Porsche Design Acer Book RS
"The Porsche Design Book RS is very, very fast for a Core i5 laptop – Porsche tuning at its best!"
Unique and modern aesthetics
Impressively fast performance of the Core i5 CPU
Competent gaming performance for a Core i5
Solid build quality
Good battery life
Expensive, even with an unusually fast Core i5
Average keyboard and touchpad
Acer has teamed up with Porsche Design to develop a laptop for “trend-conscious mobile professionals”. Sure, the companies have made a great looking laptop that has its own unique aesthetic, but often such collaborations can only be up close. So I was excited to find out if that's the case with this 14-inch laptop.
I got the entry-level Book RS configuration for $ 1,399 that came with a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a 14-inch Full HD -Drive (1,920 x 1,080) was equipped. IPS display. Read on to find out if there's more to the Porsche Design influence than good looks.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
I'm not going to say that I look at this laptop and immediately think of the Porsche sports cars. The Acer Book RS is quite angular in many ways, while I usually think of Porsche cars as more curvy. It doesn't matter because it's a beautiful laptop that absolutely stands out from the rest.
Let's start with the carbon fiber lid, which is manufactured using the NIL (Nanoimprint Lithography) process and covered by silver aircraft aluminum with the Porsche Design logo. It's noticeable and the carbon fiber stands out more than, for example, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3, where it's much more subdued. Here, the texture gives a futuristic look, drawing attention to the sides of the laptop, which – as mentioned – are chiseled into an angular aesthetic exemplified by the hinge on the back. The chassis doesn't have much, if any, angle – oddly enough, the blocky look stands out instead of being overly simplistic. When you open the lid you will find a standard island keyboard with black keys and white letters. The Porsche Design logo above the keyboard is the only outstanding design feature. The frames aren't as small as on many newer computers like the Dell XPS 13, but they aren't too big either.
Build quality is solid, with no bending, bending, or twisting unless you put way too much pressure. It's as good as any other premium notebook, and you'll have a hard time finding unsightly seams or misaligned parts. The Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA is another 14-inch laptop with a solid build, and the Acer Book RS matches it – as do the Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBook Pro 13. That shouldn't come as a surprise – Porsche clearly doesn't. I don't want his name to be tainted by a sloppy build. Acer has also used the Micro-Arc Oxidation (MAO) lacquer that has been used on some of its recent laptops to harden the case surface and resist scratches and corrosion.
The Book RS is a very thin and light 14-inch laptop that measures 0.63 inches and 2.65 pounds. That's slightly thicker than the 0.54-inch ZenBook 14 UX425EA and a bit heavier than the ZenBook's 2.58 pounds. It's also not as thin as the 0.58-inch XPS 13, but it's lighter compared to the Dell's 2.8 pounds (to the touch). Of course, you don't mind carrying the basic case around with you.
Connectivity is another strong point: a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 support (a second port would have been handy), two USB-A 3.2 ports, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP support, and a 3rd port , 5mm audio jack. A major complaint is that there is no SD card reader. Hence, photo and video editors need to buy an adapter. The wireless connectivity is state of the art with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
If you've looked at the $ 1,399 price tag and were disappointed that the Book RS only has an 11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 CPU rather than the Core i7 you can usually find for that kind of money , you have the feeling. I felt the same way when I first saw the specs and pricing, but found that Acer had paid the Porsche Design group a fair amount of money that was passed on to the buyer. The thing is, this is a Porsche Design laptop, and if there's one thing usually associated with that name, it's performance.
I'll give it to you right away: the Porsche Design Acer Book RS with its Core i5 is just as fast – if not faster – than any Tiger Lake Core i7 laptop we tested, with the exception of the reference device that Intel sent us to look at Has . This laptop featured the fastest Tiger Lake CPU, the Core i7-1186G7, compared to the Core i7-1165G7 machines we tested.
Take a look at the synthetic benchmark GeekBench 5, in which the Book RS achieved 1,415 points in single-core mode and 5,364 points in multi-core mode. That's a lot faster than the other Core i5 laptop I tested, the Lenovo Yoga 7i, and it challenges the Core i7 machines. For example, the Dell XPS 13 9310 scored 1,540 and 5,432 points, which means that it was significantly faster than the Book RS in single-core mode, but less in multi-core mode. The same goes for the faster Acer Swift 5 with 1580 and 5836 points – again faster than the Book RS, but not as much as you might expect.
