick, however you’re shopping for the ConceptD 9 for its uncommon design, not for its efficiency alone.

To measure real-life efficiency, I additionally ran a video modifying check utilizing Adobe Premiere that rendered a two-minute 4K video to ProRes 422. The ConceptD 9 banged by means of it simply over two and a half minutes, in comparison with the virtually 5 minutes that the XPS 15 took.

The ZenBook Professional Duo was the earlier velocity king at three minutes and 4 seconds, but it surely fell behind the Acer probably due to it’s slower RTX 2060 graphics playing cards. Not like with the Handbrake check, there was a really important distinction between the ConceptD 9 (which was the quickest on this case) and the XPS 15 (the slowest): the ConceptD 9 was a full 47% quicker.

Subsequent up is the GPU, and right here the ConceptD 9 additionally departs from the everyday workstation design. It makes use of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Studio Version with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, which is a high-speed GPU on the high of the everyday laptop computer heap. The Studio Version moniker refers back to the drivers being ISV-certified, that means they’re assured to be steady with functions like Adobe’s suite, AutoCAD, and different skilled functions.

That’s all to the great, and like all drivers, they need to be saved up-to-date. I acquired a pleasant velocity bump as soon as I up to date the drivers on the ConceptD 9.

However the RTX 2080 isn’t as quick in these functions because the highest-end Nvidia Quadro GPUs you will get within the typical workstation, such because the comparatively new Quadro RTX 5000 with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. That implies that whereas the ConceptD 9 is quick and steady in its goal functions, it’s not essentially as quick as you’ll discover should you go together with a extra conventional workstation possibility. You’re shopping for the ConceptD 9 for its uncommon design, subsequently, not essentially for its efficiency alone.

You additionally shouldn’t buy the ConceptD 9 has a devoted gaming laptop computer. Wanting on the specs, you may be tempted to, although. It carried out admirably in all the things we examined, from Fortnite to Murderer’s Creed: Odyssey. The issue is the display screen is locked at 60Hz, that means these excessive body charges received’t do you a lot good right here. Some gaming on the facet, although? Completely.

The show lives as much as its billing

The ConceptD 9 wants a wonderful show to be a worthy alternative for its goal market. It wants a large coloration gamut and correct colours to please photograph and video editors, and it must be high-resolution, too. Thankfully, that’s exactly the 4K (Three,840 x 2,160) IPS show that Acer sourced and calibrated for the machine.

In keeping with my colorimeter, the show is fairly shiny at 353 nits and has a wonderful distinction ratio at 1000:1. That’s behind the XPS 15 and MacBook Professional 16, and certain struggles to compete with different moveable workstations that may tout 400 nits or brightness and better distinction. However, they’re nonetheless good outcomes that make for a nice display screen for all-around use.

Colours are extra of a energy, although. Acer’s IPS show hits 94% of AdobeRGB and 98% of sRGB. It additionally boasts a implausible coloration accuracy of zero.61. Something lower than 1.zero is taken into account glorious, and that is among the many greatest outcomes we’ve seen. The XPS 15 with its OLED show presents a barely wider coloration gamut, however it may’t match the Acer’s coloration accuracy, whereas the MacBook Professional 16 solely beats out the ConceptD 9 by hitting 100 % of sRGB.

Acer selected an excellent show that lives as much as the wants of its inventive goal market. That’s an actual energy.

It’s not a lot of a laptop computer

On the identical time, the design isn’t very well-suited for the everyday laptop computer consumer. Take the keyboard, for instance. It’s a wonderful mechanical keyboard that provides unusually snappy keystrokes that present a number of the greatest suggestions you’ll discover in a laptop computer.

However there’s additionally no palm relaxation, due to a lot area taken up above the keyboard by the system’s thermal design. Acer went to nice pains to make this a quiet machine even when it’s underneath full load, they usually largely succeeded. However doing so means leaving no area for a palm relaxation — and that makes typing on the keyboard uncomfortable.

ConceptD 9 customers will possible use exterior keyboards and mice. It truly is that uncomfortable.

The touchpad can also be unusually positioned, to the precise of the keyboard. Once more, there’s no room beneath. The touchpad is oddly formed as effectively, being vertically oriented somewhat than horizontal. However it works effectively sufficient when you get used to it, and it presents a really Asus ZenBook-like LCD numeric keypad that’s accessible through a faucet on an icon to the upper-left of the touchpad. It’s a design that’s turn out to be acceptable in gaming laptops, however right here, it’s hardly splendid.

ConceptD 9 customers will possible find yourself utilizing exterior keyboards and mice. It truly is that uncomfortable to kind on. I wouldn’t discover the expertise passable over the long run.

No matter you’re doing, you received’t use this beast in your lap, nor will you pop it in a backpack and take it to the native espresso store. Something past repositioning to a distinct a part of your own home or from workplace to workplace might be an excessive amount of for this ten-pound chunker.

However you additionally received’t be operating it away from a plug. Acer outfitted the ConceptD 9 with solely 72 watt-hours of battery capability. By comparability, the HP ZBook 17 equips 95 watt-hours. Given the huge 4K show and highly effective elements, we weren’t anticipating a lot in the way in which of battery life. And unsurprisingly, we didn’t see it.

In our demanding Basemark check that abuses the CPU, we noticed an hour and 48 minutes, which is definitely aggressive with different high-powered laptops. Nevertheless, the 2 hours and 43 minutes we noticed in our net looking check and 5 hours in our video looping check are fairly weak. They’re aggressive with dedicating gaming laptops, and possibly that is sensible — like these machines, the ConceptD 9 simply isn’t meant for use on battery energy.

Our take

The ConceptD 9 is designed for a really particular particular person. Artistic professionals who want a comparatively highly effective moveable workstation and would profit from a show that may slide into easel mode and leverage a wonderful Wacom lively pen.

Past that, the dimensions and design of this machine make it pretty unusable as a laptop computer. That’s a really small area of interest. And even when that’s you, most inventive professionals will possible desire the flexibility of utilizing a separate Wacom pill along side a standard workstation or high-end 15-inch laptop computer.

Are there higher options?

There actually isn’t one other laptop computer or moveable workstation fairly just like the ConceptD 9. Nevertheless, as I’ve talked about, the closest rivals are actual workstations just like the HP ZBook 17, Dell Precision 7740, and Lenovo ThinkPad P73. Every of those may be outfitted with quicker Xeon CPUs and Nvidia Quadro GPUs and 4 occasions as a lot RAM. They’re additionally smaller and provide higher battery life.

Equally configured (however with Xeon and Quadro), they have an inclination to run about $1,000 greater than the ConceptD 9, however that’s not a ton of cash when you’re investing this type of money.

On the identical time, inventive professionals with much less demanding workflows might do effectively with a Dell XPS 15, a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2, or an Apple MacBook 16. You received’t get the RTX 2080 with any of them, however for anybody whose efficiency wants aren’t fairly so profound, all three of those laptops will present greater than sufficient oomph. And the Dell and Lenovo will possible find yourself costing round half of what you’ll spend on the ConceptD 9.

How lengthy will it final?

The ConceptD 9 is constructed like a tank and feels prefer it. Due to up-to-date elements, it’ll final you for years, though the industry-standard one-year guarantee will run out lengthy earlier than.

Do you have to purchase it?

No. The distinctive mixture of efficiency and drawing capabilities is neat, however there are higher options on the market for inventive professionals.

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