Acer Aspire Vero
RRP $ 900.00
"The Acer Aspire Vero is an admirable attempt at sustainability, but it does not offer a total package."
Easy to update
Uses sustainable materials for a budget laptop
Bad battery life
Touchpad is clunky
Windows 11 is here and with it a new era for laptops. While many of these new devices seek to highlight a sleek new design or powerful performance, the new Acer Aspire Vero has a different ethos. Sustainability.
The marketing material makes some ambitious claims about the environmentally friendly way the Acer Aspire Vero was made and I would assume these choices are costly. When you look at the display, battery life, and touchpad on this budget laptop, it becomes obvious.
As much as I'd love to give Acer props, the Acer Aspire Vero ends up cutting off too many corners to be worth the price.
The Aspire Vero is supposed to be a green laptop, and Acer doesn't want you to forget it. The overall appearance of the chassis is a constant reminder that it is not made of your standard plastic. The post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic is speckled light gray and I like its uniqueness. The palm rests and lid also have a textured feel, which in turn reminds you that this isn't the smooth but lavish plastic used in your simple laptop.
I understand that there is much more to marketing than saving the world, but it makes for a one-of-a-kind total under the sea of silver and black laptops in the world. If a budget laptop like the Acer Aspire Vero can't compete with high-end laptops in terms of expensive materials, it might as well offer something that feels new.
As a budget or mid-range laptop, the Aspire Vero's environmental stance is quite unique.
Acer claims that 30% of the Aspire Vero's case and 50% of its keycaps are made of PCR plastic. If you are not overwhelmed by 30%, you are not alone. Laptops like Lenovo's ThinkPad L-Series already have 30% of their cases made of PCR plastic, and those claims are not engraved on the case of the laptop. Then there is Apple, which has been claiming since 2018 that its MacBooks are made entirely from recycled aluminum. Microsoft has also taken the same step towards recycled aluminum with the new Surface Pro 8.
While this is a first for Acer, it is certainly not new to the industry. Does that mean Acer is pushing the Aspire Vero's sustainability a little more than it should? Yes, to a certain extent. On the other hand, its environmental stance as a budget or mid-range laptop is still pretty unique. Most laptops that claim to be high in recycled plastic or aluminum cost over a thousand dollars for a base model like the MacBook Air or ThinkPad L15.
I will be happy to commend Acer for applying better environmental standards to its cheaper laptops than just its high-end options. While I don't need every laptop to have it engraved on its case, I hope the practice of using PCR will continue.
Acer also advertises the Aspire Vero as more sustainable from the point of view of longevity. The lower lid is easier to remove than on an average laptop thanks to the use of standard screws. No special tools required! Once inside, you'll see that the RAM, storage, and Wi-Fi module are all interchangeable. Upgradability, perhaps more than the use of PCR, is an important sustainability aspect that many laptop manufacturers fail to consider.
Of course, there are also negative elements of the design of this laptop that have nothing to do with environmental protection, but rather with the limitations of the price-conscious brand "Aspire". The 16: 9 aspect ratio feels dated as many laptops switch to larger 16:10 or 3: 2 sizes. The shape is highlighted by some chunky plastic bezels that will go out of style by 10 years. The thinner bezels of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 make for a modern, sleek looking device.
The processing quality also leaves a lot to be desired. It has a noticeable weak point in the middle of the hinge and the lid. This is common with plastic laptops, but this is where it's especially noteworthy. A hard press of a button pushes the chassis down, and when it is closed the center of the lid is warped so it doesn't close completely flat.
For the performance it has, the Aspire Vero is pretty clunky too. It's 0.7 inches thick, which fits laptops like the Dell XPS 15 or the Surface Laptop Studio. The difference is that the Acer Vero does not contain a separate graphics card or high-performance CPU. More on that later, but when you see the same components in a laptop as thin as the Surface Laptop 4 or LG Gram, you really wonder why this type of laptop has to be so thick.
