We were finally able to get our hands on the “lowest tier” of the ConceptD series of content creator-friendly devices of Acer. Apart from being a very white laptop, the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) should deliver great performance, astonishing display qualities, and exquisite portability …in theory.
Under the bonnet, we found the controversial Intel Core i7-8705G that instead of the UHD 630 integrated solution, seen on most of the non-U laptop processors by the blue company, has an AMD RX Vega M GL with 4GB of HBM2 video memory. How about that?! As a matter of fact, this is only the second laptop that we tested with this CPU, with the first being the Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 – also a content creators-aimed notebook.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-conceptd-5-cn515-51/
Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) - Specs
All Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) configurations
What’s in the box?
Inside the all-recycled box we found a a 90W power adapter, some boring paper stuff and the laptop itself.
Design and construction
The first thing that sticks to your eyes when you see the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) is its matte white finish. Immediately one starts wondering how is it going to age, is it going to be a dust and dirt magnet, and is the material going to turn yellow after some time. Well, these questions are going to need at least a couple of months to figure out, as in the limited time we had with the device, it didn’t catch any dirt. As of the material of use – it is a magnesium-alloy, that helps the notebook achieve its 1.50 kg weight and the 16.9mm thickness.
If we have to be honest, the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) is not the strongest laptop out there. It has some noticeable flex to the body, as well as the lid. Which, by the way, happens to open with a single hand, if you can grip it with your fingernail perhaps. This is because the lid is flushed with the body.
As far as the keyboard is concerned, it lacks the NumberPad segment. On the other side, this ensures large keycaps, which have decent spacing. While its key travel is not the longest, there is some good feedback from the keys. Moreover, the touchpad seems fine and tracks very well on the 4K display. In addition to that, you can see the fingerprint reader of this laptop, which is located just beneath the “Right arrow” key.
On the bottom panel, you are going to find a fairly big ventilation grill, as well as two smaller ones for the speakers. Hot air is exhausted from the back of the machine, which is great, as it is not going to interfere with the user, whatsoever.
In terms of I/O, the device features a barrel style-plug for charging, an HDMI port, two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports, a Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port that supports DisplayPort over USB Type-C, and an Audio Jack. At the same time, on the right, you are going to see another USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port and an SD card reader. And while the latter is great for photographers, it is petty that the laptop doesn’t feature a Thunderbolt connection.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
Traditionally, the first thing you need to do in order to get inside this laptop is to remove the bottom plate. This happens by unscrewing the 11 Torx-headed screws and then carefully prying the panel up with a plastic tool.
Since this device embodies a weird Intel + AMD combination, there is a special design for the cooling system. It has two heat pipes that are transferring the heat from the chip to the heat spreaders, which are then blown at by two fans. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Sadly, what is not good is that you won’t be able to upgrade the RAM of this laptop – all of it is soldered. If we try looking at the bright side, however, there are two M.2 PCIe slots at your disposal.
Finally, the battery size is not what we would call big. It totals up at 48Wh, which is somewhere in the middle of where a budget 15-inch device would be.
Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) is equipped with a terrific UHD IPS panel. It bears a model number AUO B156ZAN03.1 (AUO31EB) and has a diagonal of 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 282 ppi, and a pitch of 0.09 х 0.09 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 30cm (12″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).
It has excellent viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
In addition to that, the laptop offers two presets – Native and Adobe RGB color spaces, as seen on the images below.
We measured a maximum brightness of 386 nits in the middle of the screen and 370 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is astonishing – 1440:1.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51)’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers not only 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, but it also extends to 100% of Adobe RGB and even in DCI-P3 territories.
While the Primary RGB colors in Adobe RGB mode are not fully matching the standard within the color space, as we saw in the Acer ConceptD 9. Nevertheless, the ColorChecker results with the default settings show that the colors are pretty accurate.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 29 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51)’s display is not PWM-adjusted at any brightness level, which makes it safe for longer periods of use, without harming your eyes in this aspect.
Blue light emissions
Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
This laptop’s display has a 4K resolution, super detailed image, high maximum brightness, comfortable viewing angles, and incredibly wide color coverage. Moreover, its backlight doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels, and the color accuracy with the Adobe RGB dedicated profile match the promised dE of under 2.0, which is great.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) configurations with 15.6″ UHD IPS AUO B156ZAN03.1 (AUO31EB).
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51)’s sound has good quality but lacks the punch in the lows and the overall volume. However, low, mid and high tones are clear of deviations.
You can find all of the drivers and utilities for this device here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8016?b=1
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Acer wasn’t particularly generous with the battery size of this notebook, as it totals at 48Wh.
During Web browsing, we got 5 hours and a half, while video playback drained the battery for 20 minutes shy of 5 hours.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
This device comes with the innovative Core i7-8505G that has four cores and eight threads. What is more impressive is that it is the first processor that embodies Intel CPU and an integrated AMD GPU.
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
This integrated AMD GPU is the Radeon RX Vega M GL or the so-called Vega 870 with 4GB of HBM2 memory.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|Far Cry 5||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|Average||39 fps||36 fps||34 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average||69 fps||56 fps||27 fps|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)||Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)|
|Average||55 fps||36 fps||33 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average||41 fps||37 fps||33 fps|
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Intel Core i7-8705G (65W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51)||2.76 GHz @ 95°C||2.70 GHz @ 95°C||2.57 GHz @ 95°C|
Clearly, the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) is aimed towards performance. While the efficiency of its cooling solution can be placed under doubts, as the processor was running at 95C for a great amount of time, we are happy that Acer has chosen to give it the performance it needs.
|AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)|
|Acer ConceptD 5 (CN515-51)||910 MHz @ 58°C||907 MHz @ 58°C|
On the bright side, the internal GPU was not breaking the sweat – at 58C under load.
As the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51) is the least expensive ConceptD laptop, it excels in the display department. In fact, it has one of the nicest panels found on a laptop. Well, if you are not a gamer of course. What is more important for content creators and Web designers is the color accuracy, and the overall ability to display color, which this laptop does at a great level – it covers 100% of sRGB and 100% of Adobe RGB. Additionally, we have found that the embedded Adobe RGB preset from Acer outputs the most accurate image with a dE below 2.0.
On the downside, there are a couple of things that are not the strongest points of the ConceptD 5 (CN515-51). First, its battery life is mediocre – at five hours and a half of Web browsing and nearly an hour less in video playback.
Then, there is the structural rigidity of the notebook. It flexes quite a lot when forced and bends dramatically when pressed below the keyboard. We understand that this is because of the nature of the magnesium material, but this is unacceptable for a $1500+ laptop.
Moreover, its RAM cannot be upgraded which really is a bummer, since most of these machines are going to be rendering videos or doing RAM intensive stuff. Well, on the bright side, you can stick two M.2 PCIe drives in it to get a great amount of super-fast storage.
Lastly, we should note that the laptop doesn’t come with a Thunderbolt connector, and while it looks honestly stunning, we are not sure if it will be the right laptop for you. Perhaps, you should go for the XPS 15, or something like the ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534. Although, you should really consider the display of this thing – it rocks.
- Astonishing white magnesium body
- Its display covers 100% of Adobe RGB and is pretty color accurate
- Super bright 4K IPS panel
- It doesn’te use PWM to adjust its brightness levels
- Dual M.2 PCIe SSD support
- There is some noticeable flex in the body
- No RAM upgrade is possible
- Lacks Thunderbolt connection
- Mediocre battery life
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-conceptd-5-cn515-51/