Acer Aspire 7 Review 2021: Gamer in an inconspicuous dress

The Aspire notebook range from Acer includes slim office devices with a stylish exterior. We looked at the current version with AMD Ryzen 5500U and NVIDIA GTX 1650. Surprise: In addition to Office applications, games also run well on them.

As already said, the Aspire products are actually office notebooks and can be compared with the “ThinkBooks” from Lenovo: slim, stylish case and good inner values. Acer itself titled the models with ” Experience a new design and high performance – whether in everyday life or at work, for simple or complex tasks .” Acer divides the series into Aspire 1, Aspire 3, Aspire 3 Pro, Aspire 5 and Aspire 7. The higher the number, the more power, and processing.

The Acer Aspire 7 (A715-42G-R0XB) therefore belongs to the highest category. It offers strong components with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and an NVIDIA GTX 1650 (4GB). With the Acer Aspire 7 (A715-42G-R9LH) there is an even stronger version with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U.

Technical data Acer Aspire 7 (A715-42G-R0XB)

Display39.6 cm (15.6 in) matte, 1920x1080px, 16: 9, 60-Hz, 141 ppi, IPS
processorAMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 6 cores and 12 threads, 2.1 – 4.0 GHz, 8 MB cache, Lucienne U (Zen 2)
graphicRadeon RX Vega 7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
random access memory8 GB DDR4 SODIMM (1 of 2 installed, max 32 GB)
hard disk512 GB M.2 SSD
networkWi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)Bluetooth 5.0
connections1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x Ethernet connection (Lan connection)
1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack connection
battery pack3-cell lithium-ion battery with 48Wh capacity, 10 hours runtime, 135 watt power supply
Input devices
Backlit keyboard Touchpad with multi-touch gesture support
Fingerprint scanner
HD 720p webcam
SoundStereo speakers
Dimensions36.3 x 25.4 x 2.08 cm (W x D x H)
Weight2.15 kg
price$839.00
Acer Aspire 7 Review 2021

Promises of advertising

Of course, manufacturers always praise their devices particularly strongly. However, these advertising promises give a good overview and show in which direction you want to go with them. A powerful gaming machine or particularly stylish for conference rooms and business? Interested buyers should read through the advertising promise.

  • “High Productivity” – The Aspire 7 packs a lot of power into the case. The latest NVIDIA graphics make your notebook fit for work and games, while the latest 11th generation Intel Core CPUs or AMD Ryzen 5000 processors ensure that everything runs at optimal speed.
  • “Visibly impressive” – Thanks to the display-to-case ratio of 81.61%, users can see more on the breathtaking 15.6 ″ FHD screen with narrow bezels. The Aspire 7 uses Acer Color Intelligence and Acer ExaColor to further improve the display.
  • Fast Communication – Users can easily get updates on the latest information thanks to a wide range of connectivity options. Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) improves average network throughput by up to 3 times and reduces latencies by up to 75% compared to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • “Lots of power” – With a maximum 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD and up to 32GB DDR4 (SO-DIMM) RAM, users have enough power and storage space to manage their tasks.
  • “State-of-the-art connections” – By using USB-C, users get super-fast data transfer via SuperSpeed ​​USB 5Gbps. A total of four USB ports are available: one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ​​USB 5Gbps Type A, one of which can be used for offline charging, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. There is also an HDMI connection.
  • “Professional Appearance” – With its subtle, dark design and optional backlit keyboard, the Aspire 7 expresses a professional design that is well received everywhere and ideal for working in dimly lit environments.

A brief overview of the Acer Aspire 7 Review 2021

The Acer Aspire 7 comes in a black look. Acer wants to achieve a “professional look” with the dark design and silver or white elements. In fact, the device looks pretty chic in real life and its monochrome design makes it serious.

The housing is made of plastic with a smooth surface and at first, glance appears to be of high quality. The underside is roughened and has three rubber feet that hold the notebook firmly in place. When lifting, the weight of 2.15 kilos is noticeable. It is not a light device, but it can still be carried easily with one hand. Nevertheless, the 15.6-inch Aspire 7 has a compact design: It fits perfectly in the notebook compartment of my backpack. On a short trip, I didn’t really notice the weight.

