The second time’s the charm for the Porsche Design Acer Book RS, a slim, light Porsche-branded laptop that lacks its predecessor’s flash but nails it in the performance department. While 2017’s Porsche Design Book One (go. pcworld.com/pbk1), the first laptop with a detachable display and a 360-degree hinge, took a shock-and-awe approach in terms of its form factor, the elegant but much more traditional Porsche Design Acer Book RS keeps the fireworks under the hood.
Packing an 11th-gen Intel Tiger Lake CPU, this new Porsche absolutely tears it up when it comes to multicore CPU performance, all without compromising battery life or portability. The peppy integrated Iris Xe graphics should keep content creators busy. Even better, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is priced more like a Honda (well, one of the nicer ones, anyway) than a Porsche 911.
CONFIGURATION Let’s dive into the specifications of our Porsche Design Acer Book RS review unit (with the poetic model name AP714-51T-59ZV), which is available for $1,400 from Acer (go.pcworld.com/14ac):
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor
Memory: Dual-channel 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920x1080 IPS touchscreen
Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, two SuperSpeed (5Gbps) USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0, combo audio jack
Networking: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Biometrics: Fingerprint reader
Battery capacity: 56 watt-hour
Dimensions: 12.55 x 8.24 x 0.63 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds (measured), 6 ounces (power brick)
A second version (AP714-51GT716C, $1,700 from Acer [go. pcworld. com/17ac]) steps up to a Core i7-1165G7 processor with discrete GeForce MX350 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Both are moderately steep price tags, but they’re much more reasonable that the $2,495 premium that 2017’s Porsche Design Book One commanded.
A third SKU, the Porsche Design Acer Premium Collection (AP714-51GT-76L3, $2,000 from Acer [go.pcworld.com/20ac]), bundles the pricier laptop with the Porsche Design Acer Travelpack RS, an accessory pack (available separately for $330 from Acer; go.pcworld.com/33ac) that includes a snazzy, angular Bluetooth mouse (with an aluminum-framed left button that looks like a gas pedal), a polyester laptop sleeve, and a leather pouch and mousepad. The sleeve, pouch, and mousepad all snap together with hidden magnets, making for a handsome—if pricey—way to tote the Porsche Design laptop. (The leather smells great, too.)
At first blush, our test unit has an impressive configuration. Intel’s new 10nm Core i5 Tiger Lake processor promises a substantial jump in performance over 10th-gen Ice Lake CPUs (stay tuned for our benchmarks). Iris Xe delivers gangbuster graphics performance for an integrated GPU, although (as we’ll see) it’s more oriented toward content creation than gaming. The 8GB of RAM is adequate for most uses, while the 512GB SSD is roomy enough for Office and a modest media library. The fingerprint reader will let you unlock Windows with a fingertip swipe—although for this much money, we would have liked to see IR facial recognition, too. Wi-Fi 6 networking means the Porsche will play nice with cutting-edge routers. The state-of-the-art Thunderbolt 4 (newly supported by Intel’s Tiger Lake chips) will drive a pair of external 4K displays and support longer cable runs.
When I think of the Porsche brand, I imagine sleek, understated elegance (or at least that’s how I remember my uncle’s Porsche, back when I was an awe-struck kid). The Porsche Design Acer Book RS certainly delivers that aesthetic.
The laptop’s aluminum unibody frame comes with chamfered front and rear edges. The CNC-machined, 3K carbon fiber lid features a subtle striped design that’s matched on the mouse in the optional accessories kit. The Porsche Design logo is etched onto the front edge of the top cover, and it’s also stamped on the chassis just above the keyboard. The design even carries over to the display’s default striped Porsche Design wallpaper.
Besides offering sophisticated looks, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is pleasingly light, weighing in at just 2.6 pounds. It comes with two AC adapters: a compact, six-ounce model with a traditional barrel-shaped tip, and a larger, USB-C–tipped model weighing in at 10 ounces.
Encased in scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS’s 14-inch display is both sharp and bright.
Rated at 340 nits, the touchscreen easily tops our low-water mark of 250 nits when it comes to indoor brightness, even if it can’t hold a candle to the brightest gaming laptops. The display also boasts wide viewing angles thanks to its IPS (in-plane switching) panel.
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