Acer ConceptD 9 Complete Walkthrough: A Designer’s Dream
Acer, not too long ago, was one of the first laptop manufacturers to realize that there is a huge group of professionals that buy their gaming laptops but not just to play games. They use them for professional applications like video production, animations, photo editing, and more.
And that there is even a decent percentage of the them that buy gaming laptops and don’t play games on them at all (this guy).
They decided to not just create a laptop aimed at this demographic, they decided to create an entire lineup and brand around them. Laptops in every size, desktops, and even a super color accurate monitor all were announced at once under the new name CreatorD.
I was actually in the audience when this was announced, and because I very much am the user in question, I remember muttering under my breath: finally.
Now, it’s been about a year since Acer told us their idea behind ConceptD and I have here what essential amounts to their monstrous crown jewel of that line up: the Acer ConceptD 9.
Since they let me borrow it for a bit, I figured I’d try and do a complete walkthrough on it for you guys. If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I try and through every single feature I possibly can on a new device in case any of you might be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there is a lot to go through so let’s get started with the hardware.
Firstly, it’s not small.
The laptop might have a 17″ screen, but that’s the display itself. Add to that about an inch of bezel on either side along with this hinges beyond that and you’re really looking at more of a 21″ laptop.
It’s to the point where not only does it not fit in my laptop like my 15″ laptop does, but it barely fits in my carry on luggage. And at just shy of 9 and a half pounds it’ll probably push your checked bag over the airline limit, too.
Now, because of all this, it’s less of a portable powerhouse and more of a desktop replacement that you can easily move to the conference room or around the office.
The entire chassis is made out of aluminum with just some plastic surrounding the screen.
Speaking of, we have a 17..3″ 16:9 4K LED backlit IPS touchscreen display.
And one of the party pieces is the fact that that screen is attached to two metal hinges and allows it to be positioned in a number of ways.
Like a regular notebook, flipping it over to say show clients or collaborators what you’re working on (and Windows automatically flips the screen when you do that), to laying it flat or propping it up as an ezel and everything in between since the hinge mechanism feels super solid and whereever you put the screen is where it stays even if you’re touching the screen.
Those last two positions and the sturdiness of it all come in quite handy when you opt to use the included Wacom EMR pen that, by the way, magnetically attaches to the top of the screen (and does so pretty well I might add).
If you aren’t familiar, Wacom is basically the defacto stylus company for professional creatives that do any sort of drawing in their job. So it’s nice to see them use a tried and true manufacturer that is familiar to them for this almost essential tool for some versus trying to create their own.
Again, since this is a laptop aimed squarely at professional creatives, Acer made sure the display was validated by Pantone, the company behind the Pantone Color Matching System, a widely used standardized color reproduction system. Without delving into that too much here, suffice it to say that Pantone Certified essentially means that when a designer is looking at a specific Pantone color on their screen, that it’s guaranteed to look like color when it’s printed.
In addition to this, they also managed to achieve and average Delta E of less than 1. Delta E is the difference in a color compared to real life, the lower the number the closer it’ll be to real life color basically.
And lastly, for all the screen testing, they also claim to cover 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, which, for anyone using Adobe’s creative software is just another way of ensuring accuracy.
At the top of the screen, we have a 1080P webcam that looks and sounds like this and is also apparently Skype Business certified, which means that Microsoft put it through a series of tests and certifies that it works well with their Skype to Business app.
Beneath that screen, we have a what looks like the speakers, but actually is the exhaust vents for the dual 4th generation AeroBlade 3D fans as Acer calls them.
The speakers, of which their are four of them, actually took me a sec to locate while playing audio (they’re under the front edge it seems) and that’s because they do a good job of bouncing the audio at you to where it sounds a bit like surround sound which is crazy.
The keyboard itself, is a proper mechanical keyboard with an amber glow that you can adjust using function plus F7/F8. The fact that it’s mechanical means that it is super clicky and I really enjoy the typing on it frankly. You will just have to keep in mind how close you sit to your neighbors as, again because it’s mechanical, it makes a bit of noise (albeit less than others I’ve used actually).
My one gripe about it is that the right shift key is super tiny and crowded by other keys so I found myself hitting page up a lot out of muscle memory for where a larger shift button would have been. Of course though, that’s something you’d eventually get used to. Probably.
