Friday, April 19, 2024

The 5 best Acer laptops you can buy in 2024

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Acer is a company that’s been around since the early days of computing, and it’s built quite a pedigree over the past couple of decades or so. As such, if you’re thinking of buying a laptop, then you’ll be happy to know that Acer has a pretty excellent range to offer, including stuff that could potentially compete with the likes of the MacBook and Dell XPS lineups. With so many options, it can get a little bit overwhelming if you want to pick an Acer laptop and don’t know where to start, which is why we’ve collected our favorite picks below for various categories. That way, you can check out what type of Acer laptop works best for you rather than trying to wade through all the various choices and configurations that are available.

The Best Acer Laptops in 2024

  • Buy the 

    if you want the best overall Acer laptop

  • Buy the

    if you want the best Acer Chromebook

  • Buy the 

    if you want the best Acer laptop for gaming

  • Buy the

    if you want the best thin Acer laptop

  • Buy the

    if you want the best budget Acer laptop

Acer Swift X 14

Best overall Acer laptop

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Excellent productivity performance
Poor battery life

Surprisingly good creative performance
Lid and keyboard deck are too flexible

Outstanding OLED display

The Acer Swift X 14 is a relatively big improvement on the previous version, putting it on par with things like the M2 MacBook Air and the Dell XPS 15, both of which it directly competes with, and is a surprisingly good alternative given it’s essentially cheaper than both. A big part of that is the 13th generation Intel Core i7 that’s sitting under the hood, which keeps productivity performance at a pretty excellent place, even though it might not be the best or most efficient CPU on the market. It also helps that it has 14 cores, making it perfect for uses that thrive on multi-core performance, such as editing and rendering tasks.

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In fact, it’s the inclusion of the RTX 4050 that certainly helps along with creative tasks and creative performance that makes the Swift X14 stand out. It does also mean that you could, in theory, get some gaming done if you wanted to do, and even though the RTX 4050 is entry-level, you still do have some options. Of course, it does have to run a 14.5-inch 2880 x 1800 resolution screen that can his 120Hz, so it might struggle a little bit to play things at higher resolutions or framerates, but at least you have the choice.

The screen is also an OLED panel, so it’s gorgeous to look at while also making it a perfect pick for those who need to do creative work. On top of that, you get 16GB of DDR5 RAM, which is the fastest version on the market, and a pretty solid 1TB of storage to work with. That said, the Acer Swift X 14 does struggle a little with battery life, topping out at five and a half hours in the best-case scenario, so you won’t be able to use this for long periods without having access to an electrical outlet. Even so, when you put all the specs together and compare that to the price, it’s probably one of the best overall Acer laptops you’ll find, even at MSRP.

Specifications

Screen Size

14.5-inches

Processor
Intel Core i7-13700H

RAM
16 GB DDR5

Storage
1TB SSD

Weight

3.42 pounds

Acer Chromebook Plus 515

Best Acer Chromebook

Acer

Pros
Cons

Excellent price
No access to Windows

Very portable
Specs are slightly weak

Great battery life

In a world where Windows laptops tend to dominate everything, Chromebooks have certainly found their place, and if you’re looking for something that’s very budget-friendly, this Acer Chromebook 515 is the perfect solution. Even though most Chromebooks tend to have a small screen, this one comes with a 15.6-inch one running a 1920 x 1080 resolution, so it’s perfect for watching content or productivity work. That said, it’s not a touchscreen like a lot of Chromebooks are, so you do miss out a little bit on that functionality.

Even so, the other specs certainly make up for it; with a solid build and a 3.7-pound weight, it’s pretty easy to carry around and use on the go, so you don’t have to worry about it being too fragile. The Intel Core i3-1215U is certainly an entry-level processor, but the reality is that it should run most productivity apps just fine, especially since ChromeOS isn’t as resource-hungry as Windows. Of course, it’s important to note that you are essentially running a Google operating system rather than Microsoft’s Windows, so you have to make sure any apps you need are compatible with ChromeOS.

