January 13, 2021
Tech review: Designed by Porsche, the Acer Book RS has looks and speed
In the crowded laptop market, standing out can be a good thing.
Acer has teamed up with Porsche Designs to create a very nice-looking laptop called the Porsche Designs Acer Book RS. It starts at $1,399.99, but are the sporty design touches worth a premium price?
Yes and no.
Acer says the Porsche Design Book RS is designed for trend-conscious mobile professionals looking for convenience and style while they work.
The Book RS comes in two models, one with an Intel Core i5 CPU and one with the faster Core i7.
I tested the Premium Collection edition ($1,999), which includes the i7 version of the Book RS along with a TravelPack bundle of a Porsche Design wireless mouse, a protective sleeve, a leather pouch and a leather mousepad. It also ships with two power supplies, one with a round barrel connector and one with a USB-C connector.
The exact same Core i7 version of the Book RS is available for $1,699 without the extras.
So why would Acer collaborate with Porsche on a laptop?
Acer is handling the internals, so that leaves Porsche to design the exterior.
The first thing you'll notice about the Book RS is the large carbon fiber inlay that covers the top of the PC.
It complements the aluminum alloy frame nicely. The carbon fiber is smooth and not textured at all.
I have to think Porsche designed the lifted hinge as well.
As you open the laptop, a protruding portion of the hinge rotates down to slightly elevate the rear of the laptop. This means the bottom of the laptop doesn't sit flat on your desk. There is a small space to help provide more airflow.
The hinge pinched my finger the very first time I opened the Book RS. I had my hand on the hinge as I opened the laptop and there's a small gap that closes as the hinge opens and my finger got pinched. I said some words my mom would not approve of, then learned to keep my hand away from the back of the laptop when I opened it.
The only other hint I noticed of a Porsche Designs touch is on the wireless mouse. The left button on the mouse is made from the same carbon fiber, and it reminded me of a gas pedal from a car. The mouse is the first I've come across that can connect to the PC via either a 2.4Ghz dongle or Bluetooth.
Are the Porsche Designs touches enough to grab some attention and sell some laptops?
I'll leave that up to the people spending the money.
Under the hood
The outside looks nice, but how's the inside?
The Book RS is powered by the 11th generation Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.8 GHz CPU. It has an NVIDIS GeForce MX350 graphics card with two gigabytes of graphics memory.
The Book RS has 16 GB of RAM and a 1-terabyte solid-state hard drive.
The display is a 14-inch full HD 16:9 touchscreen made of Gorilla Glass with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels.
The hinge does rotate to flip the screen around, so the Book RS is not a 2-in-1, meaning it doesn't have a tablet mode.
Acer says the 56 watt-hour battery has a maximum run time of 17 hours. It can also be fast-charged to give you four hours of use in 30 minutes.
Ports include HDMI, two USB-A ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port that doubles as a USB-C port and a power input port and one combination headphone/microphone audio out jack.
The Book RS can support two external 4K displays or one 8K display.
The touchpad includes a fingerprint reader, and the keyboard is backlit.
The Book RS has a 1,280 by 720-pixel webcam with a microphone. There are two stereo speakers, and everything looks and sounds great on a video conference.
Networking included is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Book RS weighs 2.65 pounds and measures 12.5 by 8.2 by 0.63 inches.
The i7 Book RS is speedy, but the Porsche Designs contributions don't do anything to make the laptop faster.
I'm pleased with the specs. The i7 processor, graphics card, RAM and SSD are all what I'd consider on the higher end.
It isn't perfect, though.
I wish the trackpad were a little larger and I can't see why the fingerprint reader needs to be inside the trackpad.
I haven't found much use for a touch screen on a laptop if it's not able to fold over like a tablet.
The Acer Porsche Designs Book RS i7 is a very nicely equipped laptop, and the price is in line with the specs.
I'd be hard-pressed to recommend the entire Porsche Designs Acer Book RS TravelPack bundle. Besides the i7 Book RS, you get a wireless mouse, a leather mousepad, a leather sleeve and a pouch to carry accessories that all stick together with magnets.
Those accessories are nice, but I'm not seeing $300 worth of value there.
Pros: Fast, lightweight, cool carbon fiber.
Cons: Extras are not worth the extra cost.
Bottom line: Stick with just the laptop instead of the entire collection.
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