When it comes to choosing a portable work device for visual content creators (photographers, designers, animators, editors, video post-processors, etc.), in most cases it comes down to products from Apple and the MacBook Pro series of laptops in particular. MacBook Pros owe their popularity in this segment to the fact that Cupertinians were among the first to actively equip their laptops with IPS mattresses with good color reproduction and high screen resolution, smooth operation of software in the Mac OS environment, and do not forget about regular marketing support for creating an image of professional devices for creative individuals.
At the same time, the market does not stand still and now more and more models with similar positioning from other vendors are starting to appear. It’s funny, but this is the second segment of mobile devices in which Apple will try to take away the palm. 5 years ago, the expansion of ultrabooks began in a similar way, which can be described as “MacBook Air for Windows” and, subjectively, here Apple lost the war. Today, the user is free to choose between Dell XPS, ASUS ZenBook, HP Specter, Razer Blade Stealth, Acer Swift 7, LG Gram, Lenovo IdeaPad S940/720S, Huawei MateBook X, Microsoft Surface and others. Most of the listed models are ready to offer more productive stuffing, a better screen and, often, a better price-performance ratio.
But back to the hero of the review, which today is the ConceptD 3 laptop from Acer. In the new line, the Taiwanese manufacturer focuses on the quality of the screens used, which received 100% coverage of the extended DCI-P3 color space and should provide a color deviation (Delta E) of less than 2 units already out of the box. In addition, the screens have been certified by Pantone, a well-known graphic design company, as evidenced by a separate sticker on the device.
Also in ConceptD, the company focuses on the quality of the materials used, the optimal filling, the cooling system with an acceptable noise level and the spectacular appearance of the device. About all this – below.
Acer ConceptD 3 CN315-71
The considered modification ConceptD 3 CN315-71 is based on a 15.6-inch IPS-matrix with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The platform uses an Intel Core i5-9300H central processor, 16 gigabytes of DDR4-2666 RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics accelerator. The dimensions of the device are 363.4×254.5×23.36 mm, with a weight of 2.35 kg, laptop can be considered acceptable indicators. For those to whom the specified diagonal may seem insufficient to perform certain work tasks, Acer has prepared the ConceptD 5 and ConceptD 9 models, which include screens with a diagonal of up to 17.3 inches.
|Model||Acer ConceptD 3 CN315-71|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9300H 4 cores (8 threads) 2400 MHz (up to 4100 MHz with Turbo Boost)|
|RAM||16 GB, DDR4-2666|
|Display||15,6″, 1920×1080, IPS (Chi Mei CMN N156HCE-EN2)|
|Video card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 ГБ|
|Disk subsystem||SSD NVMe M.2 256GB SK Hynix HFM256GDJTNG-8310A BA, HDD 1000GB, WDC WD10SPZX-21Z10T0 (SATA 6Gb/s)|
|I/O ports||USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0 Type-A, HDMI, LAN RJ-45, аудиовыход|
|Communications||Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Multimedia||Audio system 2.0, webcam 720p|
|Safety||Fingerprint scanner, Kensington lock|
|Power adapter, W||135|
|Dimensions, mm||363,4 x 254,5 x 23,36|
The pricing policy for new items cannot be called humane. The tested laptop in Ukrainian retail will cost the equivalent of $2,000, which pits the ConceptD 3 CN315-71 against a number of premium rivals. This is the 2018 Apple MacBook Pro 15, the current generation Dell XPS 15, and, with a certain degree of comparison, the ASUS Zephyrus or Razer Blade 15 compact gaming solutions.
Contents of delivery
Despite the status and considerable price, the ConceptD 3 CN315-71 package does not contain any additional accessories or attachments. Inside the box, the future owner will find a power adapter, a cable for connecting to the network and a set of paper documentation.
A complete power supply of medium size, manufactured by Delta Electronics. Its output power is 135W.
The body of the laptop is made of a combination of ceramic-coated aluminum alloy and plastic, and the metal is pre-treated with micro-arc oxidation, which, according to the manufacturer, should have a positive effect on its resistance to corrosion.