In terms of RAM, you get 8GB of DDR5, which usually would be the bare minimum on a Windows device, but ChromeOS is, again, much less likely to take a big chunk out of your RAM, so it’s a pretty solid number for a smooth experience. That said, the 128GB is a bit on the lower side, especially if you want to save content locally, but the reality is that most Chrome devices, at least at this price range, are made for streaming content, so it makes sense the internal storage is small. Luckily, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, especially since you can grab one of these external hard drive deals to help supplement it.

Specifications

Screen Size

15.6-inches

Processor
Intel Core i3-1215U

RAM
8 GB DDR5

Storage
128 GB

Weight

3.7 pounds

Acer Predator Helios Neo 16

Best Acer laptop for gaming

Acer

Pros
Cons

Great mid-tier gaming performance
Audio quality isn’t great

Big screen with a high refresh rate
Still a bit bulky and big

Large keyboard is easier to use

There have been many big upgrades to gaming laptops over the past few years, and we’re no longer seeing these big, bulky machines that are a pain to carry around or deal with in general. Luckily, this Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 has certainly followed that pattern, to an extent, given that it’s a bit bulkier than we’d like to see. Even so, it’s great to see it run a 16-inch screen with a far superior 16:10 aspect ratio, which is perfect for gaming since it lets you see much more of the environment than you might expect.

As for the GPU, it runs an RTX 4060, which is an entry-to-mid-level graphics card, but about what we’d expect at this price range given all the other specs the Helios Neo 16 comes packed with. For example, it runs a 2560 x 1600 resolution that can hit an impressive 165Hz refresh rate, although it’s worth noting that the RTX 4060 will likely struggle to hit both of those at the same time. Luckily, you do get the option of picking what you want to prioritize, so it’s not the end of the world.

When it comes to non-gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-13700HX is an excellent processor that can easily keep up with most tasks you throw at it, while the 16GB of DDR5 provides you with a smooth overall experience. Unfortunately, the 1TB of storage is probably on the lower end for a gaming laptop, although that can always be increased by either an internal or external hard drive upgrade. As for the battery life, you should expect around four to five hours, a bit less when gaming, which is actually pretty good for a gaming laptop.

Specifications

Screen Size

16-inches

Processor
Intel Core i7-13700HX

RAM
16GB DDR5

Storage
1TB

Weight

5.73 pounds

Acer Swift Edge 16

Best thin Acer laptop

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Strong productivity performance
Chassis and lid a bit flexible

Superior OLED display
Poor battery life

Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
Only one configuration available

There is a lot to love about the Acer Swift Edge 16, and a big part of it is that it’s thin and light while still packing a considerable punch. In fact, it does a good job of competing with the likes of the MacBook Air 15, so if you like what the MacBook has to offer but don’t necessarily want to be in the Apple ecosystem, then this Edge 16 is a perfect alternative. Most of all, though, is the large 16-inch screen that runs a whopping 3.2K resolution, which is really excellent for this size of screen and the price that you get it at.

Another thing worth appreciating about the screen is the 120Hz refresh rate, which will give you a smooth viewing experience akin to what you would find in a flagship phone, which is great. It’s also a very gorgeous OLED screen, so it’s perfect for watching content or doing creative work, while the 400nits of peak brightness means you can use it anywhere that it does not deal with direct sunlight. Combine that with the 2.73-pound weight, and that makes this ultra-portable, assuming you have a bag to fit it in.

While it doesn’t have a discrete GPU, the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor is still pretty powerful and relatively efficient, so it’s great for productivity tasks and some creative work, depending on what you’re doing. Like other laptops on this list, it comes with a solid 16GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of storage, although what isn’t as solid is the overall chassis, which is a little bit flexible, more so than we’d like to see on something with this sort of price tag. It’s also worth noting that the battery life isn’t great, and you’ll see around five to six hours of usage, which is about four hours below what other competitors are doing, unfortunately. Even so, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, and if you don’t need to rely on the battery for longer stretches, pretty much everything else is great.

