Although not as upgradeable as some competing PCs, the Aspire Vero is powerful and has excellent battery life. Its use of post-consumer recycled plastics helps it stand out in a competitive field of 2022 laptops.
We’ve all heard the slogan: recycle, reuse, reduce. While you probably know what this might mean for everyday items like cans, how would it apply to a laptop? That’s what Acer is exploring with its Aspire Vero line of computers.
The Acer Aspire Vero 14 is a laptop that is made from a number of materials, many of them recycled, most importantly, post-consumer recycled. From the unboxing experience to the laptop itself, this is a machine made with the environment in mind. But what will you sacrifice for the bragging rights of lugging around a laptop made from junk? Let’s find out.
Acer Aspire Vero specifications and features
Our review unit packs an Intel Core i7-1225U, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe PCIe SSD storage. For more details, check the clustered list below:
The Acer Aspire Vero has a design that is unlike most other laptops. Embracing its plasticity, the Vero is completely covered in textured plastic with yellow and gray spots embedded. The plastic is slightly textured with a slightly raised dot pattern. Acer says these components are made from 30% post-consumer recycled materials. The yellow in the gray chassis is echoed in a number of distinctive touches, from the yellow rubber feet on the bottom of the laptop to the yellow coloring on the upside-down R and E keys, symbolizing the importance of that old chestnut “reduce, reuse, recycle .”
Instead of stickers, the Aspire Vero mostly emblazons its intentions into the plastic, from the Acer logos to the Intel Evo stamp of approval to the Post-Consumer Recycled logo. No paint is used on the Aspire Vero, eliminating a source of volatile organic compounds from the manufacturing process.
All in all, even if I didn’t know this was made from recycled plastic, the Aspire Vero is attractive, period. Admittedly, this isn’t the thinnest, sleekest, or lightest laptop around, but its extra weight helps it stand out. A lot of plastic laptops feel cheap, but the Aspire Vero bucks the trend by using the material in a way that’s more sustainable, nice and looks good to boot.
If you need ports, the Aspire Vero doesn’t skimp. At this price, we were hoping to find Thunderbolt 4 and we found that and more. In this 14-inch version, there are 2 USB-A ports, both with USB 3 speeds, a headphone jack and a full-size HDMI port. If you have a compatible charger, there’s also a trailing DC-in-barrel plug, although the version of the Vero we tested came with a 65-watt USB-C PD charger in the box.
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in wireless, the Aspire Vero features the newer, faster Wi-Fi 6E along with Bluetooth 5.2. Do you need a cable connection? The larger 15-inch Aspire Vero has a gigabit Ethernet port as standard. Otherwise, the 14-incher can easily connect to a Thunderbolt hub with a wired ethernet or stand-alone USB adapter and still have ports to spare.
Keyboard and trackpad
Given the plastic nature of the Aspire Vero, you might think the keyboard is a cheap, chintzy affair. Fortunately, you get a nice set of keys on this machine, backlit by default (with two levels of brightness) and a shallow but responsive amount of travel on each button. If you use the delete key a lot, you may need to retrain your brain not to hit the power button—it’s right above the backspace where delete usually is on many other keyboard layouts. Following the recycled theme, the keycaps on the Aspire Vero are made with 50% post-consumer recycled plastic.
The touchpad, likewise, is recycled from a plastic that Acer calls OceanGlass. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds like unlike the rest of the machine, this isn’t aftermarket material. Anyway, the plastic touchpad feels almost like glass, giving a very polished and smooth surface that works great for pointing and gestures. Embedded in the touchpad is a small, rectangular fingerprint sensor that makes secure logins quick and stress-free.
Screen, speakers and webcam
Although the Aspire Vero takes liberties with its eco-inspired design and recycled materials, the display panel in this laptop is a fairly ordinary 1080P HD IPS display. It gets plenty bright, with peak brightness around 300 nits. The contrast looked great and colors were vibrant without looking oversaturated. For everyday use, I had no complaints about this display. The only thing I would change is the aspect ratio – its 16×9 widescreen shape is fine for watching shows, but the extra vertical space of a 16×10 screen is my preference for productivity.
The webcam is a pretty decent unit, coming in at 1080p resolution. I looked pretty good except in a very backlit scene in a cafe. The noise is kept under control quite nicely and even in that backlit case, my face never looked too smooth or blotchy. Noise canceling dual microphones helped keep some of the background noise at bay and my voice sounded pretty clear even with other ambient sounds around.
