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Acer Aspire Vero (14-inch) review: A unique eco-friendly laptop

When you buy a laptop for prices close to $800, you often think about specifications and price more than anything else. Never on your mind is about how friendly your new laptop is to the environment. Or, if it’s using recycled materials and upcycled content. You just want one of the best laptops that feels premium, and will last.

Well, I was recently sent the Acer Aspire Vero for review, and after using it for a few weeks, I think it is on the other side of that story. It’s a plastic laptop and is definitely not a premium-feeling device at all. It shoves aside all the usual things I associate with the higher-end laptops that I tend to review. Instead, it is aiming to help save planet Earth. Coming with the Intel Core i7-1255U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, it’s also decent performing for everyday tasks just like other laptops of its class and other budget Acer laptops.

Instead of putting the very best display specifications and build quality first, this is a laptop that’s all about sustainability. It’s even quite upgradable, too, which is a surprise for the price of $700. It might look cheap on the surface for good reason, but it’s still a great-performing laptop that you should consider if you really care about saving the planet.

    Acer Aspire Vero

    The Acer Aspire Vero is an all-plastic eco friendly laptop that’s well performing thanks to Intel’s U-series CPUs

      Features:



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Acer Aspire Vero pricing and availability

  • The Acer Aspire Vero comes in eight different configurations on Acer.com and starts at $700
  • The 14-inch version I have for review is the highest-end model. It comes in priced at $900

You can buy the Acer Aspire Vero today in 14-inch or 15.6-inch sizes at Acer.com, or through partners like Walmart, Adorama, MicroCenter, Newegg, and Amazon. These retailers might have it cheaper than Acer.com. Acer suggests the starting price of $700 on its website, but Amazon will regularly have the laptop on sale.

There are a lot of different models you can choose from. The cheapest at $700 comes with a last-year 11th generation Intel Core i5-1155G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Adding more RAM and storage or picking a newer 12th-gen Intel Core i7 or Intel Core i5 CPU will bump your price up by a few hundred dollars, depending on the unit and screen size that you choose. Acer maxed out my model for $200 more off the base price. I got 16GB RAM, the Intel Core i7-1255U, and a 1TB SSD.

Acer Aspire Vero specs

Specs Additional Information
CPU
  • Intel Core i7-1255U processor (12 MB Smart Cache, 1.7 GHz performance-core with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 up to 4.7 GHz)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
Display
  • 14-inch IPS, FHD 1920 x 1080, 300 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio
Dimensions & weight
  • 12.94 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches & 3.31 pounds
Memory
  • 16GB of LPDDR4 RAM
Storage
  • 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Battery
  • 56 Wh 3-cell Li-ion battery
Ports
  • 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
  • 2 x USB-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.1
  • DC-in for charger (optional)
  • 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack
Audio & microphones
  • Acer TrueHarmony technology for lower distortion, wider frequency range, headphone-like audio, and powerful sound
  • Acer Purified.Voice technology with AI noise reduction in dual built-in microphones. Features include far-field pickup, dynamic noise reduction through neural network, adaptive beam forming, and pre-defined personal and conference call modes.
Connectivity
  • Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6E AX211
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless LAN
  • Supports Bluetooth 5.2 and later
Camera
  • 1080p HD video at 60 fps with Temporal Noise Reduction
Color
  • Uses a paint-free chassis no colors are used
Material
  • Recycled materials
Biometrics
  • Windows Hello fingerprint reader on the trackpad
Upgradable components
  • Yes, RAM and SSD

Design: It is plastic, and eco-friendly

  • It is made of plastic and feels really cheap for a $900 laptop
  • There are a lot of recycled materials in use
  • You’ll find a ton of ports on the device

The highlight (and also the lowlight) of the Acer Aspire Vero is definitely this design. I am quite used to reviewing laptops that are made of aluminum, magnesium, and even metal. There’s none of that to be found on the exterior of this device. It’s for good reason, though. Acer wants to keep this laptop sustainable and make it look unique, but I am not a fan of it.

For the price of $900 that my unit costs, or even the $700 introduction price, I don’t see why anyone would want to buy a cheap-feeling plastic laptop like this one. That is unless you are eco-minded and want to contribute to a cleaner, greener earth. I think laptops are intended to be premium-feeling devices.

