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

  • Beautiful 4K display
  • Wacom pen assist
  • Progressive easel hinge design
  • Implausible 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 typically don’t have the facility some artistic 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 faux to be transportable, weighing almost ten kilos. At $5,000, it doesn’t faux to be low-cost, both.

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

For artists, by engineers

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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 assumed.

Nevertheless 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 17.3-inch show (with huge bezels), and I’m certain a lot of additionally it is the hinge meeting that lets the display flip out into a really versatile easel mode that permits for any angle from 90 levels all the way down to about 20 levels — excellent 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 loads 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. Briefly, the ConceptD 9 doesn’t faux to be something apart from what it’s. It’s a conveyable artistic workstation meant for individuals who can be modifying high-resolution pictures and movies, doing 3D work in purposes like AutoCAD, and, most particularly, portray on the display utilizing the Wacom lively pen.

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The easel movement is definitely neat. It’s not fairly as intuitive as on the Floor Studio, however it’s lots easy. Simply flip up the underside of the show and pull it to your required angle. It could pull all the way down to nearly flat (with simply the fitting closing angle for easy drawing). This does, nonetheless, cowl the keyboard and touchpad.

Artists who wish to draw instantly onto the display ought to love this. They’ll additionally love the included Wacom pen. It comes with 4,096 ranges of strain sensitivity, and just like the Floor Studio the pen is magnetic and attaches to the show — on this case, up prime. The show additionally holds agency in no matter angle you place it, which means that you would be able to draw on it with confidence whether or not it’s at 90 levels or all the way in which prolonged.

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

Connectivity is a energy, with Acer making use of the obtainable house to slot in a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3, a USB-C 3.1 port, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-A 2.Zero port, an HDMI 2.Zero port supporting HDCP, a DisplayPort 1.4, and a gigabit Ethernet port. A Killer 1650 802.11ax Wi-Fi radio supplies for Wi-Fi 6 assist, and Bluetooth 5.Zero is on board.

A powerhouse, however not a real workstation

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In fact, the promise of the ConceptD 9 was by no means simply an fascinating 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 evaluate 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 supply barely extra highly effective Intel Xeon CPUs as an possibility. A few of these workstations, such because the ZBook, supply as much as 128GB of RAM. The ConceptD 9 tops out at 32GB, which is a big downside.

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 take a look at 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 sooner at 1 minute and 19 seconds. Outdoors of the ZenBook, which was a outstanding 32% sooner, 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 count on that they’d be at the very least 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 take a look at 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, however it fell behind the Acer probably due to it’s slower RTX 2060 graphics playing cards. Not like with the Handbrake take a look at, 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% sooner.

Subsequent up is the GPU, and right here my evaluation unit 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 prime of the everyday laptop computer heap. The Studio Version moniker refers back to the drivers being ISV-certified, which means they’re assured to be secure with purposes like Adobe’s suite, AutoCAD, and different skilled purposes. You’ll be able to improve to a ConceptD 9 with a Quadro RTX 5000 for $800 extra, bringing it extra in keeping with different workstations.

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

The RTX 2080 isn’t as quick in these purposes because the higher-end Nvidia Quadro GPU. That signifies that whereas my evaluation ConceptD 9 was quick and secure in its goal purposes, it’s not essentially as quick as you’ll discover in the event you go together with a extra conventional workstation possibility. On this case, you’re shopping for the ConceptD 9 for its uncommon design and never essentially for its efficiency alone.

You additionally shouldn’t buy the ConceptD 9 has a devoted gaming laptop computer. Trying on the specs, you could be tempted to, although. It carried out admirably in the whole lot we examined, from Fortnite to Murderer’s Creed: Odyssey. The issue is the display is locked at 60Hz, which 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

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The ConceptD 9 wants a superb show to be a worthy selection for its goal market. It wants a large shade gamut and correct colours to please picture and video editors, and it must be high-resolution, too. Thankfully, that’s exactly the 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS show that Acer sourced and calibrated for the machine.

In keeping with my colorimeter, the show in all fairness vivid 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 transportable workstations that may tout 400 nits or brightness and better distinction. However, they’re nonetheless good outcomes that make for a nice display 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 incredible shade accuracy of 0.61. 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 gives a barely wider shade gamut, however it may possibly’t match the Acer’s shade accuracy, whereas the MacBook Professional 16 solely beats out the ConceptD 9 by hitting 100 p.c of sRGB.

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

It’s not a lot of a laptop computer

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On the similar time, the design shouldn’t be 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 few of the greatest suggestions you’ll discover in a laptop computer.

However there’s additionally no palm relaxation, because of a lot house 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, and so they largely succeeded. However doing so means leaving no house 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 be unusually positioned, to the fitting of the keyboard. Once more, there’s no room beneath. The touchpad is oddly formed as effectively, being vertically oriented reasonably than horizontal. Nevertheless it works effectively sufficient when you get used to it, and it gives 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 into acceptable in gaming laptops, however right here, it’s hardly very best.

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 unique a part of your home or from workplace to workplace might be an excessive amount of for this ten-pound chunker.

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However you additionally received’t be working it away from a plug. Acer geared up the ConceptD 9 with solely 72 watt-hours of battery capability. By comparability, the HP ZBook 17 equips 95 watt-hours. Given the large 4K show and highly effective parts, 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 take a look at 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 internet searching take a look at and 5 hours in our video looping take a look at are fairly weak. They’re aggressive with dedicating gaming laptops, and perhaps that is smart — 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 individual. Artistic professionals who want a comparatively highly effective transportable workstation and would profit from a show that may slide into easel mode and leverage a wonderful Wacom lively pen.

Past that, the scale 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 artistic professionals will possible favor the flexibility of utilizing a separate Wacom pill along side a conventional workstation or high-end 15-inch laptop computer.

Are there higher alternate options?

There actually isn’t one other laptop computer or transportable workstation fairly just like the ConceptD 9. Nevertheless, as I’ve talked about, the closest opponents are actual workstations just like the HP ZBook 17, Dell Precision 7740, and Lenovo ThinkPad P73. Every of those may be geared up with sooner Xeon CPUs and 4 instances as a lot RAM. They’re additionally smaller and supply 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 similar time, artistic professionals with much less demanding workflows may 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 or Quadro RTX 5000 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. Because of up-to-date parts, it’ll final you for years, though the industry-standard one-year guarantee will run out lengthy earlier than.

Must you purchase it?

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

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