It’s not entirely true to say that there’s nothing quite like the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro. But it’s a new alternative to the masses of clamshell laptops. The main attraction is a dual-hinged display. While it’s not entirely unique, it’s very well executed and allows for a whole new world of ergonomic and typing options that you probably didn’t realize existed. Add the included Wacom EMR input pen and you have an intriguing productivity tool for digital artists and other content creators.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H (8 cores)
Chart: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
RAM: 16 GB
Filter: 15.6-inch, 4K, 400 nits, IPS LCD display
Touch input: Wacom EMR multi-touch pen
Storage: 1TB SSD
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 2x USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Cut: 35.8 x 25.9 x 2.87 cm (W x H x D)
Hinged aside, there is much more interest. The 15.6-inch touchscreen is fully 4K and Pantone validated. There’s also a beefy eight-core Intel CPU, albeit a generation or two old, and proper dedicated Nvidia graphics. This is a true portable workstation, although at around 2.5kg the element of portability has been compromised in the quest for functionality.
In terms of competition, you can choose from an army of conventional clamshell laptops, a few of which have touchscreens. You can, of course, opt for a 2-in-1 convertible with a 360-degree hinge and similar support for pen input and inking.
But the only truly comparable device is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, which offers similar, but not quite identical, dual-hinge engineering. As niche as it may seem, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro, to try it is to be converted. Why aren’t there more machines like this?
Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro review: features and design
Front and center is the 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen mounted on a smart dual hinge. Acer estimates that the hinge offers no less than six different modes of use. For starters, there are classic clamshell laptop and then tablet configurations, although that makes for a very tall and chunky tablet.
“Stand” mode involves the screen forming a tent over the keyboard, while “Share” has the screen facing up and parallel to the keyboard as a raised touch surface, and “Display” is a presentation mode at clamshell but with the screen reversed.
And then there is ‘Float’. It brings the screen closer in a tangible way, and once you try it, a conventional laptop hinge feels awfully restrictive, especially if you want to use touchscreen functionality. Cleverly, Acer designed enough grip in the hinge for this mode to be usable with the input stylus. This is also the main difference between the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro and the otherwise similar Microsoft Surface Book Studio. Microsoft’s laptop does not “float”.
Speaking of stylus and inking, Acer offers a Wacom EMR stylus which is probably slimmer than what serious content pros tend to prefer. But the screen is compatible with other Wacom EMR styluses and it works great with the screen’s slightly matte surface to give that critical element of resistance that most digital artists will appreciate. Like all EMR pens, it is powered by the screen itself and therefore does not require charging. It also fits neatly into a storage bay on the side of the chassis.
As for the screen itself, it’s a 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen with a full 3,840 by 2,160 pixel resolution and rated at a pretty punchy 400 nits. For some, Pantone validation of the panel will imply superior color accuracy. But in practice, Pantone is based on a reflective color model and therefore implies a necessarily smaller color space than emission-based gamuts like Adobe RGB and DCI-P3.
Long story short, it’s not very relevant for content like video and images, but it’s useful for workflows that involve printing. That said, Acer claims the panel is good for 100% Adobe RGB coverage, so it depends on some pretty serious content creation on the go.
Other design and engineering highlights include the keyboard, which has a very solid bed and is pleasant to type on even though the amber-colored backlight is useless for identifying the keys. For our taste, the trackpad is also small.
As for the core components, our review unit came with an older eight-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070 graphics. But you can opt for Intel’s new 11th Gen processors and Nvidia 30-series graphics. 16 GB of RAM.
In terms of connectivity, the ports and AC outlets are all located on the sides of the chassis rather than the rear due to hinge engineering. On the left, you get a pair of USB Type-C ports with full Thunderbolt 4 support, along with a single USB-A jack and an audio jack. On the right there’s another USB-A port, plus HDMI, a full-size DisplayPort socket, Ethernet and then the barrel-style power connector.
Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro review: price
With specialized hinge engineering, a bundled EMR stylus, and a gorgeous 4K touchscreen, the ConceptD was never going to be cheap. As configured here with Intel’s 10th Gen eight-core processor and Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics, it sits at around $3,000 or £2,900.
Update the internals to a newer 11th Gen Intel chip plus Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics and the ConceptD costs $3,499 (UK pricing for this configuration not currently available), which is actually a good best quality price report. It’s still quite expensive considering you’re missing that 12th Gen Intel goodness. Plus, if you’re just looking for CPU and GPU performance, rather than inking support and clever hinge ergonomics, there are far better deals to be had.
Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro review: performance
Single-core Geekbench: 1,319 stitches
Multicore Geekbench: 7,647 points
CUDA Geekbench charts: 82,979 stitches
Cinebench R23: 8,936 stitches
X265 HEVC 4K video encoding: 6fps
Battery life (1080p movie test): 6h12m
CrystalDiskMark reads/writes: 3542 MB/s / 2794 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark 4K QD1 Read/Write: 67MB/s / 111MB/s
In isolation, this is a punchy laptop powered by an Intel eight-core processor and proper dedicated graphics. The problem is that, as reviewed here, it’s based on technology a generation or two old. Intel’s own 12th generation processors, not to mention AMD’s monile processors, are a bit faster than the Intel Core i7-10875H.
Just like for example, the ConceptD 7 generates 1,319 single-core and 7,647 multi-core points in GeekBench 5, while the latest Intel Core i9-12900HK is good for over 1,800 and 13,000 points respectively. It’s a similar situation with the Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU. Its score of 82,979 on Geekbench’s OpenCL compute test isn’t bad. In fact, it looks good next to Apple’s best M1 Max chip. But Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 mobile GPU gives it a hammer blow with over 150,000 points.
That said, with 16GB of RAM and a fast NVMe SSD, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro offers plenty of performance for on-the-go image editing. It’s also fast enough for light video production. We just wouldn’t choose it as our primary portable video encoding platform. You can get a lot more performance for less money if that’s your primary concern.
Speaking of image editing and related content creation, the 15.6-inch 4K panel is a peach. The default calibration is pleasing, with bright but accurate colors, wide viewing angles, and epic pixel density. The only slight hiccup is the surface sheen and grain of the matte coating for touch input. It’s barely noticeable, but it detracts from the sharpness and clarity of the screen ever so slightly.
If you plan to use the touch and inking capability a lot, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the display is limited to 60Hz. A higher refresh rate of 120Hz, offered by Microsoft Surface Book Studio , would be better in terms of latency.
When it comes to battery life, around six hours of video playback is your lot and even less with more demanding apps. Many more capable PC laptops can beat that easily, not to mention Apple’s latest MacBook Pros which can last well over twice as long, or even three times as long. Of course, you don’t get any dual-hinge and inking support on any MacBook.
Should you buy the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro?
If all you want is a lot of performance in a portable package, skip the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro and opt for a conventional clamshell system. From a pure image and video editing point of view, it’s not very convincing. It’s also a heavy old thing at 2.5kg, especially in tablet mode, and has mediocre battery life. Oh, and an upgrade to the latest Intel processor technology wouldn’t hurt.
And yet, if you want something a little special for content creation and digital artwork, there’s nothing quite like this smart dual-hinged laptop. It’s beautifully built, gives you a whole new world of ergonomic options, and leaves you wondering if this kind of usability should be the new standard for desktop replacement laptops. It is so good.
Read more: The Best Laptops for Graphic Design