Acer Aspire Vero review

Acer Aspire Vero review

We’re big fans of schemes that address e-waste. So far it’s been Australia’s own Venom computers who have led the charge – offering 7-year warranties with a guaranteed $500 buy-back in order to recycle and reuse parts. Now here’s Acer with a different take. The Acer Aspire Vero is constructed from 30 per cent PCR, which stands for Post Consumer Content. It’s basically plastic that would have gone to landfill but has been reconstituted into new plastic. Acer states that this reduces the CO2 emissions associated with construction by 21 per cent. Not bad!

On top of this, the laptop is designed to be easily upgraded and repaired with easy-to-access, standard screws – a far cry from devices that are essentially glued together *cough* Apple. There are additional features which we’ll cover below but you can read more about it all here.

Key specs of the Acer Aspire Vero

15.6-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1920 x 1080, IPS display; 1.0-4.5GHz Intel Core i5-1155G7 CPU; 8GB RAM; 256GB HDD; Intel Iris Xe graphics; 65Wh battery; 1.8KG. SKU: NX.AYCSA.005. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

Acer says that the Aspire Vero is Volcanic Gray but our gut reaction is that it’s unpainted, recycled plastic colour. This is no bad thing… there’s nothing else out there that looks like it. The lines are sharp enough for it not to look cheap and the stamped ‘Post Consumer Recycled’ logo on the right-hand side of the palm wrest is a refreshingly original design element. The Acer logo on the lid is also very discreet – it too has been stamped into the plastic to save on resources. Again, it’s unique. We also like the mirrored R and E keys on the keyboard which supposedly reinforce the reduce, reuse recycle mantra (that we think Bob the Builder might have coined).

Acer Aspire Vero screen
The Full HD screen gets bright and offers decent contrast.

The white LED, back-lit, Scrabble-tile keyboard is very comfortable and accurate to type upon. There’s also a number pad but we never like to see squashed arrow keys. The trackpad is smooth and accurate but the buttons are a little too stiff for our liking. There’s also a fingerprint reader embedded into it with TPM-based security, but it’s not Windows Hello-logon compatible.

Acer Aspire Vero keyboard
The stamped logos in the palm rest reduce the use of toxic paint!

The Acer Aspire Vero’s IPS screen has a rather thick bezel, but that’s something laptop marketers care more about than us. At the top is a usable HD webcam. The screen itself is bright and well-lit but colours are a little muted. It has a 60Hz refresh rate so it’s not great for fast-and-frantic gaming, but pixel response time is good and there’s minimal ghosting. We did notice banding in some gradients but it wasn’t too distracting when interacting with multimedia. The bright screen helps with contrast: details are visible in dark areas but can get lost in bright areas.

The speakers offer reasonable fidelity from top to bottom – there’s even a smidge of bass present. But they don’t get very loud.

Performance

The Acer Aspire Vero has a quad-core, 1.0-4.5GHz Intel Core i5-1155G7 processor, 8GB RAM and a (small) 256GB hard drive. These combined to score 4641 in PCMark 10. This is quite low but more than adequate for office and basic multimedia work. Scores of 898 in Cinebench R15 and 5217 in R23 demonstrate that it’s not great for processor-intensive rendering workloads.

Meanwhile the modest, integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics naturally aren’t great for gaming. It wouldn’t run the 3DMark Port Royal ray-tracing test and it only scored 978 (average 5fps) in Time Spy, 935 (4fps) in Fire Strike Extreme and 1466 (8.8fps) in Wild Life Extreme. So, it’s not a gaming machine. A score of 8561 in the lesser Night Raid test still only reflects an average of 44fps, so it will still struggle playing casual and competitive games.

Despite the low power, when under load the fans can ramp up to create a noisy whoosh. However, it’s silent for most minor workloads and multimedia playback.

Connectivity

On the left
On the left is a Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port.
On the right
On the right is a USB-A 2.0 port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Inside is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

Portability

At 1.86KG the Acer Aspire Vero is reasonably light for a 15-inch laptop. The PSU and cables add another 300g – which is relatively light. The 65Wh battery ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office test for an impressive 8hrs 11mins which is a full day out of the office. There’s also a special Verosense app which has four different battery-management modes. It’s a bit overkill but the goal is to maximise the lifespan of the battery.

Acer Aspire Vero underneath
It stays quiet for the most part, but the fans can ramp up to an above-average whoosh under load.

Despite the recycled material, it’s worth noting that the chassis is stiff and should survive life on the road. We did find that it can scratch a little more easily than rivals, but we reckon it comes from the Land Rover Defender School of Design whereby it will actually look better with a few scratches and dings.

Should I buy the Acer Aspire Vero?

At $1,098 it’s relatively inexpensive and this improves the value proposition of what’s otherwise a low-powered laptop. However, what the Acer Aspire Vero represents is more than just a low-powered computer, it’s a technical exercise that’s instantly viable – this is no Gen 1, experiment. For that we applaud it. The main alternatives also come from the Acer stable. On the one hand there’s the ultraportable Acer Swift X which also offers modest gaming capabilities. On the other there’s the Acer Nitro 5 which uses all kinds of modern, nasty, normal materials but is good for gaming.

Acer Aspire Vero results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.1

Summary

A great technical exercise in sustainable manufacturing. It’s a decent laptop in its own right too.

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