The special thing about the device is the recently released Ryzen 5000 generation. The APUs with the code name “Lucienne” are based on Zen-2. They should offer a particularly high level of performance with low power consumption (15 watts). In addition, it should also remain comparatively cool, which enables slim notebooks with a small cooling solution. That sounds ideal for the Aspire range.

The model is also interesting because, in addition to the – very good – integrated graphics unit of the Ryzen, it also has its own graphics card. The NVIDIA GTX 1650 offers good performance for current titles, but unlike the RTX models, it cannot ray tracing. But that’s not bad in this price range. The graphics card based on the Turing architecture should be sufficient for moderate titles and offer a decent performance boost, especially for applications such as video and image editing.

There is also a 15.6-inch IPS display that only has a resolution of 1080p, but looks sharp and colorful at first glance. The built-in keyboard and trackpad make a good first impression.

There are plenty of connections: a proprietary charging port, one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0 Type-A and a USB 2.0 Type-A port. There is also HDMI 2.0b, a real Ethernet connection (Lan), a Kensington Lock security lock and a 3.5mm jack connection.

In terms of price – and according to the built-in hardware – it is in the upper-middle class. The competition here is, for example, the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 G2 or the ASUS VivoBook.

scope of delivery

This section is just as minimalistic as the scope of delivery: The box contains the notebook itself, the charger (135 watts) and the usual papers. The interior is not particularly designed – everything is very functional. Unpacking itself was quick and easy.

The unboxing experience is not particularly exciting, but packaging like this is good for the environment and saves money. In addition – let’s be honest – the boxes end up on the shelf or in the basement anyway. Acer gives a two-year guarantee on the device, which can be extended on the manufacturer’s website.

Processing and service

At the top of the processing pyramid are of course devices from Apple, Razer or Huawei. These are mostly made of high quality aluminum and are praiseworthy well processed. But Acer also has good workmanship in its notebooks, especially with the Acer Aspire 7 series.

Although mainly plastic is used here, everything feels robust and durable. Nothing creaks or crunches and the gaps are also perfect. The keyboard only bends slightly inwards when there is force majeure. Users who hit the keys a little harder have no problems with the plastic case. During my testing phase, I felt confident with the Aspire 7 that it would stand up to the test of time. It will surely survive one or the other unavoidable fall.

Acer Aspire 7 Review

Due to the robust construction, but above all the built-in hardware, the weight is slightly higher than other devices in this category. But it is kept within reasonable limits. The display is connected to the housing via two rails on the left and right. That makes it more stable against wobbling when typing harder but makes it a little more fragile against bending. If I just tried to bend the display slightly, it would work.

The Acer Aspire 7 exudes objectivity with its dark design but still looks a bit like a gaming notebook due to the plastic used and the construction. Both the colors and the material also hide fingerprints well. On the back of the display is the well-known “Acer” lettering in silver and “Aspire” in white letters is on the edge of the case. Acer tries clearly to tie in with the design of other premium business devices, such as the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7.

Acer Aspire 7

The underside is roughened and has two small and one long rubberized base. Almost half of the underside is used for cooling with large ventilation slots. Underneath are, clearly visible, two fans and copper heat sinks.

The Acer Aspire 7 passed the famous “Can it be opened with one hand?” Test with flying colors. Nevertheless, the hinges are so stiff that the display doesn’t wobble when typing.

The inside has the same color as the case. This makes the style look uniform and tidy. The keyboard is black and white and has a white backlight. Unfortunately – and I cannot emphasize this enough – Acer built in the typical roughened, thick black plastic bezels for the display. That disturbs the high quality and also the otherwise modern impression. These edges look like a relic from 2010.

Acer Aspire 7 keypad

The power button at the top right is not a special key, but an additional key on the keyboard. That’s not bad, but it can be done nicer and smarter: Many devices have a fingerprint sensor built into the power button. Acer has put this on the top left corner of the trackpad. During my test phase, it always worked perfectly.

