Acer Aspire 7 (A715-72G-71CT) Review

The Aspire 7 is the latest laptop in a long line of Acer-made laptops that are meant for gaming as well as regular use. Acer has always been a prosumer-centric company, making laptops that could be used as a daily driver but could also be plugged in to turn into a beast of a gaming machine. Even though Acer has made a foray into the gaming sector with its Predator series of laptops, its Aspire series still hasn’t lost its DNA. The Aspire 7 is no exception, and today we’re going to review it to answer the question that every buyer might have about this laptop: Is it worth it?

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Design

At first glance, the Aspire 7 does not look like a gaming laptop at all. No RGB, no fancy cut-outs, no brand imprints, nothing at all. It is adorned by a simple ‘Acer’ logo on the center of its lid, and nothing else. The lid is made up of black aluminum, while the rest of the laptop is made of plastic. These surfaces do have a good quality look and feel, but they attract fingerprints easily. The bottom edge of the laptop is milled during production, making it a visual delight, but also a safety hazard since the metal is quite sharp. On the application of pressure, the laptop doesn’t flex much. There is slight flexing near the trackpad but overall, the chassis showed a minimal amount of flex after application of a large amount of force. So, the Aspire 7 is very durable. The display, however, twisted after applying minimal force. We were expecting a better build quality from Acer for the display. The display opens to a maximum of 180 degrees, which is unexpected from a gaming laptop. The hinges of the display are tough enough to prevent a bouncing motion of the display but also light enough to be opened with one hand. The dimensions of the laptop are 381.6mm x 262.8mm x 23.95mm. Overall, the build quality of the Aspire 7 is bittersweet. On one hand, it provides us with a 180-degree opening lid and on the other, it provides sharp edges and a flexing chassis.

Connectivity and I/O

The Aspire 7 is equipped with two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, one HDMI Out, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and one RJ45 Gigabit LAN port. Apart from these, it has a Kensington lock port and an SD card reader. It has an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip as well as Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities. The positioning in the back area is good, but the connections on the left side are very close together. It would have been better to place the card reader on the right side to give some more space to the ports on the left. Nonetheless, the connectivity options on the Aspire 7 are good enough to satisfy the average consumer, but that’s about it. The laptop lacks a Thunderbolt 3.0 port, which means that a lot of peripherals cannot be connected to the laptop, included but not limited to an external graphics enclosure. The HDMI port allows for connection to an external display, but that’s about it as far as connectivity goes. It isn’t VR capable either. All in all, the laptop is good enough for regular usage and a bit of gaming, but if you’re a prosumer who relies heavily on external peripherals, external displays, and high-level intensive applications, then this one is not for you. That being said, the laptop is good enough for the average Joe for use as a daily driver.

Display

The Aspire 7 is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS Full HD panel with a native resolution of 1920×1080. The display has a peak brightness of 247.7 nits and a contrast ratio of around 500:1. The brightness is way below the industry average of 300 nits and so is the contrast ratio, with the industry average being somewhere around 1000:1. The color deviation of the display (the difference between the color intended to be shown and the color that is shown) is around 4.75, whereas the desired value is around 3. The color space of the laptop is also very disappointing as it only covers 36% of the Adobe RGB color gamut and 57% of the sRGB color gamut. The IPS panel is a boon to the Aspire 7, allowing for stable viewing angles in all directions. The laptop is suitable to be used for the regular user, but content creators and editors will be easily displeased by the display. It is a decent display for gamers to use while indoors.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard of the Aspire 7 is well designed and good for regular use. It is a simple, backlit, full-sized keyboard with a white backlight that has only one level of intensity (either on or off). The keys offer a sufficiently large surface of typing which is about 16mm x 16mm. The keys are smooth and don’t yield to slipping. The pressure point is satisfactory, and the typing noise is quiet. However, it could have been a bit tighter, because the damped stroke causes a typing experience that feels a bit spongy. For people who are used to chiclet keyboards, the transition to an Aspire 7 will be surprising since the keyboard is very quiet. Nonetheless, the full-sized keyboard offers a good typing experience and shouldn’t disappoint gamers either.