In recent years, portable speakers have become impressive. That said, Acer didn’t seem to put much effort into the Aspire Vero’s sound system. The stereo speakers are weak and, perhaps worst of all, shoot down from the bottom of the computer. That might not be a bad thing if you’re using it on a desk or kitchen counter, but on a lap or any kind of softer surface, the speakers are muted to be almost indistinguishable.
I can appreciate what Acer was going for when it included its VeroSense software with this laptop. The intention there is neat, because this program allows you to track the electricity usage of your Aspire Vero, change the power profile and limit the battery charge by 80% if you will use it often at a desk (this helps to extend the battery life. health extremely). That said, Windows 11 Home includes some pretty helpful and nice-looking graphics in its Settings app, which you can also use to gauge power usage while turning off settings to save battery life.
Unfortunately, there is an ugly side to the software that comes preloaded on the Aspire Vero and that is the presence of Norton and ExpressVPN. Both apps will bug you to sign up for their paid services, making pop-ups a nuisance when using the laptop. Dropbox even tried to give me a special offer on storage, unprompted. At times, this stopped some of my tests.
I had similar problems with the cheaper Acer Aspire 5, so I’m not surprised. Like that machine, the Aspire Vero also loads your Start menu with random junk you’ll probably never use, including League of Legends link for the training website, Forge of Empires, and a dummy program that tells you Intel’s Unison is coming soon (how exciting!). Aside from the standard Windows 11 junk, this makes the Aspire Vero feel like someone logged in before you and installed a bunch of apps you didn’t want. Not the ideal start to life with a new laptop.
With its Intel Core i7-1255U, this otherwise modest Acer Aspire Vero 14 AV14-51-73LM is a bit faster than you might think. Although it has only two performance cores, the power shown here is amazing for everyday tasks. One of the only downsides of this laptop could be its soldered RAM, leaving no room for future memory upgrades that could help the system feel more vibrant in the long run.
We use the PCMark 10 benchmark to get an overall picture of a laptop’s performance. The i7-1255U may not have many of the strong performance cores that Intel mixes with efficient cores, but it still held its own with others in its class. The Acer Aspire Vero was only slightly slower than the more powerful Lenovo Yoga 9i, which has a better Intel chip inside.
In another performance test, we use Cinebench R15 to understand how well all the cores of a laptop work together to render a 3D model. The Acer Aspire Vero held up well against the competition, giving us the performance we’d expect from this Intel chip with a U at the end – not too powerful, but not slow either. As it stands, Intel’s chips are still outperformed by the latest AMD Ryzen mobile processors because those chips have more than the powerful type of core, as we see with the HP Pavilion Aero in this test.
So, you like to play games, huh? Well, don’t expect amazing results from the Acer Aspire Vero. It has an advantage over many recent Intel chips in that instead of 80 execution units on the Xe integrated graphics chip, it comes with 96. We’d say you can comfortably play e-sports titles like Rocket League on this laptop and especially if you like retro games or indie games, you will find it quite efficient as shown in the intense 3DMark Time Spy benchmark chart.
In our Handbrake rendering test, the extra Intel i7-1255U graphics cores come in handy, helping the Aspire Vero transcode a large HD video into one suitable for use on a tablet. In this test, we can see this laptop punching above its weight thanks to Intel’s QuickSync video technology and would say that it is quite efficient for some light video editing tasks.
When you look at competing portable laptops, it’s clear that the Acer Aspire Vero’s body chassis isn’t just made from recycled plastic, it also has some extra space for a bigger battery. Slimmer laptops with a bezel simply can’t fit a lot of stuff inside, so Acer was able to stick in a hefty 56 watt-hour battery inside. That let the Aspire Vero sail past the 10-hour mark in our video loop test, putting it in good company with other modern laptops. If you often use your laptop away from your desk, check out the Aspire Vero.
While Acer could have gone for the recycled materials and great design of the Aspire Vero, we were surprised to find it to be a very competent laptop. Between its decently lively Intel chip, great battery life and plentiful ports, there’s plenty to love besides its eco-conscious design. Once you uninstall Norton and the other annoying bloatware, you’ll have a wonderful little computer.
That said, the things Acer is doing with the Vero series don’t necessarily need to be called out – they should be a baseline for the industry. We’d love to see the post-consumer recycled materials and eco-friendly thinking used here throughout the Acer lineup and beyond. When combined with an upgradeable, super-repairable approach like Framework’s, there could be a significant reduction in waste in laptops that could keep a lot of useful material out of the landfill.