Anyway, as much as I hate plastic laptops, there’s a lot of cool stuff to this design which makes me want to give Acer a pass. Many laptop makers are now being more eco-friendly with laptop components. HP used ocean-bound plastics in the Dragonfly, for example. And Apple uses recycled aluminum in MacBook enclosures. Acer’s taking that to the next level in more ways than one — and in newer ways other laptop makers have not.

I first noticed this first with the chassis. Unlike ThinkPads or other devices, it is paint-free and has yellow and gray freckles everywhere. Acer says this can reduce the impact of VOCs released into the environment. It’s also made of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic that’s eco-friendly and reduces landfill waste. Acer says that 50% of PCR plastic is used on the chassis, and 30% on the keycaps. Scrap material generated during production is also recycled and reused. All this helps reduce carbon emissions from making the laptop by 21%.

All of that is good, but it just feels terrible for something of this price. The laptop lid bends a lot, and pressing on the keyboard deck will make the deck bend. I never want to feel this in a laptop, especially since you can buy an all- aluminum device like a Lenovo Yoga 7i for this same price. If this was a $300 laptop, the range where you’d typically find plastic material, then I’d give Acer a pass.

This is quite a boxy laptop, too. It looks a lot more square than other Windows devices like a Lenovo ThinkPad. That’s why it’s quite thick at 0.7 inches and heavy at 3.3 pounds. Who would have thought plastic was this heavy?

There are two things about the design though — ports as well as the ability to service and upgrade. With the ports, there’s a lot to avoid dongles. The right side has a USB-A port. The left side is busy with a single Thunderbolt 4 port, HDMI, and another USB-A, then a headphone jack. That thick chassis is what likely allows Acer to include these ports.

As for the ways to upgrade. You can remove the back of the device with a regular screwdriver. That then gives access to the SSD for changing. It’s part of Acer’s vision for making this laptop reusable over time. I really like upgradability in a laptop, as it means you don’t have to stick to the specs you get at checkout.

Though I didn’t try it out, I could have swapped the SSD for another one and installed Windows from fresh. Even the internal components look easy to replace. The battery isn’t screwed or soldered down. The speakers are housed in the corners without glue, and you can easily tell which part of the laptop is for what purpose. I haven’t seen this modularity in a long time, and kudos to Acer!

Display and sound: Cramped, and dull, especially for this price

  • The 14-inch display feels cramped at times as it’s not a 16:10 aspect ratio display
  • The webcam is decent at 1080p and has software features to improve your image

When I used the Acer Aspire Vero for work, I was let down by the display. The color accuracy and brightness (it hits 267 nits of brightness) are alright but I hoped for better. For the record, it hits 70% of the Adobe RGB, 67% NTSC,  70% P3, and 92% sRGB according to my colorimeter.

These color gamuts are quite dull, especially the all-important Adobe RGB. It’s why I often found myself kicking the brightness up, to make sure scenes looked more vibrant. When I watched NASCAR highlights on YouTube with the display at a lower brightness, I missed out on a lot of things like the glimmer of the lights against the cars, or the build-up of fine rubber on the windshield. Even web browsing, the product photos I took for this review looked pretty dull on the screen if the brightness wasn’t up all the way. There’s just not a lot of contrast and black point for that.

Note that I also just came off reviewing both the HP Envy 16 and the HP ZBook Firefly G9 which have great displays. These laptops have newer 16:10 aspect ratio displays, and it made me forget about how terrible a 16:9 can be. I get that this laptop starts at $700, and a 16:10 display is considered premium, but I honestly wish that it was standard. 16:9 displays like this one feel way too cramped when I tried to open a lot of windows and try to multitask.

At least the webcam above the display is decent. It’s a 1080p webcam, at a time when most laptop makers are moving away from 720p. Other laptop makers are going with 5MP webcams, but 1080p is just alright. I don’t look blurry or washed out in my weekly Google Meet calls, and I think Acer’s Temporal Noise Reduction technology on board this laptop really helped.

Keyboard and trackpad: I hate the keyboard

  • The keyboard is squeaky and terrible
  • The reversed text on the “E” and “R” keycaps is a huge distraction
  • The trackpad is plastic and works very well

On the keyboard and trackpad, I have some mixed feelings. The keyboard is terrible, but the trackpad is great. I’m really let down by the keyboard for the $900 price. It’s something I expect from an entry-level laptop like an HP Stream.

