- Editor's Rating
- Gorgeous display
- Affordable price
- 360 degree display hinge
- Comfortable Keyboard
- Slow HDD
- Reflective screen
The Acer Aspire R15 offers a little bit of everything, with a bright vibrant display, solid keyboard, and premium design to offer one of the most attractive 15-inch 2-in-1s under $1,000.
The convertible 2-in-1 design has become quite popular for its flexibility and added utility, but consumers have become accustomed to either paying a premium for this design or giving up something in return. The Acer Aspire R 15 manages to walk that fine line offering an attractive convertible design with an affordable $650 ($850 as configured) price tag. Best of all consumers aren’t asked to make major concessions. With a comfortable keyboard, beautiful visuals, and solid performance, this excellent Acer Aspire 2-in-1 offers unrivaled value.
Build and Design
The Acer Aspire R 15 offers a surprisingly high-end build for it’s mid-range price tag. The Acer Aspire features an attractive silver gunmetal aluminum and plastic chassis. The protective lid is comprised of aluminum has a cross stitch design and a metallic Acer logo along the middle left side of the lid. The laptop’s deck houses the same aluminum with a horizontal striation design complete with diamond cut edging running along the outside of the chassis. The same diamond cut also outlines the touchpad. The bottom of the chassis a durable plastic complete with four thick rubber stands that help the laptop grip to any surface.
This Acer Aspire 2-in-1 houses a similar 360-degree hinge design to Lenovo’s Yoga line. The hinge travels a full 360 degrees allowing the laptop to adjust between: standard clamshell, tent, stand and tablet modes. Moving between these modes is fluid as the hinge design allows for smooth travel. Two thick rubber pads sit just below the display hinges on the deck and two thin rubber strips at the bottom corners help anchor the Acer Aspire R15 when in tablet mode.
Measuring 14.6 x 10.1 x 0.8-inches and weighing 5.29 pounds the Acer Aspire R15 isn’t exactly svelte, but it does match up well against other competing 15.6-inch devices in its price range. The Acer Aspire R15 is thinner than HP Notebook 15 (0.96-inches) and the Dell Latitude E5570 (1-inch). While the device isn’t the lightests, again it matches many other 15-inch notebooks on the market including the 5.2 pound Dell Latitude E5570.
The Acer Aspire R 15 has a solid selection of sports, but as 15.6-inch device we would have loved to have seen the inclusion of Ethernet connector. While the Acer Exo Amp design complete with 2×2 MIMO and MU-MIMO offers solid and stable wireless connectivity, sometimes you want the reliability of a tethered connection and for that you’re going to now need to opt for an additional converter.
The left side of this Acer Aspire 2-in-1 device features a power connector, a USB Type-C port, and HDMI connector, two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack. The right side features a power button, a USB 2.0 port, independent volume controls, and an SD card reader.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Acer Aspire R 15 features a full LED backlit Chiclet style keyboard complete with numberpad. The black glossy plastic keys are rounded at the end and offer a solid 1.49mm of travel. The keyboard tray is incredibly solid without any give, even towards the center of the keyboard, and keys quickly and consistently snap back into place after being struck. The strong reliable feedback coupled with excellent key travel allows for an enjoyable typing experience.
Located off the bottom left side of the chassis is the moderately sized buttonless touchpad. Initially we were a bit worried about the touchpad’s location, given how it’s easy for you left wrist to drag across the touchpad while typing, but this Acer Aspire 2-in-1 has great wrist rejection and it was never an issue. Even with our wrist consistently dragging across the pad while typing we never lost our place or had our typing rhythm broken while using the device.
The soft silver rubber of the pad allows for smooth travel and minimal friction while delivering an excellent level of control and sensitivity as you move the cursor. Armed with Microsoft’s standard drivers the touchpad performs well reading each click, swipe, and multi-finger gesture quickly without fail.
Display and Sound
The Acer Aspire R 15 features a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Active Matrix TFT Color LCD IPS touch display. The glossy finish really pops with some incredibly vibrant colors. NBR loved how crisp the dark purples and black clouds of Reaper’s wrath contrasted against bright yellow and white background in the Overwatch game trailer. Image quality also remained incredibly sharp and clear as NBR was able to easy the ribbed cotton lining of Tracer’s aviator jacket despite the all quick movement the action-packed animated short. The screen is also quite bright measuring at 310 nits, well beyond what we’d expect from a laptop in this price range.
Unfortunately, the glossy finish that really makes colors pop also allows for extremely shallow viewing angles, and a reflective screen. From a head-on angle the image is pristine, but moving anything beyond 45 degrees causes colors to quickly appear washed out. The screen is also extremely susceptible to light, again washing out colors and causing reflections to appear on the screen.
