"The ConceptD 7 Ezel is fast and furious and can morph into any form factor a creative professional needs."
Innovative and extremely useful design
Solid build quality despite the complexity
Great input options
Very good advertisement
Very big and heavy
OK creatives, get ready to feel warm and fuzzy: Acer made a laptop just for you. And when I say that, I'm not exaggerating – the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel is not all made up of fast components, so editing large photos and 4K videos takes less time, and it isn't just equipped with a display that is wide and promises accurate colors. No, the ConceptD 7 Ezel literally bends backwards to transform itself into exactly the laptop you need.
It's also a hell of a investment, costing $ 4,000 for my review unit, which features an eight-generation Intel Core i7-10875H CPU with eight cores, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage over two 1TB solid-state -Drive in RAID 0 is equipped with a Pantone-certified 4K IPS display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU.
That's a lot of computers for a lot of money – is it worth the price?
Where should I start? After reviewing nearly 100 laptops for digital trends, I can't remember reviewing one with so many distinctive design elements. Even the Acer ConceptD 9, another laptop I tested with a focus on developers, doesn't quite fit the ConceptD 7 Ezel due to its complexity.
Let's start with the form factor. We use the term “2-in-1” to describe 360-degree convertibles like the HP Specter x360 13, and that could be a misnomer. Such laptops don't just convert from clamshells to tablets. In between there are two other modes – tent and media. If we were completely accurate, we would call them 4-in-1.
According to this logic, the ConceptD 7 Ezel is a 6-in-1 device with six different modes that its hinge combination can apply. There's the usual clamshell mode, a float mode that allows the display to be positioned closer or farther away from the user, a stand mode that allows easy writing and drawing at a comfortable angle, a sharing mode that allows collaboration , a display mode for viewing media or inverting content and showing it to others, and a pad mode that serves as a (very bulky) tablet.
Aside from the tablet mode, these are all interesting and potentially comfortable positions for using the device. This is especially true if you are an artist who has always dreamed of getting your work done right on the screen with a pen in hand.
The ConceptD 7 Ezel has six different modes that its hinge combination can apply.
These modes are activated by a hinge in the center of the display that allows it to pivot along the lid and extend halfway up the back of the display. Opening the display takes getting used to – you have to reach down on it, otherwise the display can turn awkwardly. The hinges all work well together to keep the panel exactly where you want it. Overall, it's a fine piece of tech that creates really useful modes for different creative and collaborative needs.
The chassis is made of a magnesium-aluminum alloy and is available in one color – white. But it's not just painted on. Rather, Acer developed a ceramic coating using a micro-arc oxidation process (MAO) which, according to the expert's guideline, creates “an ultra-hard crystalline ceramic structure with a unique tactile feel”. It's not just about looking pretty, however. The ceramic coating also promises to resist corrosion and oxidation. Overall, it is a robust construction.
Speaking of aesthetics, the simple white color works for me. And apart from the uniqueness of the folding assembly, there isn't a lot of decoration or ornament around it. It's a very understated design. You could say it's a classic case of function over form. It's by no means an unattractive laptop – call it "utilitarian" instead. It looks like it's there to do a job and not to get noticed.
However, I wouldn't call it elegant as this is a large laptop. The bezels are thin on the side of the display, but relatively large at the top, and below is a massive chin. Acer hasn't even tried to match the modern trend for tiny bezels. Hence, the ConceptD 7 Ezel is larger in width and depth than a laptop like the Dell XPS 15 (although it may not be as much as you might suspect) which shouldn't come as a surprise. The Acer is also very thick, at 0.89 inches at its thinnest point and 1.13 inches at its thickest point. Compare that to the XPS 15's 0.71-inch.
Finally, the ConceptD 7 Ezel weighs 5.6 pounds compared to the Dell at 4.5 pounds. This is not a machine that you will toss in your backpack and casually carry to the local coffee shop. Instead, move them from workspace to workspace and keep them there for a while.
Extra weight is inevitable with this type of design. When you buy it, you are compromising portability in exchanging for a unique hinge and form factor. So better plan not to use it just as a clamshell laptop.
Connectivity is another strength. On the left you will find a USB-A 3.1 port, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 and a 3.5 mm audio jack. On the right you will find a Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP support and a DisplayPort 1.4 connection. Finally, there is a full-size SD card reader on the leading edge. The wireless connection is provided via Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Acer sent me the top-end version of the ConceptD 7 Ezel (outside of the Pro models with Xeon CPUs and Quadro GPUs, which are also available through reseller channels). It has an eight-core Core i7-10875H CPU and a Super Max-Q GeForce GTX 2080 GPU. And as you can imagine, it's fast enough.
Looking at Geekbench 5, the Concept 7 Ezel achieved 1,301 points in the single-core test and 7,949 points in the multi-core test. That matched the Dell XPS 17 almost exactly and narrowly knocked out the XPS 15, which both use the same CPU. This puts the ConceptD 7 Ezel at the top of this CPU class.