But check out the handbrake results, a more realistic test that converts a 420MB video to H.265. The Book RS finished the test in three minutes, faster than the Swift 5, the XPS 13 9310 and the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA (all Core i7 machines). And the Book RS was only eight seconds away from the faster Intel reference laptop. That's a remarkable feat of a Core i5 laptop, and I was tempted to pry open the case and look for a turbo-charger hidden inside.
Cinebench 20 was similar: The Book RS was faster than the XPS 13 9310 in multi-core mode and in close proximity to the Swift 5 and the Intel reference device. The Book RS was a bit slower in single core mode, but not by much. As I said in the headline, Porsche not only designed this laptop, it must have optimized it too.
You lose next to nothing when you buy the Book RS and its Core i5, and you can spend an extra $ 600 and get a Core i7 that I can imagine will do even more spectacularly. That leaves the question of GPU performance unanswered, however – the Yoga 7i's Core i5 Intel Iris Xe graphics underperformed significantly, and I feared I'd see the same on the Book RS as well.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
Fortunately, that wasn't the case. While the Book RS couldn't quite keep up with its Core i7 competitors, it was close enough that you won't be too disappointed here if you opt for the supposedly slower chipset.
We start with the synthetic 3DMark Time Spy test, in which the Book RS scored 1,504. Compare that to the Yoga 7i with the same Core i5, which only hit 913. The Dell XPS 13 was faster at 1,647, as was the Acer Swift 5 at 1,686, but the difference is nowhere near as big as the Yoga 7i. In short, in this benchmark at least, the Core i5 of the Book RS was competitive with our Core i7 comparison machines.
In Civilization VI with 1080p and medium graphics, the Book RS achieved 46 frames per second (fps) compared to the Swift 5 with 53 fps and the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA with 36 fps. The Yoga 7i could only reach 28 fps, which shows that it was slow in real games, and not just benchmarks – and that the Core i5 itself isn't that much slower. When switching to epic graphics, the Book RS achieved 25 fps compared to the Swift 5 with 27 fps and the ZenBook 14 with 24 fps.
I also ran Fortnite, and the Book RS was competitive again at 27 fps on 1080p and high graphics and 20 fps on epic graphics. There aren't any good results either, but they're not far behind the Swift 5 at 31 fps and 22 fps and are identical to the Dell XPS 13 at 27 fps and 20 fps. The Yoga 7i only managed 20 FPS and 12 FPS in this title.
The bottom line is that the Book RS is almost as light a gaming notebook as the Tiger Lake Core i7 systems I tested. Even the Intel reference laptop with its faster chip wasn't much faster.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
Lately – and by that I mean the last few years – premium Full HD IPS displays are pretty similar in performance. They're great for productivity work and Netflix, but they don't offer the huge gamut of color and accuracy that photo and video editors require. I was excited to see how the Book RS display behaved, and that's how my colorimeter came out.
Basically, the laptop's display is at least average – which is very good – or a little better in some cases. First, it reached 318 nits of brightness and exceeded our preferred threshold of 300 nits. So this is a good thing. The contrast was 970: 1, just below our 1,000: 1 standard for great displays. That too is good enough. The colors were typical of 73% of AdobeRGB and 97% of sRGB – the vast majority of premium laptops fall in the same range, maybe a few percentage points higher or lower on either color gamut, but not enough to be noticed. Finally, the color accuracy was very good with a DeltaE of 1.15, with 1.0 or less indistinguishable to the human eye and considered excellent.
In short, this is a fine display that makes productivity a pleasure and makes watching videos a pleasure. I have no complaints about this display and have enjoyed using it as much as the rest of this excellent laptop. You will find that it is on par with other similar laptops like the Acer Swift 5 (which may have used the same display, the results are so similar). Note that the Yoga 7i had a very low contrast ratio of 690: 1, so the Book RS gives this laptop a superior experience.
The audio, on the other hand, suffers from low volume – turn it all the way up and there is no distortion but not much sound either. The mids and highs are okay and the bass is missing as usual. You should therefore use headphones or an external speaker with the Book RS.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Book RS has a typical island keyboard with smaller function keys on top. The keycaps are a little small for my tastes, and the key spacing is such that I occasionally find my fingers looking for keys. The switches are also softer than I like – not muddy, but with no crunchy floor effect. Acer uses the same keyboard on multiple laptops and I would have preferred to see something special on this one. In terms of precision, the keyboard is certainly not in the same class as the Dell XPS 13, HP Specter x360 13, and the latest MacBooks.