I was torn when it came to the keyboard: It is neatly made and has a pleasant journey. But it feels somehow “spongy” and the pressure point is not really “crisp” either. This becomes particularly clear with the space bar: there is no satisfactory feeling when pressed. As a result, I always have the thought “Have I really pressed the space bar now?” When I write. Annoying, but not a broken leg. Longer texts can be easily written on it if you know about these peculiarities. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see it a bit “crisper”.

Acer Aspire 7 keys

The multi-touch capable trackpad is offset to the left on the inside. Even after countless notebook tests, this still confuses me. It could be a bit bigger, but it’s pleasant and always accurate. Apart from the fingerprint sensor, it has no special properties. It’s a rock-solid trackpad with Windows Precision drivers. For most users, it should be more than enough.

Overall, the Acer Aspire 7 is characterized by good workmanship, an elegant look, and solid input hardware. Of course, it can’t keep up with all the super-premium aluminum ultrabooks. In return, the Aspire 7 offers convincing inner values ​​in a comparatively slim case.

connections

There is also a lot to be praised for the connections, but also criticism. First of all, the good thing: There are many connection options on the Acer Aspire 7. That’s a good thing.

On the left there is a Kensington Lock security lock, a real Ethernet port, one HDMI 2.0b and USB Type-C, as well as two full-blown USB A ports (3.2 Gen 1).

Acer Aspire 7 ports

On the right are Acer’s own charging port, two indicator LEDs, a USB 2.0 port and a combination port for a 3.5mm jack.

Acer Aspire 7 ports

In addition to the physical connections, there is a WLAN chip with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax / ac / a / b / g / n) and Bluetooth 5.0.

Now for the things I don’t like so much:

  • A card reader is missing. It is not entirely clear to me why this was saved. There is enough space on the left.
  • A proprietary charging port is used, although USB-C is present.
  • Why a separate USB 2.0 port is still installed is a mystery to me.
  • Why can’t the USB-C port be used as the power delivery and DisplayPort?

So the number of connections is quite large but strangely mixed or partly outdated. I can only speculate why Acer uses this combination. But it can not only be cost reasons since cheap notebooks already use USB-C ports for charging and image output. The USB 2.0 port is completely a mystery to me.

Display

One of the hearts of a notebook is the display. Of course, an external monitor can be connected at any time, but the notebook screen is used most of the time. Right in advance and before the measurement: The IPS panel used is perfectly fine for everyday use. But you quickly notice that it’s not particularly bright. Otherwise, I like the colors and the sharpness. However, Acer does not provide any information on brightness or color space coverage.

The maximum brightness measured with the Spyder5 Elite is 241.7 nits (cd / m²) in the center of the screen and decreases towards the edges. For me, a value from 300 nits (cd / m²) is good, the further up it goes, the better. A popular official specification for cheaper notebooks is 250 nits. This is even undercut here. Too bad. The IPS panel used has stable viewing angles and the colors do not distort.

Acer Aspire 7

Now we come to the measured values ​​such as color space coverage or contrast. According to Spyder5, the display has sRGB coverage of 64 percent, while AdobeRGB, which is important for many media professionals, is covered fairly “Lala” at 47 percent. The P3 color space, which is also so important in some situations, is only displayed at 47 percent.

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Unfortunately, the calibration with the Spyder did not improve the color reproduction. All values ​​have remained the same. The contrast is not necessarily good at 700: 1. It works worse, but also significantly better. On the other hand, the mean value for color fidelity has improved from 1.54 to 1.37 and the gray levels have improved significantly.

