Porsche Design Acer Book RS review: Sports car on the outside, sedan under the hood – CNET

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Acer makes some of the best inexpensive laptops you’ll find, as well as interesting premium models that are more about design than being a good bargain. With the name Porsche Design stamped on the lid of this one, I’m guessing you can figure out which group this falls into. Built from carbon fiber and magnesium with diamond-cut edges, the Acer Book RS certainly makes an impression and is something different — at least on the outside. 

Like

  • Excellent performance, battery life
  • Nice-looking, lightweight design

Don’t Like

  • Too much bloatware for a premium laptop
  • Similar performance is available for less

The components on the inside, while quite good, are not exactly the sports-car engine you might be expecting for its $1,400 starting price direct from Acer or Porsche Design. For that price, you get an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and integrated Iris Xe graphics that are readily available in laptops for around $1,000 or less. You can also get it with a Core i7 processor and discrete Nvidia GeForce MX350 graphics from Porsche Design for $1,700. That combo should give you more sprightly performance for things like basic photo and video editing and casual gaming. The Core i7 version is available in the UK for £1,900. The Acer Book RS is currently not available in Australia, but the US price converts to approximately AU$1,845.   

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Acer also offers a set of premium accessories. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Acer also has a Porsche Design Acer Book RS Premium Collection for $2,000. Included is the higher-end Core i7 configuration along with a matching wireless mouse, a leather accessory pouch and a laptop sleeve. It comes with a leather mousepad, too, that magnetically attaches to the outside of the sleeve.

Porsche Design Acer Book RS (AP714-51T-59ZV)

Price as reviewed $1,400
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touch display
CPU 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7
Memory 8GB LPDDR4X 4.27GHz
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home 64-bit (20H2)

While you’ll get better performance with the Core i7 version, the Core i5 model is Intel Evo certified. The Evo label means the system is tested to hit certain mobile performance requirements such as getting at least 9 hours of battery life with normal use (it lasted more than 14 hours in our tests), recharging quickly and being just as responsive on battery power as it is plugged in. 

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The keyboard is comfortable and the touchpad is smooth and responsive. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The laptop turns on in a blink when you lift the lid, too, so it’s ready to work immediately. There’s a fingerprint reader built into the precision touchpad so you can quickly unlock it. The touch-screen display is bright and covers 100% sRGB color gamut and it even has antimicrobial coating on it. It’s just full-HD resolution (1,920×1,080), which might be disappointing at this price, but the battery life just wouldn’t be as good with a UHD display. 

What’s more disappointing for me is that, despite being finely crafted by Porsche Design, the laptop comes with two generic power supplies. One of them is small with a barrel-type connector, the other is a slightly larger USB-C adapter with longer cables. Neither could be called premium compared to the braided cables or more compact adapters included with premium laptops from HP, Asus and Dell. 

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The Acer Book RS comes with two generic power adapters. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Another thing that hurts the premium feel of the rest of the package is the amount of preinstalled apps and services. It’s the kind of thing I’m used to seeing on midrange and budget laptops, but not on a model being sold as a showpiece. One or two relevant trial services are tolerable. But at this price, you shouldn’t have to uninstall Booking.com, Evernote, Dropbox, Amazon and Spotify apps out of the box. I’m also not sure why a large HDMI sticker is necessary at the bottom of the display.

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The carbon fiber lid does help the Acer Book RS stand out.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

Aside from my quibbles about bloatware and generic power adapters, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is an excellent lightweight premium laptop with some character. A lot of your money here is going toward design and branding, though. You don’t have to look hard to find a lower price on a laptop with similar components. Even Acer’s Swift 3x is $900 for the same basic configuration, just without the Porsche Design chassis. But again, this laptop certainly makes an impression. 

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Dell XPS 13 9310

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77

Porsche Design Acer Book RS

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R20 CPU (multicore)

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)

Porsche Design Acer Book RS

Dell XPS 13 9310

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77

Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77

Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)

Porsche Design Acer Book RS

Dell XPS 13 9310

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test (minutes)

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)

Porsche Design Acer Book RS

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77

Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)

Dell XPS 13 9310

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Dell XPS 13 9310 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 4,267MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.0GHz Intel Core i7-1185G7; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 4,267MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD
Porsche Design Acer Book RS Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 4,267MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD
Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77 Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 4,267MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 1TB SSD
HP Envy x360 13 (2020) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz; AMD Ryzen 5 4500U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 512MB Radeon graphics; 256GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1057G7; 12GB DDR4 SDRAM 4,267MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus graphics; 512GB SSD

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