The Acer ConceptD 5 (2021) with Intel 11th Gen CPU and RTX 3000 GPU is a prominent laptop for “Creative” professionals. This rising category has experienced a lot of buoyancy in the past couple of years, reflecting a growing demand for powerful mobile computers to handle professional graphics tasks.
Either Gaming laptops or Workstations partially addressed this category in the past. However, neither was perfect for the new generation of creative pros and influencers.
Gaming laptops’ component pricing might be optimized by using a low RAM configuration (16GB) or a slower hard drive without affecting the gaming experience that much. Also, the display quality is often not high enough for professional graphics work.
Workstations have adequate hardware and displays but come with enterprise features and warranties thatmight be overkill (and overpriced) for freelancers or small businesses.
The industry’s answer is laptops such as the Acer ConceptD 5, which is graphically as powerful as (similar-size) gaming rigs but with faster storage, higher max RAM, better displays, and a corporate-friendly design.
The particular unit we’re reviewing is the Acer ConceptD 5 (SKU CN516-72G-787Y) with the Intel Core i7-11800H, 16GB of DDR 3200Mhz RAM, and the NVIDIA RTX3060 6GB.
There’s 1TB of storage in the form of a Samsung MZVL21T0HCLR-00B7, which is an OEM version of the popular Samsung 980 Pro SSD. At publishing time, the laptop retailed for $1999.99.
Note that it is possible to add up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of storage in a RAID0 configuration. We’ve seen how much extra performance RAID0 can add when reviewing the Acer Triton 500 SE.
The ConceptD 5’s chassis is mainly made of metal, except the monitor bezels, which is where the various radio antennas are located.
The metal surface has a Micro-Arc Oxidation (MAO) finish that looks extremely tough to scratch as it is a thin layer of ceramic-like material. It does catch fingerprints a bit, but overall, it is a practical finish that seems more durable than plain aluminum.
The Acer ConceptD 5 looks very “professional,” and I got a ton of feedback from industry insiders that Creative users want to look “serious” in front of a corporate client who may not appreciate the “gaming laptop” aesthetics.
The chassis is thin & light for a 16-inch laptop. The thickness is 19.8mm for a weight of 5.28 Lbs, which means this computer is a very effective mobile Creative Workstation if you must work on the go, as many influencers and professionals do nowadays.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The full-size keyboard features large keys that are comfortable and non-slippery. The key travel seems to be 1mm or slightly lower, and the amber backlight is beautiful and turns on as soon as you press a key.
This immediate backlight trigger is a very nice touch since today’s laptops often force you to expressly turn the backlight ON, only to shut it down a minute later if you’re not actively typing, which is quite annoying if you’re reading or watching a video. Thank you, Acer.
The Trackpad is very large and comfortable, even if you perform complex Windows gestures. The Gorilla glass surface is tough and feels hugely smooth: a must for Creative users since they can work for hours without having their fingertips irritated by a coarser texture.
There are plenty of ports, and the presence of two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 will ensure that you can use this laptop as a fixed computer with external storage and optionally via a high-performance Thunderbolt dock.
Thunderbolt 4 doesn’t provide faster peak bandwidth, but it allows more 4K displays to be simultaneously connected than Thunderbolt 3, a potential productivity gain for professionals.
Legacy full-size USB ports use the USB 3.2 Gen2 protocol, which is the best you can do with these ports, and you’ll find HDMI 2.1, Gb RJ45 Ethernet, and Kensington anti-theft ports as office-ready connectors.
You can charge the laptop via one of the USB-C ports in a pinch, but the included 135W power supply is required to use the computer’s full speed.
This laptop has a stereo speaker configuration with two bottom-firing speakers. As a result, the speaker sound quality is decent, but up-firing quad-speaker designs will project more powerful and higher-quality audio.
I recommend enabling the integrated DTS:X Ultra surround sound option to improve the spatialization quite a bit. Still, I assume that people will use high-quality headphones or an external speaker system for professional work.
The Concept D5’s display is a well-balanced choice as it features a 3K resolution and high color accuracy, validated by Pantone.
