With the South African notebook market particularly price orientated, it’s wonderful to see Acer going off the beaten path and launching its green-focussed Vero line locally. Over the past few years, Acer has been steering towards a sustainable approach to technology through its Earthion initiative, with the Acer Aspire Vero AV15 notebook a strong part of this drive.
A look like no other
Most noticeable is the Vero’s appearance. Gone is the sleek back or silver metal design, instead replaced with a unique ‘Volcano Grey’ chassis. According to Acer, this consists of 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 21% during production. The PCR shows clearly in the matte surface, with tiny coloured specs making for a unique and likeable appearance, specifically with the hint of yellow that forms part of the overall design aesthetic.
The matte surface looks like no other notebook, with “Post Consumer Recycled” and “Intel Core” embossed below the keyboard, “Aspire Vero” on the side, and Acer discreetly stamped on the top centre of the notebook cover.
I can imagine not everyone will like this look, which reminds a lot of the recycled rubber found on Nike’s Space Hippie sneakers, basically because it involves the same process of recycling. To me it’s an immediate stand-out and I love it.
Not just green
A quick rundown of the specs shows that even though the Vero AV15 is ‘green’ it doesn’t skimp on power. The unit offers an 11th gen Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor running at 2.90 GHz, with 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM. The combo worked well and for most office tasks, including using a bit of GIMP, PowerPoint, Word, Chrome, and Excel. The Vero performed without a struggle, and it’s ready within a few seconds thanks to the 512 GB SSD.
Worth noting is the inclusion of Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics, which provides an improved gaming experience, although still far from notebooks with dedicated graphic cards. (I did not play any games myself.)
It’s also good to know that the unit comes with the latest Windows OS installed, with Windows 11 Home managing this review machine. Not all niggles with Windows 11 have been sorted out just yet, but it will be familiar for Windows 10 users with a few decent improvements along the way.
There’s very little to complain about the 15.6" IPS LCD display (99% recyclable), with its Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, and so too about the highly usable backlit keyboard that includes the numpad to the right. A nice little touch on the keyboard is the R and E symbols, sitting next to each other on the keyboard, being reversed and in yellow. It’s a reminder of the ‘RE’ in Recyclable, Repurposed and Recycled, a motto for Acer in this green line. Talking of which, the keycaps are made from 50% PCR plastic. Importantly, the company also claims that the Vero line has been designed “to be easier to dissemble, upgrade, and repair,” which is commendable with the “right to repair” struggle being very real.
As far as ports are concerned, there are USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 1), 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and 1x USB 2.0 one. If you still rely on a network port you’re in good company, while a 3.5mm jack and HDMI port round off the offerings.
Two things I missed on the Vero AV15, however, is an SD card slot to expand the storage space or for quick transfers from a camera, and a cover for the front facing camera on the front to help improve privacy. I used the Vero to watch a few movies during load shedding and the onboard speakers could, admittedly, go a bit louder.
Battery life will be a conundrum for those looking for all day power, clocking in at about five to six hours during balanced power mode, depending on how many programmes you’re running. I felt comfortable enough with performance to run the machine on the best battery life option to squeeze out a bit more.
Finally, to round off the green approach, the notebook’s packaging is completely recycled, using 85% recycled pulp and soy ink to manufacture. A nice little touch is the cardboard packaging that houses the power cord that can be folded into an elementary notebook stand.
Best of both
The 15.6” Acer Aspire Vero AV15 notebook was certainly a pleasant surprise. It shows that it’s possible to construct a notebook with sustainability in mind, while still providing a solid work experience. The PCR chassis immediately clocks the Vero AV15 as unique, complemented with subtle yellow tones throughout.
Yes, battery life could have been better but it’s one of the few complaints I have about the Vero AV15. If you are inclined towards a greener way of life, or even if you’re just looking for a great notebook, the Acer Aspire Vero AV15 is a top choice. At R16 800, the price is pretty much on par for what’s on offer, although some notebooks in this price class will double the RAM.