Ahead of this year's tech mega-show, CES 2024, I was able to try one of Acer's new laptops that offers a very special feature indeed: the Acer Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition features a stereoscopic display, meaning it's possible to see 3D imagery in real-time without any additional glasses required.
Sure, the Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition is not going to fall onto many people's best laptops shopping list, but then this isn't a laptop for most people, it's one designed for specific designers and creators working with computer-generated models. Perhaps you're a videogames character designer or engineer, or working in model animation.
I've seen the SpatialLabs technology working in earlier ConceptD (an Acer range that's now dead and done in the UK), but also in specific monitors where it's also impressive. All are equally mesmerising, but what makes the Aspire model more interesting is that, well, it's an Aspire – so not a super-high-end laptop that'll cost you an arm and a leg.
When the Aspire 3D goes on sale in February it'll be priced from $1,399 (it's a lot more in Europe for some reason, at €1,999 from a later March launch date; there's no UK pricing at the time of writing) which is very reasonable for a laptop that can deliver a very specific and useful feature to a niche audience.
It's the kind of feature that you have to see to really believe, especially as stereoscopic displays have, in the past at least, not lived up to the hype. While staring at this Acer screen, with its 3D mode activated and within compatible applications of course, objects genuinely appeared to float right before my eyes. It's as if they're popping right out of the screen, giving a real believable depth.
Behind the scenes there's ample specification to ensure this is plausible: an Intel Core i7 (13620H) processor, alongside Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 with 32GB RAM, can deliver those three-dimensional visuals nicely. It'll sweat rather a lot in so doing, though, as this laptop kicks out plenty of heat and a fair whack of fan noise too.
Still, if you're in a specific job where you need to be on the go and finishing up a design that a display such as this will really help with, this sensibly priced and eye-popping laptop has been one of the more standout I've seen. Specialist, niche, whatever you want to call it – sometimes tech is just so perplexingly brilliant that it has to be seen to be believed (not that the images on this page can relay the sensation). This Acer is one such product.