Specifications

Screen Size

16-inches

Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 7840U

RAM
16 GB DDR5

Storage
1 TB

Weight

2.73 pounds

Acer Aspire 3

Best budget Acer laptop

Acer

Pros
Cons

Excellent price
Feels a bit flimsy

Surprisingly solid performance
Pricey at MSRP

Comes with a touchscreen display
Only has 8GB of RAM

Not all Acer laptops cost an arm and a leg, and you can absolutely get yourself a relatively cheap laptop from the brand, such as the Acer Aspire 3, and it’s actually still a surprisingly good laptop. While the previous version of the Aspire 3 from a few years ago was not that great, Acer has done a good job of updating it to be up to more modern standards. For example, this time around, the 15.6-inch screen runs an FHD resolution, so the image is much sharper and better suited for most modern content.

Also, this time around, the display is touchscreen, which adds an extra level of control if you don’t want to use the mouse and keyboard, plus the IPS panel gives it much better viewing angles. While you aren’t going to be able to game on it since it doesn’t have a discrete GPU, it does have a sold processor in the form of the AMD Ryzen 5 7520U. It’s a mid-tier CPU, but if you don’t need to do anything too fancy, just productivity work and daily browsing, then you aren’t really going to tax the CPU.

Otherwise, the 8GB is somewhat disappointing but about what you’d expect for this price point, and the 512GB of storage isn’t too bad either. That said, one thing that should be noted is that a lot of its value as a budget laptop is when you find it on sale, as the MSRP price of $600 certainly eats a lot into that value. So, if you can find it at $400 or less, then it’s a good choice; otherwise, if you’re looking for a budget option and don’t care about being on Windows, then the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 is a good alternative, even at MSRP.

Specifications

Screen Size

15.6-inches

Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 7520U

RAM
8 GB DDR5

Storage
512 GB

Weight

3.92 pounds

How We Chose These Acer Laptops

Processing power

One of the most important parts of any laptop is the CPU because pretty much everything relies on it, even things that you wouldn’t expect, such as games or the screen running properly. Luckily, a lot of modern laptops tend to run mid-tier processors anyway, such as the Intel i5 or the Ryzen R5, so you are usually going to get something that can handle most of the basic tasks you throw at it, or be able to run a high-resolution OLED monitor relatively well. As such, we did our best to pick laptops that ran the i5 or the R5 as a baseline, with the only real exception being the Intel i3 on the Chromebook, and that one isn’t as big of an issue given that ChromeOS is much easier on resources than Windows.

Screen

Screen size can be very personal since some people prefer to have smaller screens that make the laptop a lot more portable, while others prefer having larger screen real estate to work with, so it can be hard to pick something that works for everybody. To that end, we’ve done our best to provide a generally good spread of screen sizes from 14.5 inches all the way up to 16 inches so you can pick something that fits your needs the best, especially since there is a lot of spec overlap, even when you consider the gaming laptop. Also, we did include picks with OLED screens since they’re becoming more common now and tend to provide a much better viewing experience. Although they do tend to impact battery life, you can pick whichever is more important for you.

Graphics Cards

Graphic cards are also something else that tends to be relatively personal, especially since they have a very specific use that a lot of folks may not necessarily need. For example, if you don’t really game or do any creative work, then a graphics card adds a lot of extra cost and weight that isn’t even remotely necessary. As such, it didn’t really make sense to try and pick laptops that only had GPUs, especially if you’re going for something budget-oriented; you probably aren’t thinking of trying to play a modern AAA game.

RAM & Storage

In a large way, RAM has become the modern battleground on what differentiates a middling laptop from a great one, especially since so many laptops already come with mid-tier CPUs that are more than enough for most uses. Luckily, laptops that run only 4GB have become a lot rarer, which is good because Windows will easily eat up half of that, which why it’s often run on S mode. With 8GB of RAM becoming the new minimum, you can actually run a full version of Windows, although you still may struggle with the number of apps or tabs you have open. While we did our best to pick Acer laptops that run 16GB of RAM, there’s only so much you can do with budget configurations, and Chromebooks usually tend to have lower RAM since ChromeOS isn’t as resource-hungry.

As for storage, that one isn’t as big of a deal, especially if you tend to store a lot of your content in cloud services or if you stream almost all of your content. Granted, it is nice to have a big amount of storage, especially for gaming, but at the end of the day, you can supplement it with an external hard drive, and it’s much cheaper and easier to do than upgrade the RAM. in fact, in some cases you can’t upgrade the RAM at all, such as with Chromebooks where the RAM is welded on to the motherboard.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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