For a standard clamshell device, the reflective finish isn’t too big a deal. It will cause some serious complications when trying to use the device outside, but most of the time you’ll be viewing the screen from a head-on angle with minimal complications. However, as a 2-in-1 it’s likely at times you’ll be viewing the device at an off-angle especially when using the device as a tablet. Unfortunately, the viewing angles are heavily hampered due to the reflective surface, which somewhat mars the Aspire R15’s utility as a convertible.
The bottom-mounted speakers are incredibly boisterous capable of easily filling a moderately sized room with audio. The laptop comes preloaded with Dolby Audio desktop app, which allows users to switch between various presets or create their own. However, we found the laptop sounded best when we just set it and forget it. NBR was particularly impressed by the laptop’s ability to capture the classical duet Histoire du Tango – Nightclub 1960 by Duos Sonidos. The laptop did a masterful job capturing the steady hum of the classical guitar along with the challenging high notes of the accompanying violin.
Equipped with a sixth generation 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-650a0U CPU, n Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5, 12GB of RAM (DDR4) and a spacious 1TB HDD, the Acer Aspire R 15 offers a solid level of performance for its $850 price tag.
The build that we tested was among the more expensive builds offered by Acer. If you don’t need as much in the way of performance you can save a few hundred dollars by opting for the entry build. The starting model sports a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U CPU, with integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 Ram and a 1TB HDD for $650. The entry model takes a noticeable hit to graphical performance with the lack of a dedicated GPU, but it may be worth it for consumers that don’t plan on doing a lot of visually demanding tasks.
The unit that NBR tested offers solid well-rounded performance. The laptop is a multi-tasking beast, while testing the device NBR was able to run 12 active Google Chrome tabs, with 2 HD video streams and stream Spotify music in the background without any drop in performance. The dedicated GPU also makes this Acer Aspire 2-in-1 well suited towards visually demanding tasks, as evident by the machines strong 3DMark 11 benchmark score. The laptop is perfect for tasks like 4K video editing, image render and playing less demanding games like League of Legends at a high resolution with stable performance. The Acer Aspire R 15 is not a full out gaming machine. It doesn’t have the raw specs or computing power for it and will struggle to player newer more demanding game titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. If you’re looking for a gaming device around the same price range, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 is a better option.
In terms of raw computing power, this Acer Aspire 2-in-1 is mediocre. The dual-core i7 is more than suitable for most tasks, but as you can see it offers middling benchmark scores, it won’t stand up against beefier CPUs. But the most notable weak point for the machine is its 1TB HDD. The Acer Aspire lacks an SSD option, and with a 5,400 RPM HDD read and writes times are bit slow. The laptop can take a few seconds to resume from hibernation and booting up is considerably slower than counterparts armed with an SSD.
The Acer Aspire R15 review unit that NBR tested had the following specifications:
- Windows 10 Home
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Active Matrix TFT Color LCD IPS touch display
- Intel Core i7-6500U 2.5GHz
- Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB of GDDR5
- 12GB of DDR4
- 1TB HDD (5,400 RPM)
- Dimensions: 14.6 x 10.1 x 0.8-inches
- Weight: 5.29 pounds
- Price: $850
wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance tests:
Heat and Noise
The Acer Aspire R 15 houses a bent along the back end of the chassis in between the display hinges. The location of the vent makes it easy for the Aspire R15 to direct away from the user even when using the device as a laptop. The Acer Aspire R 15 runs quiet, even when under duress, with the fan only producing a faint hum after running an HD stream for 30 minutes. The laptop also remained quite cool during that time. The touchpad got a bit warm after 30 minutes of video playback, along with the bottom of the chassis, but it was still cool enough to comfortably use as a laptop.
To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than typical web browsing alone, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate high-stress usage. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than what you’ll experience just checking Facebook or watching Netflix.
Powermark battery life benchmark test results listed in minutes (higher scores indicate longer battery life):
In our tests, the Acer Aspire ran for 3 hours and 9 minutes before shutting down. With our tests being more demanding that standard use, you likely can expect to get upwards 5 and a half hours on a full charge of battery. That’s a decent battery life, but you should still plan on having the cable handy if you plan on using the device for a prolonged period of time as that’s well below, Acer’s advertised 9-hour battery life.
The Acer Aspire R 15 is an incredibly well-rounded device. For the price, the Aspire R15 affords an excellent mix of performance, strong visuals and comfort. There’s a lot to like about this device including the excellent keyboard and touchpad, gorgeous display with bombastic audio, and attractive durable design.
The one area where device noticeably falls flat is raw computing power. If you’re looking for cutting-edge performance you’d be better served by the Dell Inspiron 7000 15 or Lenovo Ideapad Y700. However, if you’re looking for the complete package with the added utility of a 360-degree hinge display, this Acer Aspire 2-in-1 is a tough act to beat.
- Gorgeous display
- Affordable price
- 360 degree display hinge
- Comfortable Keyboard
- Slow HDD
- Reflective screen