The trackpad is simple, colored with a similar theme matching with the rest of the laptop, highlighted by a chrome-colored outline. It is equipped with a fingerprint reader in the top left corner of the laptop. The fingerprint reader does reduce the usable area of the trackpad, but we’ve noticed that it doesn’t have a profound impact on daily use. The trackpad doesn’t have physical keys. Instead, the lower section of the trackpad has two buttons underneath it, which produce a clear clicking sound.

Audio

The Aspire 7 is equipped with stereo speakers, that have a bottom-firing placement in the chassis. The sound is intended to be reflected by the table surface, so if you place it on a mattress or a carpet, then the audio is going to sound muffled. The bass is almost non-existent, but the highs and the mid-tones are satisfying to hear. The Dolby Audio software allows users to select between predefined sound profiles or perform their adjustments with the equalizer, to adjust the sound according to their preferences. At 73.9 dB, the small speakers can make quite some noise without producing distortions. The lack of bass is not uncommon amongst laptop speakers, so we’re going to let this one slide for the Aspire 7. All in all, if you’re an audiophile, we would recommend you use the 3.5mm audio jack for your audio needs. Both the Bluetooth and the 3.5mm audio interfaces worked seamlessly during our testing.

Gaming, Graphics, and Performance

The Aspire 7 is equipped with a 6 core 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H processor that can run at clock speeds of up to 4.1 GHz. Along with the i7, the Aspire 7 has 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory and an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti GPU with 4GB of dedicated VRAM under the hood. The laptop is sufficiently powered to run for the next 2-3 years without obsoletion and even more if you don’t mind playing games at lower settings. The laptop can run some of the latest games at high settings without any worries. At high settings, the laptop ran GTA V at 84.3 frames per second, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at 50 frames per second, Assassins Creed Odyssey at 45 frames per second and Battlefield V at 64.4 frames per second. All in all, it is safe to say that the gaming performance exhibited by this laptop is phenomenal, considering its price. It scored 108541 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Standard Benchmark and 34938 on the 3DMark 06 Standard Benchmark.

The laptop is equipped with a 128 GB NVMe SSD along with 1 TB Hard Drive. This ensures that the laptop doesn’t run out of storage immediately. The storage had a sequential read and write speed of 2001 MB per second and 635.6 MB per second respectively.

Battery Life

Gaming laptops usually aren’t expected to have good battery lives. And you would expect the Aspire 7 to have a terrible battery life, but there’s one thing that the reader might’ve forgotten by now: The Aspire 7 isn’t a gaming laptop. The Aspire 7 achieves a battery runtime of a whopping 6 hours and 23 minutes. In this test, we simulate loads that are consistent with surfing the Internet. The “balanced” power plan is selected, the display brightness is set to 150 nits and the energy-saving functions are switched off. We were surprised by the marathon battery life of this laptop and it made us forget that it was intended to be a gaming laptop. The Nvidia Optimus technology plays a huge role in extending the battery life by figuring out whether a certain workload would perform better with a GPU or not and switching off the GPU for regular, daily tasks. We were heavily impressed by the battery life of the Aspire 7.

Heat and Temperature Management

Under idle conditions, the Aspire 7 remains at an average temperature of a cool 74 degrees Fahrenheit and reaches a maximum of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the Aspire 7 heats up noticeably under maximum workloads, touching an average temperature of 89 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The notebook does not become excessively hot and remains within usable conditions, which is a major plus point.

Software and Warranty

The Acer Aspire 7 comes loaded with plenty of bloatware from Microsoft and Acer alike. Apart from that, it contains a standard set of software by Intel and Nvidia to control the storage, CPU, and GPU of the laptop.

The Acer Aspire 7 comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Conclusion

The Aspire 7 A715-72G is a 15.6-inch multimedia notebook that is suitable for gaming. The built-in Core i7-8750H will not become obsolete for quite a long time. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti can run all the latest video games smoothly. Despite powerful hardware, the notebook is silent when using office applications and browsing the Internet. The Acer laptop does not get very hot. The display is disappointing, but it shouldn’t be a problem for regular office users and casual gamers.

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