The laptop received a snow-white color, which distinguishes the ConceptD 3 from the background of ordinary office models and will clearly appeal to the target audience for which the device is oriented.
The overall design can be described as minimalistic. Of the external decor elements, only a barely noticeable engraving of the ConceptD logo is implemented at the top edge of the laptop lid.
The lower part contains a large number of ventilation holes. Three elongated rubber pads located along the bottom perimeter are responsible for the stability of the device.
As mentioned above, the dimensions of the case are 363.4×254.5×23.36 mm. Closer to the front end, the thickness decreases and reaches 20.85 mm. Unlike the MacBook, the ConceptD 3 requires both hands to lift the lid.
Additional perforations are visible on the rear end, through which the cooling system ejects hot air outside the internal space of the case.
During testing, I did not have any comments regarding the quality of the materials used or the build quality of the laptop. The device looks solid, there are no significant gaps between the panels, the top cover does not bend if you press it with moderate pressure. During operation, the ConceptD 3 creates a pleasant impression. First of all, this is achieved due to the high-quality coating of all metal elements of the case (the laptop is pleasant to hold in your hands), and the second pleasant moment was the minimum number of fingerprints that would be noticeable. In part, this is the merit of the white color of the case, which was chosen as the main one.
The maximum tilt angle of the display reaches 180 degrees, which will allow you to work with a laptop, placing it on your lap or in almost any other working position. The standard design of two loops is responsible for repeating the screen.
A webcam and a trio of microphones have taken their place at the top of the screen bezel.
A set of available connection interfaces ConceptD 3 will give odds to any of the current MacBook Pro models. On the left side are a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI and LAN RJ-45 connectors.
On the opposite side, another USB Type-A port (version 2.0) is available to the user, as well as an audio output. At the same time, the lack of a card reader for reading SD memory cards looks somewhat strange. Considering that the entire ConceptD line is aimed at people who work with photos and graphics, the presence of a card reader would be a clear advantage for photographers who are looking for a quality laptop suitable for photo processing.
The standard audio system consists of a pair of stereo speakers. The reserve of their volume will be enough to watch movies or listen to music in the background. Rattling at maximum volume is minimal.
The laptop uses an island-style keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad. In the upper right corner, as is standard for Acer laptops, there is a power on / off button. All keys received a three-level orange backlight, which goes well with the main body color. After a few seconds of inactivity, the backlight turns off automatically and resumes its work at the first press of any of the keys.
A fingerprint scanner is available at the bottom of the case, which has received support for the Windows Hello function.
The keyboard is great for typing and office tasks. The keys have a short travel, act quickly and with a readable return.
The medium-sized touchpad is made in the form of a solid surface without separate buttons.
In the instance provided for testing, an IPS-matrix Chi Mei CMN N156HCE-EN2 with a diagonal of 15.6 inches and a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels is installed. This panel is different from those that we have seen in past reviews of laptops from Acer. Often, for their multimedia, business and even premium gaming laptops, Acer used matrices from AU Optronics or LG. This indirectly confirms that screens with a certain set of characteristics are selected for the new line, because not only the model of the matrix has changed, but also its supplier company.
The top of the screen is covered with a semi-matte film without a pronounced crystalline effect. Glare and reflections from surrounding objects may become noticeable when the screen is exposed to direct sunlight or other strong light sources.
The dimming range is available over a wide range from 21 to 336 cd/m². The contrast ratio is stable and averaged an impressive 1295:1, as for an IPS panel.
The second fact confirming that the screen of laptops undergoes additional adjustment at the factory was the separately created color profile ConceptD CN315-71_DCI-P3, which is selected by default as the main one for Windows.
If necessary, the user can select another profile as the main one (for example, standard sRGB) in the OS settings menu or in the proprietary ConceptD Palette pre-installed application.
Since the matrix supports an extended color gamut, the color triangle goes well beyond the sRGB space. This is most pronounced in the area of green, yellow and red shades. Compliance with the sRGB profile is 99.9%, AdobeRGB – 85.8%. The color temperature is close to the reference 6500. The gamma curves are slightly scattered and run slightly above the reference curve.
