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Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro hands-on review: A crazy 2-in-1 that’s total overkill

It’s already evident that 2-in-1 PCs are enjoying a revival at CES 2020. After several years of dual, predictable designs, the big PC builders have started to experiment. The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro is one result — and it’s a beauty.

Many new 2-in-1s at CES are small devices with folding screens. The ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro is entirely different. This is a big, chunky 15-inch laptop that’s designed for programmers, photographers, videographers, digital artists, and other “creators.”

The key to its design is a unique double hinge. It rotates at the base, like a normal laptop, but also rotates from its midpoint. That means you can pull the display forward to cover most, or all, of the keyboard.

Yes, you can use the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro as a tablet. But that’s not really the point. It’s more like a digital easel or draft board. The display can rest at a variety angles to offer a better view or make stylus use more comfortable.

The Wacom EMR stylus is thin, light, and never needs to be charged because it draws power from the display. It’s small for my tastes. I much prefer a stylus that’s the size of a real-life pen. Still, the stylus felt responsive, and the hinge made a comfortable angle easy to find.

The ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro takes the rare step of providing a place to store the stylus when it’s not used. It fits snugly into the display’s bottom hinge. You won’t have to worry about leaving the stylus in another bag or losing it altogether.

While the ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro’s hinge is the star of the show, the 2-in-1 looks stunning even when used as a clamshell laptop thanks to its “micro-arc oxidization finish, which upgrades its white exterior to the look and feel of ceramic. Acer swears the finish won’t yellow over time due to UV exposure, a problem many all-white laptops have faced.

It’s a big boi

Acer’s focus on creators carries over to the 2-in-1’s profile. This is a beefy laptop. You can haul it around, sure, but it’s not built for frequent fliers — unless you’re a traveler who also wants to edit 4K video on the go. Battery life? Hah. Don’t expect to use it for more than few hours away from a socket.

That’s where the hardware comes in. There are two models available: The ConceptD 7 Ezel, and the ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro. The Ezel offers Intel’s 10th-gen Core H-series processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, up to 32GB of DDR4, and up to 2TB of NVMe storage. Choosing the Ezel Pro upgrades the specs to Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics. The Ezel and Ezel Pro look the same, despite the internal differences.

The display means business. Both Ezel models come with a 4K IPS display that can hit 400 nits of brightness. Acer says the panels are factory calibrated to hit 100 percent of the Adobe RGB gamut, and built-in software provides the option to choose between various color profiles. It’s certainly an eye-catching display to view in person, as it boasts the subdued, window-like realism you’ll find only on displays that make color accuracy a priority.

Unlike so many 4K screens, both Ezel models use an anti-glare coating. I love it. Reflective 4K screens are the norm, and they look astounding in a dark room. Put them in an office, however, and every overhead light becomes your enemy. The anti-glare coating, combined with the laptop’s high maximum brightness, meant glare wasn’t a serious issue even in the harsh lighting of Acer’s pressroom.

Connectivity includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and an SD card slot. Yes, an SD card slot! That’s a rare luxury, even among high-end workstation laptops.

It’s not for everyone, but I’m glad it exists

Acer’s ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro is total overkill. I like that. This is a laptop that challenges assumptions about what high-end workstation laptops should do. It offers 2-in-1 versatility, a stylus, and impressive visual design alongside beefy hardware, a gorgeous screen, and practical ports.

The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel and Ezel Pro will start at $2,699 and $3,099, respectively, later this year. Exact release dates haven’t been announced.

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