The Acer Aspire 7 offers a mid-range display: It can be used and the color reproduction is sufficient for media consumption. Mainly the brightness leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I can’t get rid of the feeling that the display itself doesn’t match the rest of the device. The case is well thought out and pretty, the built-in hardware is good and suitable for gaming. The display, however, looks like something taken from an inexpensive old office notebook and built on it. If Acer installs a better display (with narrower display bezels) in the next version, the device could be even better. Unfortunately, this is a missed opportunity.

power

I was really excited to see the performance of the Acer Aspire 7 with this configuration. Actually, there should be enough power for gaming: Six cores with 12 threads, 8 GB of RAM, a Vega 7 graphics unit, or even an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. Even if it is “only” a U processor, the Ryzen 5 is 5500U pretty powerfully. So let’s run the notebook through the benchmarks and look at the results together.

gaming laptop

Direct competitors of the built-in AMD Ryzen 5 5500U are Intel’s 10 nm CPUs of the Tiger Lake H35 type. They are also about the same level of performance. The comparatively high performance of the CPU and the integrated graphics unit is remarkable: some older titles or current e-sports games can be played with good frame rates. You can find a good overview of what is possible with a Vega 7 graphics unit in the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 review.

When the Nvidia GPU is turned on, the Acer Aspire 7 really shines! This achieves between 66 and 71 fps in The Witcher 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs on average with around 47 fps. E-sports titles like CS: GO can thus be played well at around 76 to 139 fps – on “high” settings. In LoL, I achieved more than 200 fps on medium settings.

Blockbuster titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will be more difficult to play on. Everything below that should work well in different stages.

CPU-Z & GPU-Z

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AS SSD benchmark

In pure CPU benchmarks, such as Cinebench (R20 & R23), the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U also convinces: In the single core, it is faster than an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990W and only slightly behind an Intel Core i7-7700K (4K / 8T ). A few years ago it was still a high-end processor. In the multi-core, however, the AMD Ryzen wins over the Intel Core i7-7700K.

Battery power

The Acer Aspire 7 should actually be an endurance runner due to its economical 15 watt APU and its 48 Wh battery. Acer claims a battery life of around 10 hours. But there is something to consider: In the basic model, the APU takes over the image output. The Nvidia graphics card, which also consumes more power, only takes over for computationally intensive tasks. So these 10 hours apply to the basic mode.

In order to achieve realistic results, I observed the battery performance for days and tested it as follows: I turned the display brightness to around 80 percent, set the performance profile to “balanced” and spent a normal working day with an active WLAN connection. The program said: A lot of surfing the Internet and working in Office applications. The keyboard and trackpad were used continuously.

The entire notebook consumes between 4 and 9 watts when idling. So it is on par with Intel processors on the 10th / 11th. Generation and also the previous generation of AMD APUs. As soon as I start surfing and some music, consumption levels off at around 32 watts. That is a very good value. When I briefly started a game, the peak power was just under 83 watts, which the 135-watt power supply could absorb. All in all, the energy consumption is really impeccable.

acer

After around 7 hours and 45 minutes, the battery ran out. So that gets through a working day, but not beyond that. Basically, this is a really good value for the performance offered. I’ve already had devices with better battery life ( Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 ), but they also had a larger battery. Last but not least: the battery is fully charged in around an hour and 10 minutes. Now is not an exceptionally good time, but it is okay. However, I don’t fully understand why it takes so long with a 135-watt power supply and why it is not feasible in under an hour.

Noise emissions

The Acer Aspire 7 is not just a gaming notebook. Therefore, it should be as quiet as possible in most situations. Nevertheless, it has a comparatively strong cooling system. With everyday work and surfing (at notebooksbilliger.de) and watching Netflix, it remains whisper-quiet. When I exert a little effort on the notebook, the measured volume ranges between 31 and 34 dB (A). If the Nvidia GPU is added, the volume increases to 53 dB (A).

This means that the fans can be heard while gaming, but they do not drown out the speakers. Rather, there is a certain background noise, like with a quiet vacuum cleaner. To get a comparison: Most Ultrabooks without an additional GPU move at around 34 dB (A) under full load. So the volume is good for the given performance.

temperature

I wanted to find out how warm the Acer Aspire 7 can get with a stress test. On the one hand, this is crucial for the performance of the hardware and for pleasant work. I ran Cinebench R23, Netflix and a game in parallel.

