Acer Aspire Z3 Computer Review

Acer Aspire Z3 Computer Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Are you looking for a desktop system that will bring your family closer together? Featuring a 21-inch display, quad-core Intel processor, speakers blaring, and a full HD screen, Acer’s Aspire Z3 provides multimedia enjoyment for everyone. It comes with a battery too, so you won’t have to use it only for studying. Will the Z3 meet your family’s needs? Read on.


Acer aspier z3

The Acer Aspire Z3 features rounded corners on its black front and a white backside that is chunky and chunky. It looks pleasant, but not exciting. The screen and bezel measure 21.5 inches wide and an inch thick. The Z3’s integrated HD web cam sits in the center of the top, while a physical Windows button lies below the screen, between the speaker grille and the screen.

Z3 is mostly covered in white plastic on the rest of its body. It might take you some time to find the power button, which is a round, white depression on the top right corner that blends into the back of the device. A display options button, indicator lights, and a volume rocker are found on the Z3’s right side. Input channels can be selected from PC to HDMI and the brightness can be adjusted by pressing the display options button.

In comparison with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 20, the Z3’s rear seems more disjointed, with its portion of the back protruding rather sharply. A flexible hinge attaches a kickstand to the smaller rectangle. When folded up, the kickstand allows the device to be laid flat on top of a living room floor for use on the floor, or propped up almost perpendicularly for use on a desk.

Besides the SD card slot, the Z3 is also equipped with multiple ports on the rear: a headphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports, and an indicator light. With the Z3’s left side, you get USB 3.0, Ethernet, power, and an HDMI-in port for connecting a TV or gaming console.

Although the Z3 has been lauded as a somewhat portable device, moving it will require some muscle. As a result, the Z3 is quite large at 21.02 x 14.57 x 1.89 inches. Some all-in-ones are smaller, such as the Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20, the Sony VAIO Tap 20, and the Dell XPS 18. The Z3 does have the biggest screen of them all.

As with the Flex 20, the Z3 weighs the most of the lot at 14.6 pounds, followed by the Tap 20, which weighs 11.2 pounds, and the XPS 18, which weighs 5.2 pounds.


Acer z3

On the glossy, 21.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 HD IPS 10-point touch screen of the Z3, you can enjoy games and movies. The bright red and blue of Spider-Man’s costume stood out in our minds while we watched a trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” We were impressed by how sharply Andrew Garfield’s eyes looked on a close-up.

 In addition, the text and graphics on websites such as and looked crisp. In the Z3, three staff members were able to watch the trailer without experiencing distortion because the viewing angles were ample.

In terms of the display’s drawbacks, the Z3’s is its lack of brightness. With our light meter, the panel measured 223 lux, much lower than average (252 lux), Tap 20 (254 lux), Flex 20 (274 lux), and XPS 18 (307 lux).


With Dolby Home Theater enhancement, the Harman Kardon 2.5W speakers delivered a booming, but somewhat tinny sound. The first track we played was “Lola” by Mika, followed by “Paradise People” by Sam Sparro. There were plenty of high tones and no bass in the Z3, even in an open newsroom. Harmonic choruses in “Paradise People” became a cacophony of voices during “Lola”‘s percussion-led introduction.

You can tweak your speakers according to what you’re listening to with Dolby Digital Plus Profile Editor included with the Z3. In addition to the four preset profiles, you can also create two custom profiles. With songs such as “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen and “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Kesha, switching between modes did not influence audio quality significantly.

When the music is more nuanced, like the opening to “League of Legends,” the Movie and Game modes provide a clearer perception of the layers of sound.

When LAPTOP played a tone at maximum volume and measured it at 23 inches, the Z3 registered 88 dB, below the average desktop replacement (90 dB), but comparable with the IdeaCentre Flex 20 (88 dB).

Keyboard and Mouse

There is a wireless keyboard as well as a mouse included on the Z3 for enhanced wireless convenience. You can angle the thin and light plastic keyboard so that you can type more comfortably by flipping out the stands at the top and bottom. Although the keys were large, they provided a good amount of travel and feedback and didn’t flex at the end of a jab. We scored an average of 75 words per minute using the Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor, compared to our usual desktop speed of 77 words per minute without any mistakes.

There were some squishy arrow keys. In addition, we would like the Function row keys to be reversed so we can switch volume, brightness, and playback settings with one touch rather than pressing the Fn button.

Despite taking one AAA battery, the black optical mouse has curved, recessed edges that are comfortable for our thumb and ring finger. Using a USB dongle, it communicates wirelessly with the Z3. A scroll wheel sits between the two click-buttons, along with an on/off switch at the bottom, and the two buttons are slightly indented to accommodate your fingers.


