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While laptops with full HD screens and 2-in-1s that easily bend back into tablets can be had for anything under $700, in most cases you’ll be compromising power output or build quality. The latest Acer Aspire R 15 (R5-571TG-7229), a mid-range convertible-hybrid laptop, bucks that trend, with new features that push it from average to top of the class.
Last year, Acer pushed into the market the Aspire R14, which stood out as one of the reasonably priced, large-screen laptops with a multi-mode form factor. At the time, we didn’t like it for its low resolution screen, as most midrange laptops were flaunting higher-resolution screens, some even had 4K displays.
Acer rectifies those shortcomings with the Aspire R15 in way of a bigger 1080p HD screen, all-day battery life, and adds a USB-C port. All that, along with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, a dedicated graphics card and faster dual-band Wi-Fi, help the latest Acer Aspire R15 stand out as a Top Pick for midrange convertible-hybrid laptops.
More: The 10 Best Laptops for College Students
Design and Features
The tepid-silver Aspire R15 measures 0.79 by 14.59 by 10.09 inches (HWD), and weighs 4.74 pounds. That’s pretty slim for a laptop with a 15-inch screen, and it’s fairly larger and heavier than its predecessor, Acer Aspire R14 (0.73 by 13.5 by 9.6 inches; 4.07 pounds), justified by the larger screen. It’s also thicker and heavier than the HP Spectre x360 13t (13-4003) measures 0.63 by 12.79 by 8.6 inches (HWD), and weighs 3.3 pounds, but still transportable.
The lid is covered in aluminum, giving it a premium feel and the keyboard deck is well designed for fairly comfortable typing. With a convertible design, you can use the R15 in many modes: like a traditional laptop in Notebook mode; can opt to flip the screen to use it in Tablet mode; simply fold back the keyboard, with the screen facing you (Display mode); or, make the system stand upside down in Tent mode, allowing you to watch movies.
The bigger screen size is good, but it can get a little uncomfortable when you have to hold the system with your hand crooked in Tablet mode for extended periods. Unlike its predecessor, the hinges now benefit from a bit more friction once you tilt the system beyond 120 degrees, which makes the system stable while using the touch display.
The 15-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution IPS touch screen delivers crisp clear images when viewed from different angles, and the touch screen and touch pad work pretty well. For typing, you have a backlit, chiclet style keyboard that comfortable to type on, and a fingerprint reader on the touch pad.
We rubbished last year’s Aspire R14 for mediocre connectivity and slow mechanical; hard drive, but Acer has gotten something up their sleeve – atleast, this time round. There’s a USB-C port that you can easily use with today’s speedy external hard drives and solid state drives (SSDs).
Others include an HDMI port, a Kensington lock port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port for slower peripherals like mice and external keyboard, and an SD cart slot. Wireless connectivity comes via dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a notable improvement from last year’s 2.4GHz Wi-Fi only.
It features the Dolby Audio sound system, which produces enough sound to fill a medium room. What’s more, the system is able to detect the screen orientation, then balances the audio output from the left and right speakers appropriately.
Our review unit was outfitted with 12GB of RAM and a 256 SSD, which is excellent for a midrange convertible, and should certainly be more than enough for daily productivity and multitasking. I was able to keep open dozens of browser tabs, and there wasn’t even the slightest signal of sluggishness.
The Aspire R 15 comes with a powerful 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-7500U processor and Nvidia GeForce 940MX (with 2GB dedicated GDDR5 RAM). This combination of a seventh-generation processor and a dedicated graphics card, co count for a lot in making the system versatile and an all-round solid performer. It doesn’t matter whether you’ll be using it for spreadsheets, office reports, media consumption or enthusiast-level gaming, it will still handle well.
The Kaby Lake processor replaces last year’s Core i7-6500U, although there isn’t much of an upgrade in terms of processing power, it still yields better performance and is billed as being energy-efficient, thus boosting battery life. In short, this laptop is speedy enough and well-configured to handle complex multimedia editing sessions, meaning that you’re well catered if you are a photo and video hobbyist. For gaming, you can look at something like the Dell G3579 that rocks solid playability for around the same price.
Battery life is superb. It will give about 9 hours 17 minutes, which is slightly behind what you get from the HP Spectre x360 (12:39), our Editors’ Choice hybrid-convertible laptop. Notably, it gets better battery life that last year’s Aspire R14 (9 hours 3 minutes), due to the extra drain from a Sky Lake Core i7 processor and the burden of balancing the power requirements of a 1,366-by-768-resolution screen.
An Aspire Worth the Buck
The latest Acer Aspire R 15 gives you more laptop and tablet than you pay for. It has a lot going for it, with notable improvements over its predecessor from last year including a large 1080p HD touch screen, future-proof features like a USB-C port, faster dual-band Wi-Fi, a powerful seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and solid battery life, all at a really good price for a midrange laptop.
In fact, it has a larger screen and better battery life than most 13-inch convertible hybrid laptops, for much less. True, the Aspire 15 can get slightly heavy and larger than the likes of the HP Spectre x360, but not prohibitively so. As such, if you’re in the market for a powerful, yet affordable, 2-in-1 hybrid laptop, The Acer Aspire R 15 (R5-571TG-7229) is a prime choice to have at the top of your list.
Acer Aspire R 15 (R5-571TG-7229)
The latest Acer Aspire R 15 (R5-571TG-7229) convertible-hybrid laptop has lots going for it: powerful performance, versatile design and a larger 1080p screen. It’s adds modest improvements over last year’s model including forward-looking connectivity and excellent battery life.
- Reasonably priced
- Solid convertible design
- Larger, full HD 1080p screen
- Feels unfairly large in Tablet mode
- Display is slightly reflective