Next, let's look at our handbrake test, which converts a 420MB video to H.265. The ConceptD 7 Ezel finished the test in just under two minutes, lost just under five seconds against the XPS 17 and beat the XPS 15 by eight seconds. This is a CPU-intensive test. Hence, it is not surprising that these laptops are so close together.
In Cinebench 20, the story was a little different. The ConceptD 7 Ezel achieved 463 points in the single-core test and 3,845 points in the multi-core test. This is the third fastest score we've seen on a laptop. Only the Dell G5 SE with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H and the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 with a Core i9-10980HK beat it – and not by much.
I then ran our test, which best mimics real-world conditions, and used Premiere Pro to render a two-minute 4K video. The ConceptD 7 Ezel finished the project in two minutes and 57 seconds, the fastest we've ever seen. The XPS 17 was done in three minutes and 38 seconds and the XPS 15 in four minutes and 50 seconds. The GTX 2080 Super Max-Q clearly makes a huge difference in demanding tasks where the GPU is used. At least with this configuration, the ConceptD 7 Ezel is one of the fastest creative workstations that is not a workstation.
The chassis gets very, very warm. In fact, it gets really hot sometimes.
Next we should talk about the thermal design. These types of components require adequate cooling if they are to perform well, especially if the laptop does not melt in the process. Acer has developed a bespoke solution with two 4th generation AeroBlade 3D fans (the fan edges are serrated to maximize airflow) and three heat pipes.
Of course, the unique design of the ConceptD 7 Ezel should also support this performance through better cooling. The main hinge provides some support to the floor for better airflow. The idea is that the ConceptD 7 Ezel doesn't get too loud when it's working at top speed – Acer advertises 40 decibels. Even when I work hard, the laptop never gets particularly loud – I wouldn't use it in a library as Acer suggests, but I wouldn't be embarrassed to use it in a typical office space.
However, the chassis gets very, very warm. In fact, it gets really hot sometimes. I measured over 125 degrees Fahrenheit directly above the keyboard and over 140 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom of the case below the display. The heat at the top doesn't detract from the ease of use – the keyboard and deck stay cool enough – but you don't want to put this laptop on your lap while squeezing the CPU and GPU. Acer has managed to make it relatively quiet, but that seems to come at the expense of generating some serious heat.
I'll mention gaming as the ConceptD 7 Ezel is of course quite well equipped to run today's demanding titles with high resolutions and graphical detail. And if you buy one, chances are you'll be tempted to play some games between work sessions. However, I can't imagine a lot of people going to buy this laptop with games on their mind – mostly because the screen refresh rate is set to 60Hz.
If you make a game, you will be pretty happy with the results. According to 3DMark, the ConceptD 7 Ezel competes well with gaming laptops with the same GPU, scoring 7,273 points in Time Spy, compared to the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 with 7,605 and the MSI GS66 Stealth with 7,493. Note that the ConceptD 7 Ezel uses Nvidia's studio drivers, which are aimed at creative uses, rather than the Game Ready drivers that come with most laptops. Therefore, it aims more at stability in creative applications than at pure game speed.
In real word gaming, the ConceptD 7 Ezel achieved 60 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and ultra-high graphics in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, compared to the Asus at 55 fps (frames per second) and the MSI at 56 fps. In 4K, the ConceptD 7 Ezel only managed 29 fps compared to the Asus with 31 fps. In Civilization VI, the ConceptD 7 Ezel achieved 133 fps at 1080p and ultra graphics and 73 fps at 4K. The Asus was at 121 fps and 70 fps, respectively.
In Fortnite, the ConceptD 7 Ezel ran at 119 fps in 1080p and Epic graphics and 45 fps in 4K, compared to the Asus at 91 fps in 1080p (we didn't run the game in 4K on this computer).
Aside from performance, little is more important for creative people than display quality. You need a wide color gamut and high accuracy to achieve the usual high brightness and contrast that are important to all laptop users. Acer equipped the ConceptD 7 Ezel with a 15-inch 4K display. It is an IPS panel with an anti-glare structure that promises 100% AdobeRGB coverage and Pantone verification. How has it developed according to my colorimeter?
The first Acer device that was sent to me had a very poor factory calibration and the results were not nice. However, Acer immediately sent me another unit and the results were much better. The ConceptD 7 Ezel's display isn't the best we've seen on creative laptops, but it's damn close.
The color gamut is only slightly limited compared to the XPS 15, which achieved 100% for both AdobeRGB and sRGB. In comparison, the ConceptD 7 Ezel managed 95% of AdobeRGB and 99% of sRGB. Again, these aren't the best results we've seen, but they are in a reasonable range for a creative laptop. Color accuracy was very good at 0.87, compared to the XPS 15 at 0.65 – anything below 1.0 cannot be seen by the human eye and is considered excellent.