The notebook remains pleasantly quiet and cool during normal work and surfing. This is due to the strong cooling system, but also to the economical AMD Ryzen, which also takes over the image output most of the time. Only after prolonged use did it get warmer where the CPU and GPU are located. I measured a maximum of 39 degrees on the inside. Other areas, such as the trackpad or keyboard, remained pleasantly cool. On the other hand, on the back, where the ventilation slots are, it got a bit warmer: Here, too, the place where the processor is located was the hottest. I was able to measure 49 degrees. It’s warm, but not too warm. I didn’t have any problems with the device on my lap during that time. In addition, this is an extreme test scenario,

Let’s take a look at the temperatures and clock rates during the stress test for the CPU. At the beginning of the test, the APU boosts to just under 4.04 GHz and consumes 45.5 watts for a short time. After a few seconds, the clock rate drops to 3.3 GHz and finally levels off at 2.4 GHz. The temperature moves at 81.8 degrees with the first big boost. When gaming, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U got a maximum of 74 degrees and an average of 64 degrees.

Gear up

The situation when upgrading looks good, as many components can be easily replaced. You can access the inner workings via twelve screws on the underside. There you will find an M.2 slot that is already equipped with a 512GB SSD. Almost 452 GB can be used in the delivery state. The remaining memory is distributed between Windows and the recovery partition.

The main memory can be expanded afterwards: There are two freely usable SODIMM slots, one is already occupied with 8 GB. Nothing is soldered here! The WLAN module can also be exchanged. This means that you can switch to a better module in the future.

Furthermore, the battery and the ports on the left can be easily exchanged if you can get the spare parts. Basically, Acer has done an exemplary job here, because many modules can be easily exchanged and upgraded without much effort.

Sound & webcam

A notebook doesn’t live from the quality of the speakers and webcam, but they round off the overall media package. Of course, external speakers and webcams can be plugged in, but the built-in components should be sufficient. In short: With the Acer Aspire 7 you get a “well” webcam and very useful speakers.

The loudspeakers were a maximum of 60.4 dB and are therefore on the quieter side. The sound was a bit “thin”, but otherwise absolutely useful. The volume may not be impressive either, but it is completely sufficient if you are sitting directly in front of the notebook. Since there is a lack of bass, there are deductions in the “fun” note. They are more suitable for voices, soundtracks, and instrumental music. They don’t distort even at high volume. The speakers are fine for this product category. They are sufficient for series and films, podcasts and video calls.

Acer installs – like pretty much every manufacturer – a 720p webcam. It is – as with pretty much every other manufacturer – absolute through … no. Unfortunately, I can’t write that. The webcam is even worse than the other built-in webcams.

The picture is surprisingly soft (see the face), shadows are displayed strangely (see t-shirt) and otherwise, the picture is not good either. The camera is enough for very short video calls, nothing more. I recommend an external webcam to buyers who like to video chat.

Conclusion Acer Aspire 7 (A715-42G-R0XB)

I’m torn: I really want to like the Acer Aspire 7. The built-in processor is energy-saving and powerful, the built-in Nvidia graphics unit is an entry-level model, but good enough for many games. In addition, there is the beautiful case and the usable keyboard and trackpad combination. However, Acer loses me again with the display, the choice of connections and the charging speed.

The built-in hardware is strong enough for all imaginable office applications and loads of game titles. With the latter, the selection is decisive, but it can be played with surprisingly well. The notebook could be something especially for esports enthusiasts. When gaming, the really good cooling never lets you down and keeps all components sufficiently cool. So far so nice.

acer display

The built-in ports are arbitrary and out of date. Especially the fact that Acer relies on its own charging solution is strange and annoying. USB-C all the things!

The built-in display looks like it was taken from an older and cheaper notebook and installed here. This is a pity! Because with a prettier and, above all, brighter display, the Acer Aspire 7 could have become a price/performance hit in terms of gaming.

The Acer Aspire 7 costs around $839. Is it worth it too? The built-in hardware, the case, and the cooling solution are good. The built-in keyboard and trackpad are ok. The display weakens the picture, but it is still usable. Those who mainly use the notebook indoors or an external monitor will be satisfied with it. Gamers in particular get a lot of value for their money here.

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