According to the Argyll utility, the maximum color deviation was 6.83 units, the average was 2.69 units. On the one hand, this is more than what was stated in the promotional materials for the laptop (I remind you that the manufacturer announced DeltaE deviations within two units). On the other hand, we still have a fairly well-tuned matrix, which is suitable for working with photo and video content, and professional photographers or graphic designers in any case will additionally adjust the screen using an external calibrator.
As a result, we have a fairly high-quality display with high maximum brightness and contrast, extended color gamut, color temperature close to the standard and good viewing angles. Without additional configuration, it is suitable for performing any multimedia tasks and semi-professional work with graphic materials.
Access to the internal components of the system can be obtained by unscrewing the 10 screws located around the perimeter of the bottom cover of the case. The tested configuration of the ConceptD 3 CN315-71 almost completely coincides with the Nitro 5 AN515-54 gaming laptop (NH.Q59EU.039) discussed in one of the previous reviews. It uses an identical motherboard with a similar arrangement of all key components. However, the manufacturer has made a number of improvements. So, the number of heat pipes in the cooling system has increased from two to three, which should have a positive effect on the efficiency of its work and on the peak performance of the laptop.
There are two allocated slots for the installation of RAM. Kingston strips are used, with a total capacity of 16 gigabytes (DDR4-2666, Micron chips).
The storage system can include a total of two NVMe M.2 SSDs and one 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s SSD/HDD.
Aluminum heatsinks are included for fast SSDs. The role of a regular SSD is performed by SK Hynix HFM256GDJTNG-8310A BA for 256 gigabytes.
The wireless network is provided by the Intel AX200NGW adapter. This is the latest model of wireless adapters from Intel, which supports standard Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
The screenshot below shows the download speed of games from Steam when connected to a Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 4A router (maximum speed available 500 Mbps) located in the next room. I have not been able to achieve similar results with Wi-Fi modules of previous generations.
The complete lithium-ion battery has a total of four cells with a total capacity of 3733 mAh.
A pair of acoustic speakers are located at the corners of the case.
The full specifications of the laptop are presented in the screenshot of the HWiNFO64 utility.
The used CPU Core i5-9300H belongs to the ninth generation of the Intel Core architecture (Coffee Lake) and is made according to the next iteration of the 14-nm process technology. The prefix H in the name of the CPU indicates that the maximum TDP level has been increased to 45 watts. The base clock speed for four physical cores is 2.4 GHz, while the maximum in Turbo Boost mode can reach 4.1 GHz. The processor supports Hyper-Threading technology.
16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM operate at an effective frequency of 2666 MHz and delays of 19-19-19-43-2T.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 video card is responsible for the gaming performance of the system. It is based on a 12-nm TU117 (Turing) crystal. The operating frequency of the graphics core is in the range of 1395-1560 MHz. Four gigabytes of standard GDDR5 video memory operate at an effective frequency of 8000 MHz. Real-time ray tracing is not supported.
The laptop comes with the only pre-installed proprietary utility – ConceptD Palette. Its functionality consists in monitoring the current performance of the system, the ability to manage color profiles and split the screen into several work areas, adjust audio sound and install other proprietary Acer utilities by selecting them from the App Center menu.
Cooling System Efficiency and Noise Level
The cooling system capabilities were tested in a room with a stable air temperature of 23 °C. Both the peak values of the internal components of the device and the level of heating of its case were measured. The necessary load was provided by the AIDA64 utility.
The operation of the cooling system is configured in such a way as to keep the maximum temperature of the central processor within 90 ° C, but its such frequency does not fall below 2500 MHz. As you can see in the graph, with a continuous and intense load, the TDP CPU parameter begins to gradually decrease from 45 W to 25 W. If these actions are not enough, the processor starts to issue idle cycles.
In gaming applications, things are somewhat better. The average temperature of the processor was 88 ° C, the graphics core – 75-76 ° C. The CPU clock frequency was in the range of 2800-4100 MHz, GPU – 1600-1700 MHz. The noise from the operation of the cooling system under such loads can be described as high.
At the location of the video card, the laptop case warms up to a noticeable 49 ° C. At other points, the temperature was more comfortable 30–40 °C.