On the other hand, it is the same thickness as the Acer Aspire 5 and is even slightly thinner than the 0.78-inch Asus Vivobook 15. However, the Aspire Vero is 3.97 pounds versus 3.64 pounds heavier than the Acer Aspire 5.
The Acer Aspire Vero offers a good mix of ports, although it's a bit old-fashioned. On the left you will find two USB-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet jack, a USB-C port and the laptop's proprietary charging port. Unfortunately, this is the only way to charge the laptop while using the device, as the USB-C port can only discharge the battery when it is switched off. Too bad.
On the right side you will find the headphone jack and the Kensington lock. I would have preferred at least one of the USB ports on this side for convenience, especially if you plan on docking your laptop with other peripherals in a home office environment.
As for wireless connectivity, the laptop supports both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Acer Aspire Vero has a comfortable keyboard that I have adopted as my main writing instrument without any major weaknesses. The keycaps don't wobble too much and the key travel of 1.5 mm feels appropriate.
I would have liked bigger keycaps, however, especially for this large laptop. It leads to fewer typos and more confidence when typing. The laptop has a number pad on the right and a large touchpad on the bottom. The "R" and "E" keys are stylized in such a way that they are written the other way around (to stand for Acer's environmental values), which is a bit strange.
The keyboard illumination is extremely limited on the Acer Aspire Vero. Only one level of brightness control is offered – either on or off. That's not very helpful.
The touchpad is where my nitpicks turn into annoyances.
The touchpad below is where my nitpicks turn into annoyances. Touchpads are notoriously bad on cheap laptops, and the Aspire Vero fits that trend. The tracking feels clunky and your finger won't slide across the surface without friction. It makes simple tasks like clicking and dragging, selecting text, or touch gestures frustrating.
The fingerprint reader is in the top left corner of the touchpad, which is one of my least favorite places, although the touchpad is big enough to avoid being touched all the time. Laptops like the IdeaPad 5 manage to push their fingerprint readers into the power button, which is handy.
I knew immediately that something was wrong with the Acer Aspire Vero's display. The colors have a sickly desaturated appearance. It's not flattering. We also noticed the reduced color saturation in other Acer Aspire notebooks last year. It's not quite as bad as the Acer Aspire 5, but that's hardly a compliment.
It's easy to see where Acer cut off some corners. The screen is dark at only 233 nits, has poor color saturation (65% of sRGB) and mediocre color accuracy. It's not nice. Not uncommon for a $ 500 laptop, but it's a disappointment for the $ 899 configuration I tested. You can buy either an M1 MacBook Air or a Ryzen-powered Surface Laptop 4, both of which have great screens, for just $ 100 more. Of course, you get less memory and storage space in these basic configurations, but the difference in display quality, battery life, and performance will be clearly noticeable.
When it comes to design and display, the important thing to remember is that this is a beefed up version of a $ 700 laptop. Don't let the starting prices confuse you. For example, the MacBook Air has a starting price of $ 999, but you'll have to pay $ 1,399 for a similarly configured MacBook Air, compared to the $ 900 Aspire Vero.
The speakers are also nothing to celebrate. They are at the bottom of the laptop, pointing down at the table. The result is usable sound for occasional videos, but not something you want to use for long music or movie sessions.
The Acer Aspire Vero's performance is handled well as long as you consider what category of laptop it is. Many laptops of this size offer a more powerful processor class, the 45-watt H-series chips. These have up to eight cores and 16 threads, which dramatically improves content creation and multitasking performance. Due to the simpler Core i7-1195G7 chip in the Aspire Vero, its ambitions are a bit more modest.
It's a laptop designed for everyday tasks like web browsing, video calling, office applications, and content streaming. You can expand its capabilities with a little bit of light photo editing or design work, but you will reach your limits when trying to encode 4K video or play modern 3D games. This is ensured by the quad-core processor and the lack of a separate graphic.