When I typed my way through this review, the keyboard felt way too cheap. I heard a lot of squeaking in the keys as I typed. The enter key and the backslash keys are also way too close, and I found myself hitting one or the other by mistake a lot. Oh, and I get that Acer wants the user to know of this laptop being eco-friendly with the “E’ and “R” keys being yellow and reversed to mimic reduce and recycle, but it really led to too many typos. It’s a huge visual distraction!

The trackpad, though, isn’t all too bad. Like the rest of the laptop, it is also plastic, but it is smooth to the touch to resemble glass. That means it’s loud and makes a ton of noise when clicked. Even better is that Acer snuck a fingerprint reader into the trackpad. I was able to log into the Acer really quickly because of that.

Performance: The best part of this laptop

  • Intel’s 12th-gen U-series brings a lot of performance
  • Battery life is great, coming past 6 hours

The Acer Aspire Vero is powered by Intel’s 12th generation U-series chip. This sits at the bottom of the Intel pile behind the H-class CPUs that run at 45 watts, as well as the mid-powered P-class CPUs that run at 28 watts. It has 2 performance cories and 8 efficiency cores, running at 4.70 GHz max. The Intel Core-17-1255U in my unit that here runs at 15 watts, which is great for battery life.

Overall, I feel like this U-series chip hit the perfect balance for productivity and the main tasks that I use my laptop for. Connecting up to a 4K monitor and streaming 4K content didn’t slow this laptop down. Neither did my usual workflow of balancing out about 12 tabs in Microsoft Edge. Even light gaming worked well, with CS: GO running smoothly on medium settings, though it made the fans in the laptop go crazy.

Test run Acer Aspire Vero (Intel Core i7-1255u) Lenovo Yoga 7i (2022) Core i7-1255U Lenovo Yoga 9i Core i7-1260P Huawei MateBook 16S Core i7-12700H
PC Mark 10 5,482 5,453 5,616 5,501
3D Mark: Time Spy 1,786 1,774 1,678 1,957
Geekbench 5 (single/multi) 1,717/8552 1,694 / 8,370 1,736 / 9,525 1,779/ 9,789
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) 1,751/8068 1,763 / 7,315 1,638 / 7,757 1,815/10,615
CrossMark (overall/productivity/creativity/responsiveness) 1,699/1,643/1,754/1,710 1,492 / 1,420 / 1,661 / 1,251 1,454 / 1,353 / 1,650 / 1,235 1,720 / 1,576 / 1,917 / 1,619

You can see that with the CrossMark Productivity scoring, which hits 1,643 out of 2,500. Even PC Mark 10 gives it a good score of 5,482, And, when it comes to Intel P-class laptops, the scores are even closer across the board for the Acer Aspire. This just shows you how well-performing this laptop is without throttling and overheating in the plastic chassis that houses it.

That’s just performance, but battery life is great, too. I used the Acer Aspire for my web-based work, and it almost got me through my full day on a single charge. With the screen at about 40% brightness, and the Windows battery setting set to best power efficiency, I got to 6 hours of battery. Plugged into a 4K display on the same settings, it was halved around 3. I usually look for 5 hours as a baseline for the best battery on laptops, so this is great.

Should you buy the Acer Aspire Vero?

The Acer Aspire Vero is an environmentally friendly laptop, but you really should not buy it. I think there are better laptops for the price, like the Lenovo Yoga 7i, the Yoga 9i, or even a step up the ladder to a Huawei MateBook 16S.

Who should buy the Acer Aspire Vero

  • Those who care about the environment
  • Anyone who likes plastic laptops
  • Anyone who wants a well-performing laptop

Who should not buy the Acer Aspire Vero

  • Those who want a premium-feeling device

After two weeks with the Acer Aspire Vero, I did like the overall performance, but the one thing that bothered me was the plastic design. It’s still great for the environment though, so if I had purchased it, I would have been proud.

    Acer Aspire Vero

    The Acer Aspire Vero is an all-plastic eco friendly laptop that’s well performing thanks to Intel’s U-series CPUs

      Features:



      Pros:



      Cons:



The post Acer Aspire Vero (14-inch) review: A unique eco-friendly laptop appeared first on XDA.

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