Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel notebook – prepare for the unexpected (review)

9.2
Excellent

The Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel (and the rest of the ConceptD Ezel family) is one of the most beautiful and functional laptops on earth. It is elegant yet highly practical and subtly says, “I must have it”.

I tend to go by first impressions – call me Shallow Hal – but the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel blew me away. Forget specifications; this Ezel hinge, pristine matte white laptop is mine, my precious. Like all good review units, alas, it has to go back. Damn you, Acer – you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands. Sorry to get a little emotional. The ConceptD 3 Exel is about ergonomics, design, innovation, form, and function with healthy doses of lust and envy. And Ezel is short for easel.

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel

Details: Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel Notebook Model CC315-72G

  • Website here
  • Manual here (it is a PDF, so check downloads)
  • Price as tested $3699. A top of the range ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro is $7199
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Warranty: 12-months ACL warranty plus international traveller’s warranty
  • Acer (Est 1976) is a Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation specialising in advanced electronics technology, headquartered in Xizhi, New Taipei City. It is the 5th largest global computer manufacture and the 3rd largest in Australia behind HP and Dell.

The Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel specs as tested

  • Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6/5Ghz
  • 15.6″ 1920×1080, 141ppi, low reflection, IPS Touch Screen (14” version also available)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti Max Q with 4GB GDDR6
  • 16GB DDR4/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and BT 5.1
  • Acer Active Stylus Pen (Wacom AES 1.0) included
  • Windows 10 Pro

Other ConceptD Ezel models

  • Available in 14 and 15.6″ in the ConceptD Ezel 3
  • ConceptD Ezel 7 has the option of NVIDIA Quadro T1000, NVIDIA RTX3000* and RTX 2080 Super* (4K screen on ConceptD 7 models marked *)
  • RAM/Storage options to 32GB and 1TB SSD

First impression – white-hot, hot, hot

While it is not a major issue, there are large cooling vents on each side, approx. 1/3rd of the base and the top deck has vents under and behind the screen. This is for cooling, and the hinge elevates the base off the desk. It is not really a ‘laptop’. And it is a large 15.6″ notebook at 2.1kg. I repeat, it is more of a desktop laptop, but then until a few years ago, weight was considered quite acceptable.

I love the pristine white. Some call it milky white, but whatever it’s matte, light ivory, baked onto a magnesium-aluminium chassis. Acer calls it Micro-Arc Oxidation (MAO), which adds an extra level of ceramic hardness, strength, corrosion and oxidation resistance to the notebook’s chassis. Acer says it is highly stain-resistant and should not yellow over time.

Ezel hinge

This is the main USP (unique selling proposition) – a hinge that allows almost complete positioning versatility. It is not new – Acer has had Ezel models before, but it is an Acer design hallmark. Strong magnets as well as a tension hinge enable:

  • Clamshell notebook
  • Tablet
  • Display
  • Writing pad
  • Floating screen
Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel

Screen: 15.6″ 1920x1080p, 16:9

Claim: Pantone Validated, 100% sRGB and Delta E <2

Our tests ‘mostly’ validate the claim. Out of the box it is 72% DCI-P3 (97.7% sRGB and 70% Adobe RGB). It can load Adobe RBG profiles if you are using a calibrated external monitor. And it has a huge range of adjustments in the ConceptD Palette app. The Innolux 8-bit, 16.7m colour model CNM1517/ N156HCG-GT1 panel is an a-Si TFT-LCD with a WLED backlight. Maximum panel brightness is 411nits and 1620:1 contrast before applying anti-reflective covering. We measured 380nits/1387:1 contrast.

The viewing angle claim is 178° horizontal and vertical – we think 145° is more accurate before any colour shift occurs. It has a Gorilla Glass 5 protective layer. All in all, it is a very good 1080p panel but not class-leading (and as there is no Ezel-class, who cares?). Creatives and designers will appreciate that it can use an Adobe RGB profile.