The touchpad is fine, responsive to swipes and taps, and supports Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers. The key clicks are a bit loud, which I don't like. Finally, the fingerprint reader for Windows Hello login assistance without a password is embedded in the top left of the touchpad. This is something companies have moved away from, and something I think Acer should have avoided here. It worked well enough that I rarely had to enter my PIN to sign in.
There is a Gorilla Glass touch display which is good to have and which responds as usual. You will benefit from an antimicrobial coating if you use it. This doesn't protect you from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but rather reduces the bacteria that build up.
Ultimately, I was a little overwhelmed by the input options given that the laptop is excellent in so many other areas. It just feels like Acer cut a corner here where it could have done something special.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
The Book RS only contains a 56-watt-hour battery, which isn't much for a machine with a 14-inch display. In comparison, the Lenovo Yoga 7i has a battery capacity of 71 watt hours, which would theoretically result in better battery life – and an even better comparison since both laptops use the same Core i5-1135G7.
The thing is, the RS book lasts longer than the Yoga 7i, which is all the more remarkable given that it works so much faster. For example, in our web browsing test, which provides the best estimate of productivity longevity, the Book RS lasted nine hours while the Yoga 7i lasted just under an hour less. The Book RS also beat the Acer Swift 5 (almost eight hours) and the XPS 13 9310 (by 27 minutes). According to Intel's Evo certification, a laptop battery should last nine hours of normal use, and the Book RS is the first that I'm sure will meet that requirement.
When switching over to our video test, in which a local Full HD Avengers trailer is repeated until the laptop is shut down, the Book RS took a little over 13.5 hours. This is a decent score that once again surpasses the Yoga 7i, Acer Swift 5, and XPS 13.
While I usually use the Basemark web benchmark test to see how long a laptop will last when the CPU and GPU are under heavy strain, every Tiger Lake laptop I have tried failed this test. So I used the PCMark 10 gaming benchmark for this purpose, and the Book RS took just under two hours. Here the Yoga 7i lasted 50 minutes longer, while the XPS 13 9310 lasted more than twice as long. The Acer Swift 5 was away from the Book RS within four seconds. It is likely that the same tuning that led to the Book RS's exceptional performance resulted in the battery burn out faster in this test.
Overall, the Book RS impressed me with its battery life, especially considering the relatively small battery and excellent performance. Would I rather have seen a bigger battery? Sure, but I wouldn't be disappointed with the longevity of the laptop at all.
The Porsche Design Acer Book RS is an impressive laptop in both looks and performance – as befits the Porsche nickname, I suppose. Thanks to its solid construction, it feels good in the hand and lasts long enough on one charge that you can probably last a whole working day – a real achievement for such a runabout.
The keyboard and touchpad were a bit underutilized, and let's face it – the Core i5 is fast in this computer, but it's still a Core i5. So $ 1,399 for this configuration is steep and you are definitely paying for Porsche Design's dedication. But if you're looking for a gorgeous, uniquely designed laptop that performs well, then you might not mind the price, just like Porsche sports cars.
Are there alternatives?
The Acer Swift 5 is an obvious competitor to the Book RS. It offers the best performance you can find in any of the Tiger Lake laptops tested so far by Digital Trends, and it's a well-built laptop in itself. You also pay less for a Core i7 (that's no faster than the Book RS's Core i5, remember), more RAM, and more storage.
If you are craving a 2-in-1 device, the HP Specter x360 13 is an excellent choice. We haven't tested it yet, but it is also available with Tiger Lake and has its own attractive gem-cut look. You can also get it with a stunning OLED display that puts the Book RS display to shame.
Finally, the Dell XPS 13 always remains a solid alternative as it is one of the best laptops out there. It also runs on Tiger Lake, and while it can also be expensive and have a slightly smaller screen, these may be trade-offs that are worthwhile if the Porsche Design look doesn't impress you.
How long it will take?
The Porsche Design Acer Book RS is a well-made laptop that works reliably for years and performs well in this way. We don't like the one-year guarantee. What can you do? It's the industry standard.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Porsche Design Acer Book RS is beautiful, thin and light, well built and fast. Just be ready to pay a little extra for this logo.