The brightness was good at 356 nits above our 300 nit threshold and benefited from the anti-glare plate, while the contrast barely missed our preferred 1000: 1 ratio at 960: 1. Here, too, the XPS 15 was better with 442 nits and a contrast of 1480: 1. Finally, gamma at 2.2 was perfect.
Subjectively, the display was a pleasure during my tests. The pictures looked natural and the video was spot on – I had no complaints. The ConceptD 7 Ezel's display is good enough not to detract from the rest of the experience, even though I wish the color gamut was a bit wider.
Keyboard and touchpad
The ConceptD 7 Ezel's keyboard is a pretty normal island keyboard with well-spaced keys that are a bit small. The mechanism is almost sharp enough, with just a little bit of looseness that compromises precision a little. Travel is reasonable and overall I enjoyed typing on this keyboard. It doesn't match Apple's Magic Keyboard or HP's Specter version, but it's better than most. I'm not a fan of the amber backlight turned on and off, however – the color makes reading difficult for my eyes.
The touchpad is small thanks to a large opening above the keyboard that crushes everything. It's a Microsoft Precision touchpad with precise multitouch gestures that work well. Acer added some padding to make the buttons click comfortably and quietly, but I wish they were bigger.
The display is of course touch-sensitive and very precise. A Wacom EMR pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity is located in a dock on the lower right edge of the display. The matte glass display is etched to make writing feel more natural, and the EMR pen doesn't require a power supply to function.
I'd say it's an excellent solution – I'm sure artists will love the performance – but it's pretty small. I understand the desire to use a dock to make sure the stylus isn't lost, but Acer should have found a way to make a full version. I am not an artist so I cannot testify whether the size is a disadvantage, but I suspect that it might be the case for some.
Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button on the left side of the laptop. It worked well, signed me up quickly and accurately, and won't make a fuss.
You don't expect long battery life from this beast, do you? No? That's good because you don't understand. And that despite the 84 watt-hour battery that is hidden inside.
At the same time, I'll find that this isn't the worst battery life in our database. It's certainly better than most gaming laptops, for example, and roughly on par with the other Creator-oriented laptops we tested. It took three hours on our most demanding Basemark web benchmark test, and that's not terrible. The Dell XPS 15 only lasted 11 minutes and the XPS 17 11 minutes less in this test.
In practice this means that you can expect the ConceptD 7 Ezel to be used for around three hours if you are doing demanding work. Maybe this is enough for a short stay in a coffee house. However, the Power Brick is quite large, so it is not comfortable to carry around.
In terms of productivity work, our best test is our web browser test, which goes through a number of relatively busy websites. Here, the ConceptD 7 Ezel only managed six hours, an hour less than the XPS 15 and 20 minutes less than the XPS 17. So it's unlikely that you'll be working a full day, even if you're just using Office and surfing the net. In our video test, which ran through a 1080p trailer, the ConceptD 7 Ezel took a little over 10 hours. That's not a bad score for a machine like this, and it promises hours of Netflix bingeing.
The ConceptD 7 Ezel is in a class of its own. There is no other consumer laptop designed and built specifically for one type of user – creative professionals. Even professional workstations, which are also designed for such users, are not as tailor-made for developers. The ConceptD 7 Ezel's design is just as good for its obvious purpose, and Acer deserves praise for getting so much right.
Usually such specific machines tend to compromise in other areas. Apart from its size, which is forgivable in view of its flexibility and performance, the ConceptD 7 Ezel does not require any sensible compromises. Yes, it's expensive in my test configuration, but you can also get $ 2,500 for a version with a Core i7-10750H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, the same great 4K display, and a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU output. This is on par with the general price range of the Dell XPS 15, XPS 17, and MacBook Pro 16, and none of them work anywhere near as well for developers.
Are there any better alternatives?
I just said you can get a Dell XPS 15, XPS 17, or Razer Blade Pro 17 for about the same money (at least in the same stadium) or a MacBook Pro 16-inch for a little more. These will be fast too, and the XPS 17 in particular will likely match the performance of the ConceptD 7 Ezel in its entry-level version.
However, none of these laptops have a hinge like the ConceptD 7 Ezel. Nobody scales to the same level of performance as the ConceptD 7 Ezel.
You can also check out the Acer ConceptD 9. It's bigger and a little less flexible, but also quite powerful. It also has a display that can transform into different form factors and supports a high quality active pen.
How long it will take?
The ConceptD 7 Ezel is well built and it appears that the various hinges will withstand considerable use for years. The components are sure to keep your workflow buzzing. However, the one-year warranty seems too short for such a complex design.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you are a creative professional and you are serious about your job, this is a laptop that you must seriously consider. The substantial investment pays off more flexibly than you know how to do.