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The best Acer laptops to buy in 2021: Consumer, business, gaming, and more
Acer makes a lot of great laptops, but the depth of its product lineups can be confusing, if not overwhelming. Here, we’ve picked out the best Acer laptops for gaming, on-the-go-work, and for those on a budget.
The best Acer laptops; things to consider
When looking for a new laptop, there are a few things you should consider. First: what are you going to be using it for? If your usage is casual, mainly for web browsing and such, you won’t need to spend more than a couple hundred dollars to fit your needs. If you’re a creator on the go, however, you’d be best suited with a laptop with higher-end specifications, beefier cooling, and a decently sized screen to do your best work.
Keep your use case in mind: if you're an on-the-go worker, you won't need a hulking gaming machine.
You’ll also want to consider the type of screen in your machine for the best image quality. See our explainer of different display types for an in-depth look, but the sweet spot for most people is an IPS screen. These displays balance fantastic color accuracy with low cost so that even a $400 machine will have colors that pop.
Other considerations include thickness, form factor (standard, 2-in-1, etc.), operating system (Windows or ChromeOS), and, of course, cost. In our list of the best Acer laptops, we cover quite a few categories, so let’s take a look.
- Acer Nitro 5 — While this isn’t the most high-spec machine that Acer offers, the Nitro lineup always provides maximum performance for the cost.
- Acer Swift 3 thin & light — For those who rely on a machine that’s easily taken with you in a backpack, Acer has you covered with a stellar thin and light workhorse.
- Acer Travelmate P4 business laptop — Business users won’t want to sleep on this space machine. It has built-in security features like TPM 2.0 and is built to last with military-grade durability.
- Acer Swift X mobile workstation — This isn’t a gaming laptop, but I wouldn’t blame you for seeing it as one. No, this is a mobile creation machine with strong processing, dedicated graphics, and a 100% sRGB screen for colorwork.
- Acer Spin — Perfect for school or casual artists on the go, the Acer Spin laptop can turn into a tablet at will and features a stylus built into the machine for notes or drawing.
- Acer Aspire 5 — The Aspire lineup is the definition of bang-for-your-buck. This one has a Ryzen 3 processor and quick NVME storage that should pick up the slack of the 4GB of RAM in the machine.
- Acer Chromebook Spin — The Chromebook Spin has a little something for everyone. A tall, brilliant display for media consumption, a convertible form factor for versatility, and a great processor for ChromeOS that should keep you flowing through the system like water.
Best Acer gaming laptop: Acer Nitro 5
Acer’s Nitro lineup seems like a great starting point. These machines have historically offered bang-for-your-buck pricing, and this current generation model is no different.
This model features an 11th gen Core i5 processor and a GTX 1650, making it perfect for playing modern hits at 1080p medium-high settings. If 8GB RAM seems a bit slim for you, a variant with 16GB and twice as much SSD storage is available.
Another highlight of this machine is the high refresh rate screen. At 144hz, your games will be buttery smooth with the proper settings.
Not your speed? Hit up our list of the best gaming laptops.
Best Acer thin and light: Acer Swift 3
Maybe gaming isn’t for you, and that’s ok. Acer’s Swift lineup features some of the company’s best thin and light laptops.
This configuration features a Ryzen 7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a whopping 512GB of SSD storage. At under $700 at the time of writing, getting those specs at this price is pretty amazing.
Other specs include a fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi 6, a 2.65lb weight, and a package that measures just a little over a half-inch thin.
Complete your mobile setup: The best travel mice you can buy
Best Acer laptop for business: Acer Travelmate P4
Maybe you’re a bit more mobile than the average user, and you want something that can withstand a few dings here and there. Meet the Travelmate P4, with military standard durability in a sleek package. Acer claims that it can withstand splashes of water, drops, varying temperatures, and more.
This mid-range machine features an i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB RAM, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5. It also has TPM 2.0, which grants it easy compatibility with Windows 11.
Best Acer laptop for creators: Acer Swift X
While Acer could easily market the Swift X as a gaming laptop, it gears it more towards creators who need an on-the-go workhorse. This machine features the latest-gen Ryzen 7 processor, an RTX 3050ti, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage.
Not only are the hardware specs something to marvel at, but it all also fits into a package with a 14-inch screen. This machine is less than an inch thin, but you won’t have to worry about airflow while it sits on a table or desk due to the lifting hinge design.
Other specs include a 100% sRGB screen, a fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2.
Further reading: The best laptops for creative work
Best Acer 2-in-1: Acer Spin 3
The versatility of a 2-in-1 machine is hard to match, and Acer’s Spin lineup is one of the best. Though the 10th gen i5 processor sounds old, it will still power through your tasks like a knife through butter.
In addition to the excellent specs, Acer built a stylus into the right side of the computer. This simply adds to the versatility, enabling handwritten note-taking and drawing on the screen while it’s folded.
Other specs include 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.
Best budget Acer laptop: Acer Aspire 5
For you budget-minded buyers out there, the Aspire lineup has been a mainstay for budget Acer laptops.
While 4GB of RAM is admittedly a bit sparse, the Ryzen 3 processor and hyper-fast NVME storage should pick up the slack.
This cheap Acer laptop has Windows S mode on it, which is essentially Microsoft’s ChromeOS competitor. It will lock you out of downloading apps from anywhere that isn’t the inbuilt Microsoft store for “security,” as well as make a few performance-oriented optimizations to the system.
In my experience of selling budget laptops with this loaded into them, most people wanted to remove it. To do this, simply go to the settings app on the machine and search “s mode,” click “remove s mode,” and download the needed package from the Microsoft store. Keep in mind that this is irreversible.
Best Acer Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin
Lastly, the best Acer Chromebook is the Chromebook Spin 713. The i5 processor in this machine is far more than enough for ChromeOS, just like the 8GB of RAM, so you won’t run into any performance hiccups here.
The biggest hallmark is the tall, 2K resolution, 3:2 screen on this thing. It is a beautiful panel that enables more serious work with the extra real estate it offers.
Being a 2-in-1, it also handles video streaming exceptionally well. Coming in at less than $600, this machine is built to last while keeping costs relatively low.