Acer’s 3K choice allows high display performance for Creative professionals without a massive hit on the battery life and price tag like a 4K display would induce. 4K displays create a tremendous drain on the battery, and opting for a 3K screen could comparatively improve battery life by ~25%."HIGH DISPLAY PERFORMANCE FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS WITHOUT A MASSIVE HIT ON THE BATTERY"
The display’s 400 NITs brightness is not the highest, but I find it appropriate for most professional usage unless you’re editing videos at a cafe during a sunny afternoon. While it might happen, it’s fair to say that Creative pros tend to work in a dimly lit area, with as little glare as possible, so 400 NITs should be fine, although more brightness has never hurt anyone.
If you’re tempted to use the GeForce RTX 3060 to play games, it might be worth noting that this is a 60Hz display, so you would need to forgo the vertical sync to reach higher effective framerates. Gamers are more likely to opt for an Acer Predator Triton 300 SE or 500 SE, which we previously reviewed.
The Creative performance of the Acer ConceptD 5 slightly exceeds our expectations. Coming into this review, I thought it would rival the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, but it is noticeably better.
And it makes sense: as a laptop for graphics professionals, the ConceptD 5 has better components, such as the much faster SSD, which makes a big difference in Creative benchmarks.
The GeForce RTX 3060 graphics processor might look identical to the Predator Triton 300 SE on the surface, but the ConceptD 5 GPU can draw up to 105W instead of 75W in the 300 SE. The wattage differential explains why the ConceptD 5 scores higher in gaming/GPU benchmarks.
In absolute terms, this laptop offers excellent mobility performance if you look at the graphics performance “for the weight.” If you want to push things even higher, you should look at the GeForce RTX 3080 in the form of the Acer ConceptD 7, but that’s perhaps for another review. The Predator Triton 500SE is a good proxy for the kind of extraordinary performance/Lbs ratio you would get with the 3080 or 3080 Ti.
Acer’s thermal solution on this laptop is really good, and thermal dissipation wasn’t an issue during the benchmarking. Of course, all laptops will be limited by Power or Thermal throttling at some point, but I feel like this cooling solution is one of the better I’ve looked at."OVERALL, THE CONCEPTD 5 HAS EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE FOR THE PRICE"
When looking at the performance “for the price,” the ConceptD 5 comes at a slight premium compared to a gaming laptop such as the Predator Triton 300 SE. However, it has a more accurate display, more RAM expansion, and a business-friendly look. Overall, the ConceptD 5 has excellent performance for the price.
The SSD performance is outstanding, even compared to a workstation like the ThinkPad P15 Gen2. Note that we didn’t have a RAID0 configuration in our test unit. The disk performance of the Predator Triton 500 SE with RAID0 shows the kind of IO performance you should get if you opt for the 2TB RAID0 option.
We were impressed with the battery life of the Acer ConceptD 5 as it lasted for more than 9.1 hours in office productivity tests*.
The large 100Wh battery capacity combined with the power-efficiency of the i7-11800H + RTX 3060 combo is why. That is the kind of capacity found in the Triton 500 SE combined with the higher power efficiency of the Triton 300 SE. The best of with world, and an excellent balance for a Creative laptop.
Typically, such powerful laptops have noticeably shorter battery life. I expect most people to use this computer while plugged in, but it’s nice to know that you get extended battery life for low-intensity tasks.
*using “best battery” settings and a 110 NITs display brightness.
The battery’s charge speed is ordinary, and you can find better performers in that field. The ThinkPad P15 Gen2 charges nearly 2X faster for comparable battery size.
The Acer ConceptD 5 laptop (with i7-11800H + RTX 3060) is a great Creative laptop. It features a business-friendly industrial design, gaming-like graphics performance, and excellent display accuracy.
You might find lighter workstations with similar specs, but the high-power GPU and the overall performance/price ratio of the ConceptD 5 make it a very compelling candidate for creative professionals. The superior battery life might be a factor for those who have to work on the go."A GREAT CREATIVE LAPTOP"
If you’re a busy professional who wants to be able to work “on the go” but also have a powerful Creative laptop when at home, the ConceptD 5 can fulfill both roles, thanks to its peak performance and large battery capacity.
64GB of RAM and the RAID0 SSD option might set it apart from gaming laptops in the same price range as neither of these is crucial to gamers. A purposefully designed computer increases the value-proposition of the end-product.