The laptop PC market is taking a turn into multi-tasking hybrid computing and with each new model they’re getting thinner, lighter and stronger in performance. Lenovo has been one of the market leaders in hybrid laptops and Acer is looking to give them a bit of competition and they’ve done fairly well with the Acer Aspire R14. Let’s move on ahead into our Acer Aspire R14 review.
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- Intel Core i5-6200U
- Processor Speed 2.30 GHz
- Standard Memory 8 GB-LPDDR3
- Memory Card Reader Yes
- Memory Card Supported SD Storage
- Solid State Drive Capacity 256 GB
- Optical Drive Type No
- Screen Size 14″ Active Matrix TFT Color LCD Full HD
- Multi-touch Screen
- Screen Resolution 1920 x 1080
- Graphics Memory Technology Intel LPDDR3
- Wireless LAN Standard IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Number of USB 2.0 Ports 1
- Number of USB 3.0 Ports 2
- Total Number of USB Ports 4
- USB Type-C
- Network (RJ-45) Yes
- Battery Capacity 3220 mAh
- Maximum Battery Run Time 9 Hour
- Height 0.7″
- Height (Front) 0.73″
- Height (Rear) 0.73″
- Width 13.5″
- Depth 9.6″
- Weight (Approximate) 4.19 lb
With a brushed aluminum top and brushed aluminum keyboard and palm rest area, the R14 looks much nicer than its $699 price tag would indicate. The bottom is still made of a rubberized plastic type material but the look of the R14 isn’t as plain jane as you would expect. The Acer logo is still emblazoned on the front in bright chrome finish, something I would have preferred to be more subtle but the chamfered edges around the laptop and trackpad are a nice touch. Those edges are the shiny aluminum and they contrast nicely with the colored black aluminum on top. Our review unit also had color matched hinges, black on black and that’s nice attention to detail.
A real quick talking point on the trackpad. The R14 has a nice trackpad but it could be better, one thing I’ve always felt that Apple has done consistently better is with trackpads. Lenovo has improved their trackpads a lot and it would be great to see Acer do the same. It’s not unusable but I do feel a little drag and muddy responsiveness when using the track pad. The keyboard on the other hand is amazing on the R14, one of the best keyboards I’ve used on a PC laptop.
On the left side of the R14 you’ll find a bevy of ports including your HDMI, headphone jack, 2 USB 3.0 ports and USB Type-C port. That’s right, this laptop has a USB Type-C port included for future proofing. USB Type-C accessories are still making their way to the market but it’s nice to see Acer include a port for those future uses. Over on the right side of the R14 you have a USB 2.0 port, SD card reader, power button, volume rocker and power port. Overall the design of the R14 is slick and gives you a little sense of style.
The Acer R14 sports a full 1920×1080 HD display with a TFT/LED display. The colors are nice and rich and the blacks are well represented not being washed out badly — although it is a little bit on the dim side. Text is crisp and clear and easy to read and movies were great to watch on this full HD 14″ display. Honestly, every laptop should come with a full HD display now, even lower end models. With users consuming more content on their devices, it makes sense to give them the full HD experience.
The R14 display also supports multi-touch as it does transform into tablet and table mode. The responsiveness is spot on and I never felt I had to tap more than may be twice on occasion for more input to be registered. Scrolling is smooth and everything worked nicely with the keyboard being deactivated in tablet mode so you don’t accidentally push something. The display on the R14 is more than acceptable, I’ve seen better but at this $699 price point, this is a very good display.
Running 64-bit Windows 10 on an Intel Core i5 there were zero problems with the software as Windows 10 is pretty solid. While I use OS X as my daily driver Windows 10 is a pleasure to use and I love what Microsoft has done to combine the desktop and tablet experience. Now there is some Acer software included which we could have done without. I’m not sure when PC makers will realize that including their own software on their hardware isn’t what consumers want but that’s a continuing battle. Overall Windows 10 is amazing on the R14 and while the Acer software is there, it can be ignored.
Running a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM I had no issues doing regular web browsing, email, streaming Netflix, watching YouTube, running Office and even running GIMP photo editor. All of these tasks zipped through just fine on the R14. I did not try any video editing software but I’m certain that the R14 could handle light video editing if needed. Heavy video editing you might want to upgrade to a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM.
The R14 performed well in laptop and tablet mode although I disliked the on screen keyboard, but I generally dislike tablet onscreen keyboards anyway. The R14 is also pretty heavy when used as a tablet. If you plan on walking around with this as a tablet, be prepared to experience some arm and hand fatigue. Overall the laptop isn’t heavy when being used as a laptop, it comes in just over 4 lbs. But when you convert to a tablet, that 4 lbs. adds up over an extended duration of carrying it. Overall the performance of the R14 with the Core i5 and 8GB of RAM was great, be aware that if you opt for a different model of R14 with a Core i3 performance will take a hit.
The Acer Aspire R14 comes with Dolby Digital Audio and the speakers on this thing are actually really awesome. Movies sounded great and immersive and music popped nicely. My only issue was that the speakers are on the bottom, while the bottom does have feet allowing the sound to come up and out. It does suffer from that tunnel syndrome. It would have been nice to have the speakers on top by the keyboard giving the user full access to the sound. In tablet mode you have the same problem as the top of the laptop folds over on the bottom blocking the sound. Overall the sound is pretty great, but is handicapped by the placement of the speakers.
The included webcam gets the job done for Skype and other video calling, neither of which I do a lot of so this is one component I didn’t use much.
Acer advertises 9 hours of battery life and honestly battery life is going to vary on how you use the laptop. With heavy use I was able to squeeze out just around 7 hours of battery life. If you’re not streaming and editing photos or video you’ll probably see closer to the 9 hours Acer advertises. Whether or not that amount of battery life is good or bad is a personal matter. I found 7 hours was sufficient and plugging in wasn’t an issue for me.
Priced in at $699 as spec’d here, this is a great value and a solid competitor to offerings from other companies such as Lenovo. The design is nice and build quality is good, the display is great though slightly dim so outdoor use may be a factor.
If you’re considering a hybrid laptop the Acer Aspire R14 should be on your list of hybrids to check out.