Acer Aspire Vero laptop review: Recycling plastic has never looked so good

Acer Aspire Vero laptop review: Recycling plastic has never looked so good ...

The 15.6-inch Aspire Vero is one of Acer's first laptops to include Windows 11 alongside updated versions of its ultraportable Swift 5 and entry-level Nitro 5 gaming laptop. The Vero, on the other hand, is a completely new design. It's not entirely new, as it'll be Acer'' first laptop made from post-consumer recycled plastics, and it will be shipped in recycled packaging that is also 100% recyclable.

HP and Dell have increased their use of recycled materials as well as making it simpler to recycle old laptops. Microsoft even has a new mouse made from ocean-bound plastics. However, the Aspire Vero goes even further, with its chassis and screen bezel made of 30% PCR plastic, while the keycaps on the keyboard are 50% RNA plastic. While it may be made from recycled materials, it's one of the most attractive plastic laptops I've seen in a long time.

7.5

Acer Aspire Vero is a graphical user interface for the A Cer A6000.

Acer is offering $900 for $800 at Aspire.
  • Can be easily upgraded by user.
  • Good port selection.
  • Attractive, sturdy construction made from recycled plastic, made of strong, durable materials.
  • Mediocre battery life.
  • No USB-C charging.

A different kind of unboxing experience.

The packaging that a Windows laptop is provided in is generally an indicator of the laptop's price -- the more you pay, the better-quality packaging you get. Acer kept the Aspire Vero's packaging as straightforward as possible, but also recycled materials and recycled plastic wherever possible. The result is an unboxing experience that's part premium and part no frills.

The box is constructed of 85% recycled paper, and Acer used molded pulp made from 100% recycled cardboard to keep the laptop from shifting in the box. The keyboard sheet that sits between the keyboard and display, as well as the protective bag in which the laptop is packaged, are made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or PET.

Instead of putting the laptop power supply in a plastic bag, Acer simply slipped sleeved cardboard around it. Also, the piece of cardboard used to separate the power supply from the laptop in the box may be folded into a triangle and used as sling to support the rear of the computer for video chats. All of the packaging can be reused, which is critical.

Perfect in plastic.

When laptop manufacturers want to make it appear and feel premium, they typically use metal for the chassis. Acer managed to achieve a higher-end plastic appearance with the Vero. No paints or surface treatments were used to color the body. Instead, it looks more like gray recycled paper, with tiny flecks of bright yellow pigment giving it a raw-materials feel. The chassis is also strong and rigid, which Acer claims is reinforced internally by honeycomb columns.

Instead of stickers or additional plastic pieces for branding, Acer simply engraved its name on the lid and the model name along the front-right edge. However, it also carved "Intel Core" into the left corner of the palm rest, which I could not do without, especially since there are also Intel stickers on the bottom.

Still an Aspire?

Aside from the eco-friendly design and packaging, the Vero isn't too different from other Aspire models in terms of components, performance, and features. The configuration I tested is $900 max. It has an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, integrated graphics, and a 512GB solid-state drive. Pricing for the UK and Australia was not immediately available, but this amounts to approximately 660 and AU$1,235.

Later this month, a $700 version of the Core i5 will be released, with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage. However, like with many of Acer's previous Aspire laptops, you can easily uncinch and open the bottom of the laptop to increase your storage and add another stick of memory. You'd also be able to swap out the battery later on.

From the get-go, Windows 11 will be available for Windows users.

Acer is partnering with Microsoft to ensure that the majority of its current laptops, as well as those announced in the last three years, are eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11. The Aspire Vero ships with Windows 11 ready to use out of the box. But, without a touchscreen on this model, you'll miss out on some of the new features.

Read more: Windows 11 review: Familiar, but fresh.

Overall, the experience is fantastic, with no lag or slowdowns to speak of. Things like the new Start menu, using virtual desktops and Snap Groups & Snap Layouts for multitasking and launching the newly created widgets panel will all work well.

Performance in general is good value for money, too. The Aspire models are designed for everyday use with a focus on productivity tasks -- email, word processing, creating presentations, web browsing, etc. -- and entertainment. It can handle basic photo and video editing, as well as some casual gaming, but not much more. Plus, the display isn't ideal for color-critical work. Even with the matte finish, the display brightness is 267 nits, which isn't bright enough to use outdoors in bright conditions. The color gamut is 65% sRGB, 48% AdobeRBG, and 45% NTSC.

Again, it won't let you down for everyday work, school, and entertainment. On the other hand, battery life is a bit of stumbling block as it only lasts 5 hours, 51 minutes on our streaming video test with display brightness and audio set to 50%. Acer does offer a VeroSense app that allows you to quickly adjust performance and cooling to improve the laptop's speed or battery life. (You'll also find similar applications on other Intel Core laptops of the 11th generation.) However, even after Acer's own tests, you won't be able to reach the eight-hour mark with the Vero.

The Vero also doesn't support charging via its one USB-C port, which is a little odd to me, especially for tvs with an environmental message. Instead, Acer used a 65-watt power adapter with 'barrel' connector. Had Acer used a USB-C charger, you'd be able to charge other devices as well as use other USB C adapters to power the Vero.

Windows 11 is a pretty eco-friendly addition to Windows 11.

Overall, I like the Acer Aspire Vero. Acer has managed to make a plastic laptop look like he's buying upscale equipment, and it has incredibly strong feel to it as well. The battery life isn't spectacular, but this is also a 4-pound, 15.6-inch laptop, so we're not talking about something designed to be travel-friendly.

The Vero performs well for the price, and I like that you can upgrade it and/or repair it yourself, as opposed to having to buy other Aspire laptops. You get a good amount of ports, so the Vero can be essentially satcheln as compared to XP without the need for an additional hub or dock (although there's no microSD or SD card reader). And if it can help reduce the amount of plastic and cardboard that end up in landfills, that's great.

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