Page 1: Reviewed: Aspire R14 R5-471T-79GQ
Nothing less than the “ultimate flexibility” is what Acer promises from the Aspire R14. The revised model strikes a balance between notebook and tablet without requiring too many compromises from the user. Let’s see how it all works out.
Compared to the previous generation, the latest rendition is now not only thinner and lighter, but equipped with the latest Skylake CPU. Left intact on the other hand is the transformation mechanism. Here, we see the same two 360c hinge setup that allows for fast switching between notebook and tablet mode.
Almost left unchanged is the price. While we don’t have exact US pricing, the cheapest of the three configurations currently available in Germany is almost 1,000 euros.
Keeping Up Appearances
The 14” device comes in at 343.8 x 245.0 x 18.5 mm and about 1.9 kg which is much less compact then you would expect from a device of this kind. In terms of material, at first glance the cover and interior give the impression of aluminum, upon further inspection, though, you discover its good processed plastic. Given the price point, the lack of aluminum isn’t a surprise.
Something that could be improved is the hinges which seemed overwhelmed by the weight of the lid including the display. If you hit a little harder on the notebook, the position of the display can’t be kept.
In terms of design, Acer offer a chrome-colored bezel revolving around the edge. In terms of access, the removal of twelve commercial Phillips screws give access to the battery and other components.
Many interfaces yet wasted potential
Sporting 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, fast WLAN module (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5.0, the Aspire R14 is sufficient for everyday use. This continues with the well placed inputs and outputs located on the right and left edges. Here, Acer offer two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 and a USB 3.1 Type-C alongside a HDMI port and audio jack. There are also stereo speakers which are surprisingly high quality alongside an SD card reader and disappointing webcam.
Two criticisms that pop up are the fact that Acer has opted to use slower DDR3 RAM instead of the higher end DDR4 option that became available with Skylake. The second is the SSD that brings rather average performance with maximum transfer rates of 440 and 167 MB/s (read / write) respectively.
Hardly suitable for outdoor use
The 14” display is clearly the main weakness of the Aspire R14. With a resolution of 1920 x 1080, the IPS panel is both sharp and offers good color presentation – the latter is due to the good average color temperature of 6,600 Kelvin. In terms of brightness, we see just 215 cd/m2. Not only does it struggle under shady areas outdoors, but even in bright rooms it’s not enough. Parts of the screen come in just under 180 cd/m2 with a homogeneity of only 82%.
To a certain extent, the disappointment continues with a rather below average contrast ratio of 805:1. The fact that the touch sensor works reliably on the display is just a minor win in the end.