But as a standard work computer, tested in the full PCMark 10 benchmark, the Aspire Vero drives as I would expect. It even did well in the Cinebench R23 single-core benchmark, where it achieved the fastest score that we tested in this processor class. The Aspire Vero does this without ever getting too hot, either inside or on the surface.
Here you can expect better performance and thermals than from a smaller 13-inch laptop with the same processor. It should be noted that my configuration also came with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The Aspire Vero makes good use of its Intel processor and delivers solid performance for your daily workload and multitasking.
|Underdog bench 5
(Single / multiple)
|Cinebench R23 (single / multiple)||Handbrake (seconds)||PCMark 10||3DMark time spy|
|Acer Aspire Vero (Core i7-1195G7)||1,583 / 5,156||1,568 / 5,358||167||5,082||1,555|
|Asus Vivobook Flip 14 (Ryzen 5 5500U)||1,102 / 5,432||1,180 / 7,579||131||5,191||1,099|
|Acer Aspire 5 (Core i3-1115G4)||1,215 / 2,544||1.274 / 3.128||300||n / A||652|
|Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7)||1,549 / 5,431||1.449 / 4.267||204||3,859||1,589|
|Frame laptop (Core i7-1165G7)||1,432 / 4,725||1,444 / 4,725||176||5,054||1,641|
To manage performance and battery life, Acer has an application called VeroSense, which is pretty much exclusively intended to toggle between the power and power saving modes, which was designed for the Aspire Vero. I say “designed”, but the “ECO” mode is really just a renamed version of an energy saving mode. It increases battery life by about an hour and makes the Vero both quieter and less powerful. Finally, there is an "ECO +" mode that forces the Windows energy-saving mode to be switched on permanently. While this is a more efficient mode of operation, it is not something that no other laptop cannot easily do.
In the standard “Balanced” mode, in which I ran all of my tests, the system's fans liked to turn up loud under load, but it is quite quiet when idling.
I didn't expect great battery life from the Aspire Vero, simply because of the price. When I saw that it only had a 48 watt hour battery, my worries grew.
In my tests, the Acer Aspire Vero underperformed even on a laptop of this type. It lasted almost six and a half hours in our light web browser test. However, with my normal workload, the average time on a single charge dropped to under 5 hours. The maximum you can get out of the Acer Aspire Vero is around seven and a half hours. That is how long the system lasted during our lightest period of repeating a local 1080p video clip until the laptop dies.
The normal Acer Aspire 5 lasted 40-60 minutes longer, while the Asus Vivobook Flip 14 lasted a full two and a half hours longer. Spend a few hundred dollars more and you get a laptop that will last over twice as long.
The Acer Aspire Vero speaks a great game of its sustainability efforts, but its actual contributions aren't as significant as I'd hoped. I would never blame a company for making even small improvements toward more sustainable packaging and manufacturing, but the Aspire Vero's marketing outperforms the actual posts.
The Aspire Vero also fills the role of one of the cheaper laptops to hit the market with Windows 11 preinstalled, but even there it has some flaws that are hard to miss.
Are there alternatives?
In terms of Windows 11 laptops, which aren't very expensive, the Aspire Vero is your only choice. However, if you're willing to wait for the eventual free upgrade to Windows 11 when it launches, there are plenty of reasonably priced Windows laptops out there that offer a better overall package.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 is a solid alternative, offering a thinner bezel design and a brighter screen for roughly the same price. The Asus Vivobook 15 offers a similar equipment balance.
After all, the Surface Laptop Go is a smaller device but reaches a similar price range for a higher quality design.
How long it will take?
The Acer Aspire Vero should last four or five years if you want it to. The pre-installed Windows 11 ensures that you will receive updates in the future. The ability to swap out components makes repairing or upgrading your laptop easy across the board.
Unfortunately, beyond the standard one-year warranty that Acer gives you, you're on your own.
Should you buy it?
No. The Aspire Vero is a little overpriced for its quality and doesn't make up for it with enough truly sustainable initiatives.