ConceptD Palette app

It gives an overview of CPU, GPU, Memory use as well as a gateway to other Acer apps. On the screen front you can select RGB, Native (calibrated) and user profiles as well as a number of presets:

  • Standard
  • Movie
  • Game
  • Eye protection
  • Office
  • Sport
  • Fully adjustable Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, RGB and colour temp
  • Access to Acer Care centre (driver updates)
  • An interesting suite of tools for screen grab, snip, colour picker etc.
  • Apply Adobe RGB colour profile if the external monitor supports it

Intel 10th Gen or 11th Gen?

These use 10th Gen Intel Core i7 ‘H’ Processors. compared to the current 11th Gen “G7” Project Evo that focus on power, saving not raw horsepower. The difference. The i7-10750H has 6-cores/12-threads and a maximum turbo boost of 5Ghz. It is based on a 14nm die and has a TDP of 45W compared to the i7-1165G7 at 4-cores/8-threads, 4.8Ghz, and 28W.

It has a Passmark of 12628 compared to the Evo at 10448. But the real difference comes from UserBenchmarks. It is rated 79th out of 1289 processors, whereas the Evo is 229th. This is purely due to artificial throttling on Evo to keep within the much lower TDP. Geekbench 5 single/multi-core marks are 1253/5589.

This processor does not throttle when on mains power and is limited to 80% on battery power. The CPU is found more in gaming notebooks including in Lenovo 81Y6, Acer Predator PH315-53, Dell XPS 15 9500, ASUS ROG G512LW, HP OMEN 15-ek, Razer Blade 15 and Acer Nitro. The trade-off is horsepower for battery life – but the ConceptD 3 Ezel can do very well there too. But we repeat – its more a desktop notebook than a laptop.

GPUs

It has integrated Intel UHD Graphics that power the screen. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti Max Q with 4GB is for apps that expect it and external monitors. It has an OPEN CL score of 40376. We say that this is a desktop notebook because the GeForce has a 30W TGP (Max Q means power saving). It is good for most modern games. BOD Black Ops will play [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] You can read more specs here.

Disk WD SN730 PCIe NVMe 3.0 Gen 3x4lanes

It is capable of 3400/3000MBps sequential read/write, and tests don’t disappoint. And it has terrific large file throughput as well.

It uses a standard M2.2280 slot and should be relatively easy to upgrade (bottom right). The base is fairly easy to remove.

RAM – not user upgradable

It has 1x16GB DDR4-2666 on board. I can’t see any SO-DIMM memory slots in the image below, so caveat emptor. If you are a power user, go for 32GB and the ConceptD 7 models.

Ports – no need for a dock

  • HDMI 2.0 capable of [email protected]
  • Mini Display Port 1.4 capable of [email protected]
  • Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) or USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps)
  • SD Card reader – SDXC compatible
  • 3.5mm combo audio

We also tested with the Plugable 100W TB3 docking station. It supports dual [email protected] monitors, and all ports function at maximum rated speeds and voltages/amperages. It does not support upstream charging but delivers 5V/3A/15W downstream. In any case, the notebook ports alleviate the need for a dock.

Comms

Wi-Fi 6 Intel AX201, 2×2 TX/RX streams MU-MIMO. Potentially up to 2.4Gbps (2400Mbps) with the right OFDMA and 1024QAM router. And that is what it achieved on our Netgear AX reference router – amazing. It held 2.4Gbps out to 5 metres and then dropped off gradually. Excellent. BT 5.1 is the standard SBC codec and supports mono, stereo and handsfree profiles. Security – The fingerprint reader on the side power button is fast although you need to place your finger consistently.

Sound

There are two down-firing stereo under the front sides. Don’t believe other reviews that state there are speakers under the screen heat vents – no! Maximum volume is 75dB – not overly loud but suitable for personal use. The sound signature is mid centric, verging on balanced (flat). There are a few mid-bass hints, but overall, the action starts around 200kHz and is almost gone by 12kHz.

It has DTSX: Sound ‘Unbound’, but it only decodes DTS Headphone:X to BT Headphones. It also has DTSX Ultra – an EQ for its internal speakers. Let me say that no amount of psychoacoustic trickery can get much more out of a speaker’s natural frequency response. We played with the +/-10dB EQ ramping up the bass, mid and treble, but the results were minimal. Presets include

  • Music
  • Game
  • Movies
  • Voice
  • Plus games choices

As we said, it is more about tuning within the bounds of the native speaker’s capabilities. You can read more about sound signature here, but it is possible to get closer to warm and sweet for music.