That keyboard is also offset to the left to make room for the trackpad on the right. The pad itself is smaller than most nowadays and also has physical buttons under it for click and right-click which I’m sure has something to do with being more accurate maybe but frankly, if Mac can make an accurate trackpad, I feel like Windows OEMs should be able to as well.
Truthfully though, any creative, myself included, refuses to use a Windows trackpad while working and opts for an external mouse instead. And Acer seems to have thought about that at least as the trackpad has a neat trick when not in use to be turned into a numerpad for easier number crunching.
Making our way around the laptop, we have every port ever basicallly.
On the left, we have one USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, separate 3.5mm audio ports one for a microphone and one for headphones (which is nice), and a USB 2.0 port (Maybe for legacy peripherals? Not sure why they didn’t just put another USB 3.1 port here.)
On the right, we have an N lock to lock the laptop to a work station for example, the power button, one USB 3.1 Type C port that doubles as a Thunderbolt 3 port, another USB 3.1 Type-C port that also supports DisplayPort over USB-C, another USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, and a Killer Ethernet E3000 2.5Gbps ethernet port.
But that’s not all. Around the back, we have a proper DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI port, and the port for the AC adapter. I kinda like that they chose these specific ports to put on the back, by the way, as it means that when you are at a desk, the cables that would go to the wall outlet or to your extra monitors are all hidden from view. #cablemanagement
For connectivity, we have a Killer Double Shot Pro adapter built-in that offers WiFi 6 and we have Bluetooth 5.0 support, as well.
Inside this monster, we have a 9th gen Intel i9-9980HK 8-core processor (basically the top model of Intel’s consumer range that’s out–as the newer 10th gen I don’t believe I’ve seen yet in any production laptops) and that is paired with 32GB of DDR4 RAM which is the maximum the computer can utilize.
For storage we have a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD that is nonremovable.
Graphics-wise, Acer didn’t skimp there as you would expect considering it’s aimed at 3D animators, CAD designers, video editors, etc. We have a NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU with 8GBs of GDDR6 VRAM.
And as I’ve used plenty of laptops in the past with this GPU and even less capable CPUs, it handles whatever video footage I throw at it. Even in full resolution with color corrections, etc.
And for anyone curious, here are some common benchmarks on it so you have something to use to compare it to other laptops at least.
For battery, we have a 71.9Wh battery in here that Acer claims will last about 2.5 hours of WiFi use. So let’s do a very unscientific test and see how close the comes to it.
Now, keep in mind that that’s without engaging the very power hungry GPU really and so if you do any work on this using that, you can expect even less battery life. Again, all of this furthering my use case of a desktop replacement that doesn’t travel too far from an outlet.
For software, we are running Windows 10 Home 64-bit and have a decent amount of pre-installed, what I would consider at least, bloatware. This includes a few games, a dropbox promotion literally called that in the app list, and some others like Norton Antivirus which I find quite annoying frankly. Thankfully though as with all Windows laptops, you can easily right-click and uninstall the ones you don’t like.
Besides these though, Acer did add some useful software to the computer:
- WavesMaxx Audio: An app to adjust the equalizer for the speakers as well as to enable 3D audio when using headphones.
- Acer Care Center: Acer’s own app for memory and storage optimizations, updating of software, recovery tools, etc.
- Voice Recorder: A very basic voice recording app.
- Killer Control Center: And because of the Killer brand ethernet and Wifi, we have their own app for monitoring and optimizing network traffic.
And there you go. The Acer ConceptD 9 is available now with two models. The one I have here with the specs I listed already for $4999 and a Pro model that swaps out the RTX 2080 for a Quadro RTX 5000 and the 1TB storage for 2TBs (I can’t seem to find a place to buy that model though on their site nor a price).
I’ll leave a link below to the best price I could find on the laptop for anyone interested or if you want more info on it.
Personally, I really like using it. It just feels super solid, the GPU/CPU combo handles whatever my video editing workflow can throw at it, the keyboard is so satisfying, etc. But it’s not for me, and not just because of the $5000 price tag, but also because I need that power but I need it to be able to go with me.
I’m not the demographic for this though of course, the rotating screen, pen, etc. tell me it’s meant more for designers, 3D modelers, etc. So