Despite its integrated HD webcam’s performance is adequate for Web chats, the Z3’s camera did not impress us. Photos taken by the Z3 appeared dull and pixelated. The green eye shadow on our eyes appeared brown, and the gray turtleneck was fuzzy and lacked detail.

Acer offers its Crystal Eye Webcam software along with the standard Windows 8 camera app, which adds frames, filters, and effects. Creating goofy postcards for our friends was fun using the frames.


The Z3 is a thin and light laptop with a quad-core Intel Pentium J2850 processor and 4GB of RAM. It works well on any day-to-day task, but it’s not designed for heavy workloads. The setup allowed us to play a round of “League of Legends” in the background while running Internet Explorer, Camera, Store, and Video Player.

A synthetic test, however, did not yield as positive results for the $799 Z3. It scored 1,728 on PCMark 7, well behind the average desktop replacement score (4,714), the 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-powered XPS 18 (4,127 scores), and the 1.7GHz Intel Core i3-powered Flex 20 (2,330). Despite its higher price tag than the Acer, the Lenovo is cheaper than the Dell at $749.

After booting from the Z3’s hard drive, which has a capacity of 750 GB and a rotational speed of 5,400 rpm, it took 28 seconds. That’s slower than a typical desktop replacement (24 seconds), a Flex 20 (15 seconds), and an XPS 18.

A folder of multimedia files with a size of 4.97GB was duplicated in 3 minutes and 29 seconds, translating into a rate of 24 MBps. It is slower than an XPS 18 (33 MBps) or a Flex 20 (31.4 MBps).

Z3 significantly trailed its competitors in the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, matching 20,000 names and addresses in 17 minutes and 11 seconds. XPS 18 (5:58), Flex 20 (8:06), and the average desktop replacement (5:13) all did the task in significantly less time.


With its Intel HD Graphics GPU, the Z3 can handle casual gaming like Shark Dash with good graphics, but it falls short when it comes to more graphics-intensive games.

The Z3 scores 251 on 3DMark 11 compared to the XPS 18 (619) and Flex 20 (715).

Using Autodetect, the Z3 delivered 11 fps at its native 1920 x 1080 resolution (at setting on Autodetect, we achieved 16 fps). On Autodetect and 1366 x 768, the Flex 20 and XPS 18 delivered better frame rates of 27 fps and 31 fps, respectively.

Battery Life

Due to its lithium-ion six-cell onboard battery, you can move your Z3 from room to room. Playing unplugged won’t really take up a lot of time.

A continuous Web surfing test, which involves continuous use of the display at 40 percent brightness, showed that the Z3 lasted for two hours and fifteen minutes. Nevertheless, it’s significantly less than the times of the Flex 20 (3:27) and the XPS 18 (4:12), which Acer predicts will take 2.5 hours.

Software and Apps

The Aspire Z3 runs Windows 8 64-bit, and it comes with a small suite of preloaded apps such as Xbox, SkyDrive, People, Bing, and Skype.

Additionally, you get some third-party apps, including Amazon’s Kindle reader, Norton Online Backup, Nero BackItUp Essentials, McAfee Internet Security Suite (60-day trial), and WildTangent Games. Microsoft Office, a trial version of which comes with the Z3, is also included.

As well as its own Acer Power Button, Recovery Management, User’s Manual, AcerCloud, clearFi Media, clearFi Photo, Docs, Hotkey Utility, Identity Card and Live Updater, Acer also provides its own software.

Warranty and Configuration

Our unit has a 750GB hard drive and costs $799. With the $500GB configuration, which is $699 on Best Buy, you can get the configuration for $779.

Parts and labor are covered by a 1-year limited warranty with every Z3 from Acer. Find out how Acer fared in our Tech Support Showdown and Best & Worst Brands reports.

Pros Cons
HDMI-in port lets you connect a gaming console Below-average performance
Good wireless keyboard and mouse Dimmer screen than competitors
Full HD display with wide viewing angles


It offers a full HD display, loudspeakers, and a comfortable keyboard and mouse, so it’s a viable multimedia system for families who don’t want to spend too much for a touch-based computer. Although the Z3 doesn’t offer a very long battery life, the fact that you can use it without an outlet is a pleasant feature. In addition to the lack of a beefy CPU and a poor screen, we wish Acer had included a brighter display.

With a longer battery and a captivating Aura interface, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20 offers better performance for the same price. In contrast to the Z3, the Flex’s screen only has 1600 x 900 resolution, but its voice commands are surprisingly useful. We recommend the Z3 if you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one that’s family-friendly.