Keyboard, trackpad and rechargeable stylus

It is full size, sans a numeric keypad. It is one of the best I have used with generously spaced scissor switch 18mm sized keys with 1.55mm travel and 45g activation. They are Pristine White dirt-resistant ABS with injection moulded lettering and orange on/off backlight The Gorilla Glass precision touchpad is huge, measuring 125x85mm. It is accurate and fast, and the stylus works on it too.

There is an internal charge dock for the Wacom AES 1.0 stylus. While it is about the thickness of a swizzle stick, it is quite comfortable but not for precision use. It has 4096 sensitivity levels and two buttons for erase, right-click. Fast charge in the dock is 15 seconds for 90 minutes. I found myself increasingly using it with the touchpad and screen – resisting all the while the urge to chew it!

Being Wacom AES 1.0 means you can also use other comparable stylus but make sure you can get drivers or risk losing some functionality.

Webcam – basic

1280 x 720p – its pretty standard and lacks IR for Windows Hello.

Battery – from spectacular to not so great

It is a 56W battery. Acer claims 14 hours, and depending on the use; it can get there. The charger is a 19.5V/6.25A/135W’ half brick’ that adds nearly 500g to the overall transit weight. This has a huge 1,000 battery cycles, so its use on mains power will not diminish battery life. We have to assume that the battery is service-replaceable and should cost well under $100 (plus labour). Our only disappointment is that it will not charge over USB-C or a 100W Thunderbolt Dock

  • GFX Bench Manhattan 3.1 Battery Test: NVIDIA GPU 158.7 min (2.65hrs) 3711.94 frames
  • GFX T-Rex battery Benchmark: 187.47 minutes amd 3349.74 fra,e
  • PC Mark battery run down Intel GPU: 15 hours 14 minutes
  • PC Mark battery run down test NVIDIA GPU: 4.5 hours
  • Recharge time approx. 2 hours off and up to 4 hours on

The battery life, of course, depends on what you are doing. CPU and GPU hungry apps could see it down to 4-5 hours. We found it was capable of 10-12 hours of web browsing, Microsoft 365 and Wi-Fi and BT connections.

Build

The mg-al chassis is light and strong. We guess that it is strong enough to withstand desktop drops. Our only concern here is the 12-months warranty. In the US, it comes with 3-years. Acer may offer that to commercial clients, but it is worth exploring. The MAO process immerses the chassis in an alkaline electrolytic bath. It is akin to ceramic paint and resists pencil and pen (eraser removable). Ceramic is 7/10 on the Mohs hardness, but we can’t guarantee freedom from scratches. It is 358 x 249 x 18.9/23.9 mm x 2.1kg plus the 500g brick charger/cables. Noise never exceeded 40dB.

Windows

It comes with Windows 10 Pro, so you can use it in a commercial network. Preinstalled utilities include Acer Care Centre (tune-up, update, and recovery) and ConceptD Palette menu of system-monitoring, colour-adjustment, and split-screen window-arrangement functions. 

GadgetGuy’s take

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel notebook

Acer has done it this time with a unique design, colour, and an almost perfect balance of features and power. It is what I would buy if I wanted a work production notebook! It is for professionals who want a desktop notebook that says ‘You have arrived’. Its screen is accurate enough (sRGB) for designers, video editors, and CAD/design.

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel ratings

The perfect notebook this year will have an 11th generation Intel Core, 4K 100% ADOBE RGB screen, user expandable memory – all housed in this unique design. it is not quite perfect but with this Ezel design – who cares? It gets a buy recommendation but be aware – it is a desktop notebook, not a portable laptop.

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel notebook
I am in love with the pristine white Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel - it is what I would buy.
Features
9
Value for money
9
Performance
9
Ease of use
9
Design
10
Positives
Excellent keyboard
All the ports you need to avoid a dock
Colour calibrated 100% sRGB display
Battery life better than expected
Love the Ezel deign
Pristine White - so minimalist and elegant
Negatives
Average sound
No TB3 upstrream charging
9.2
Excellent