While hardware specs are generally the first thing we look at when selecting a notebook (well we do here anyway), there’s been a marked movement towards sustainability as a major specification in tech manufacturing, and more and more users are looking to lower their overall, if not just their tech footprint. Acer’s new Aspire Vero laptop focuses on those environmentally-friendly specs, and still manages to provide a good sub-$1k home / small business laptop at $899.99. Vero models start with a smaller battery and hard drive for $699.99 for those more budget conscious as well. Before we get started, here are our specs (this is the AV15-52-712Q):
- OS: Windows 11 Home
- Proc: 12 Generation Intel Core i7-1255U Processor (E-Core Max 3.50 GHz, P-Core Max 4.70 GHz with Turbo Boost, 10 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
- Designed on Intel EVO platform
- Memory: 16GB DDR4
- Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe
- Screen: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, 300 nits, 60Hz (can tune down to 48Hz win Windows 11)
- Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
- Connectivity: RJ45 ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.2
- Other: Discrete Trusted Platform Module 2.0, fingerprint reader, FHD webcam
Specs and Design
The Vero is a 15″ laptop that that weighs in at 3.88lbs and measures at 14.3″ x 9.4″ x 0.70″, making it less than an inch thick but a bit heavier than comparable models without dedicated GPU’s. That said it’s still lighter than Acer’s Aspire 5 which weighs 3.97lbs.
That weight differential comes from the focus on sustainable materials for various parts of the unit. The top and bottom covers, screen bezel, and operating surface use 30% post-consumer recycled plastic, and in an often-overlooked area, the keycaps themselves are built with 50% PCR. Together this saves 21% in CO2 emissions. There’s no paint for coloring, and it’s constructed with standard screws for ease of disassembly, upgrades, and ultimately recycling. It doesn’t stop at the deck – the touchpad is OceanGlass, which is made from ocean-bound plastic.
So you’re not going to have that sleek and shiny look that other laptops have with different chassis materials, but that’s not why you’re buying this laptop to begin with (and that’s not to say it doesn’t have its eco-aesthetic charm). The design and patterns on the deck and lid are textured (our color was “cobblestone”) with flecks of color blended in presumably from the plastic mix when the mold was pressed.
It still provides a nice and responsive keyboard complete with numpad and white backlighting, with green-highlighted “E” and “R” keys to reinforce the call to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The fingerprint scanner is built in as a small square in the touchpad, with a 300 nit FHD (1920×1080) screen on the top. There’s an FHD webcam as well, but we have to count a strike against the Vero for not having a shutter or e-shutter switch for privacy.
Sustainability is also integrated into the laptop’s packaging, which uses up to 90% recycled paper, whose inner partition can be folded into a an ergonomic laptop stand.
There are a decent number of ports for a 0.70″ thick laptop, and I’m really glad to see that Acer included a hinged RJ45 ethernet port because we still have use for them around here. With that RJ45 is an HDMI out, 3 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1’s, a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (Thunderbolt 4 / power delivery), the A/C adapter port and a headphone/mic jack.
As for hardware, this eco-friendly notebook is on the Intel EVO platform, meaning high standards for performance and battery life, which naturally we tested thoroughly with our benchmarks and real world battery testing.
Performance and Feel
Naturally, we aren’t expecting massive numbers for gaming specs and DirectX 12, but we have plenty of other benchmarks that will let us know what’s what.
PCMark 10: Our office benchmark gave us a 4,838 (Essentials 8,930, Productivity 6,112, Digital Content Creation 5,630). For a comparison, the Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 10, which currently has our title of business king, delivered a 5,108 on this test.
3DMark Time Spy: The DirectX12 test gave us a 1,509 – this is of course not even in the same arena as our models with discrete GPU’s, but again as a comparison the X1 Carbon Gen 10 hit just south of 2,000.
3DMark Night Raid: This is the graphics test that really matters since it’s made to test integrated graphics. The Vero hit 14,031, which is above and beyond the average office machine. It’s still short of the X1 Carbon, but beats other models like some of Lenovo’s Yogas and Dell’s Inspirons.
Procyon Office Productivity: UL’s newest benchmark for office productivity gave us a 5,868. This test more directly tries to tax your Microsoft 365 apps.
- 1280×720 / lowest: 36 fps
- 1280×720 / medium: 26 fps
- FHD / lowest: 17 fps
Final Fantasy XV: This one is so graphically intensive that rolling around with Noctis and his crew will prove very difficult, but we were able to get playable settings with the settings tuned almost all the way down.
- FHD / standard graphics: 1,337 – Insufficient
- FHD / lite graphics: 1,917 – Insufficient
- 1280×720 / standard graphics: 2,866 – Slightly low
- 1280×720 / lite graphics: 3,597 – Standard
Clearly it’s not a gamer, but we did get some very good results on the productivity end. Not only that but the notebook feels good to use. Somehow it feels lighter than the 3.88 lbs weight, and we get great action on the keyboard and touchpad doing work stuff. It also stays pretty cool on your lap – granted, there’s no GPU – but still, fan noise and heat were pretty minimal. The one big problem we found was that there was no built-in shutter for the webcam or an e-shutter switch. Yes there’s a red light on when the camera is active, but we would have liked to see this extra measure of protection which is almost standard these days.
However, game streaming services work great if you have the higher tier subscriptions to PlayStation Now and/or XBOX Game Pass.
Real-world Battery Testing
As always, we clicked on wifi, turned the screen brightness down to 60%, and kept the battery mode in balanced. This notebook is on the EVO platform so we were excited to see if the battery life held up as advertised.
As it’s the spooky season we started with a couple hours of streaming with Netflix’s The Midnight Club before we used it for home and office as our daily driver. That meant doing some work in Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, taking some Zoom calls, and typing up the majority of this very article. We did a bit of online shopping for some supplies, wrote many an email, and ordered some tacos on DoorDash. It lasted us all day so we set it aside for sleep, and after picking it up to get started the following morning we still got a bit or life before it tapped out. Acer advertises 11 hours of battery for this model and we’ve got to say that’s a pretty good assessment, because we got just short of 10.5 hours.
What was also nice is that you don’t need the actual AC adapter to charge the Vero back up, since the USB-C port also allows for charging.
Acer proves with the Vero that sustainability can still be a goal in manufacturing without compromising performance. It’s still running a deca-core Intel i7 and serves extremely well as a home PC, and to us really the Vero’s ideal use case is the college student life. Even if you choose to use it for work it does have TPM, so an upgrade to Windows 11 Pro wouldn’t be out of the question to make this your worker for a small business (but not sure we’d put it on an enterprise domain) – especially when other work machines can cost upwards of $1,500. With the Vero, we have a good all-purpose machine for under $1k. While we still wish there was a shutter or switch for the webcam, the Vero is a great option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint without breaking the bank.