Tech review: The Acer Aspire Vero laptop wants to help save the planet
I’ve seen laptops advertised as fast or lightweight or small, and even for gaming. But how about a laptop that’s environmentally friendly?
The new Acer Aspire Vero (Model: AV15-51-75QQ) is advertised squarely at “environmentally conscious consumers with concerns about the negative impact consumer electronics can have on the planet.”
That’s a first for me.
The Vero is a very capable Windows 11 laptop with top-notch components inside a case made partially from recycled plastics and other materials.
The Vero wears its environmental friendliness as a badge of honor.
The outer case is made from a medium gray plastic flecked with spots of dark gray and yellow.
To be honest, the case looks more like it’s made of linoleum floor tiles, but it is a look I liked immediately. It stands out.
Scuffs and scratches will be hard to see on this laptop.
The palm rests are prominently etched with the words Post Consumer Recycled.
In fact, there are some interesting design choices on the Vero.
When I opened the box, which is made from 100% recycled materials, I noticed the R and E keys on the keyboard have the letters in yellow and the letters are printed backward (mirror images).
I didn’t know what to make of that until I read the reviewer’s guide.
R and E are important letters because of concepts like REview, REthink, REcycle and REduce as well as Easy to REpair.
Acer wants us to remember the RE words.
In this time of gadgets getting harder to repair, it is refreshing to see a company like Acer touting its products as easy to repair.
Apple is (rightfully) getting a lot of negative attention as its phones, tablets and computers are becoming harder, if not impossible, for third parties to repair.
Acer uses standard Phillips screws for easier disassembling for repairs and upgrades.
The Vero I reviewed has an Intel Core i7 (11th generation) with 16 gigabytes of RAM (eight gigabytes on the motherboard and eight gigabytes in a DIMM slot).
It has a 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. The graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe.
The Vero has a 512 GB NVMe solid state drive and a 720p HD webcam and Wi-Fi 6. It measures 14.31 x 9.39 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 3.97 pounds.
It ships with a 65-watt AC adapter that has one of those round plug connectors. This means it will be a bit more difficult to replace if you lose or break it.
I’d really hoped they’d use a USB-C port for charging the 48 watt-hour battery.
Speaking of ports, the Vero has one USB-C port 3.2 Gen 1 port and two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and one of those ports can charge your phone, even when the Vero is turned off. It also has one USB-A 2.0 port and an HDMI 2.0 port as well as ethernet and headphone jacks.
The touchpad supports multi-finger gestures (two-finger scrolling, pinch to adjust view size) as well as a fingerprint sensor to unlock the PC.
The 100-key keyboard is backlit and it has a small numeric keypad.
Acer is quite proud of the amount of recycled material in the Vero.
The plastic case is made from 30% post-consumer-recycled material (whole chassis and screen bezel).
The plastic material on the keycaps (the actual keys in the keyboard) is made from 50% post-consumer-recycled material.
The LCD panel is over 99% recyclable, and the box and all internal padding and packaging are 100% recyclable. The box is made from 85% recycled paper and soy ink.
The Vero is EPEAT Silver-certified, which means the laptop “meets a significant list of environmental and socially responsible criteria, including substance management, materials selection, product longevity, energy consumption, packaging, carbon footprint and corporate environmental performance and social responsibility.”
The Vero has an app called VeroSense that changes the laptop’s settings to give users the option to select a usage mode optimized for energy efficiency and battery life.
There are four modes to choose from, including:
•Performance mode, optimized for best overall performance.
•Balanced mode, a nice balance of energy saving and performance.
•Eco mode, which reduces system performance to improve efficiency and battery life.
•Eco+ mode, which offers extreme battery savings with critical functions disabled.
Eco+ mode disables external USB charging, slows down processor and fan speed and dims the display. It is only available on battery power.
Pricing and availability
The Vero model I tested is available now from Acer or Amazon for $899.99.
Another model with an Intel Core i5 and eight gigabytes of RAM and a 256 GB solid state drive will be available later this month at a price of $699.99.
The Vero is a comfortable laptop to use.
The case is slightly rough. There is a bit of texture in the plastic, and it feels solid when you carry it around.
It has all the ports I’d need to get my work done without having to buy any dongles or adapters.
The Intel Core i7 is very responsive and 16 gigabytes of RAM is plenty to keep things running fast.
I continue to be a bit thrown off by the keyboard. Because of the numeric keypad, the keyboard and trackpad are located a bit left of center, which isn’t a big problem, but when I start typing, about half the time I put my fingers on the wrong keys, which results in typing gibberish.
There are raised bumps on the F and J keys, but somehow I start typing before finding the home keys. I thought I’d get used to it, but after a week, I was still having to make sure my fingers were on the right keys before I started typing.
The Vero looks good and is made to take some abuse. I don’t mean you can drop it off a table, but I think it will hide scratches and nicks better than most.
I do like the VeroSense app and the option to save energy. I did try all the modes and I could live with Eco mode, but Eco+ might be a little over my limit for slowing things down for the sake of saving electricity.
I guess I’m not exactly the target market for the eco features because I found myself back in Performance mode for the rest of my testing.
I think most students would be happy with the i5 version of the Vero, and the i7 should keep everyone else happy.
Pros: Tough case, recycled materials that don’t feel cheap at all, good eco settings.
Cons: I wish it had USB-C charging, and the keyboard takes some getting used to.
Bottom line: It is not small or light, but it is plenty fast and good for the environment, if that is important to you. The price isn’t bad, either.