Acer is bringing its glasses-free 3D screen to a more affordable laptop

Despite the pictures, I solemnly swear that, in person, that astronaut on the new Acer Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition was reaching their arms out to me. I’ve rolled my eyes at 3D displays before, but this time, it looked so realistic that I poked the astronaut’s tummy like it was the Pillsbury Doughboy. I wasn’t wearing glasses, and the whole thing was equal parts weird and cool. That’s exactly the sort of thing you expect to see at CES 2024 on some far-out, high-end concept tech, but this 3D laptop is coming out next month for around the same price as a 15-inch M2 MacBook Air.

To be fair, $1,399 for a laptop isn’t nothing — especially when you consider that’s the starting price. However, it’s pretty dang affordable as far as Acer’s SpatialLabs devices go. Acer introduced its SpatialLabs 3D tech a while back on a ConceptD laptop for creators and then later to the Predator Helios 300. Those laptops are a whopping $3,500 and $4,000, respectively. This is the first time we’ve seen a SpatialLabs laptop in this price range, which opens up the platform to more artists, developers, and creatives.

Acer’s SpatialLabs stereoscopic 3D tech works by tracking the position of your eyes and head using two image sensors in the top bezels. Each eye sees separate, almost identical 2D images that trick your brain into seeing in 3D. The idea is that by lowering the price of entry, more users will be able to experiment with 3D entertainment and creative pursuits — for instance, realtors who might want to turn CAD files into a more digestible 3D model for prospective home buyers. It also supports Acer’s OpenXR platform as well as developer tools like the SpatialLabs Unity and Unreal Engine plug-ins.

The glasses-less 3D effect is much more impressive in person.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition has a 15.6-inch UHD panel and can be specced out with up to a Intel Core i7-13620H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 2TB of storage. For ports, it sports an HDMI 2.1 port, USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, ethernet port, headphone jack, and three USB 3.2 ports. It also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Microsoft Copilot.

It’s not going to outdo Acer’s other SpatialLabs laptops in terms of specs, but this is beefy for an Aspire laptop. I also didn’t see any notable lags in the 3D rendering. I could twirl my little astronaut friend around just fine.

That said, the Aspire 3D 15 I saw had the same limitations as previous SpatialLabs laptops. Mainly, only one person can view it at a time, and it’s foiled by really bright backlighting. Even so, it is neat to see Acer bring down the price.

How ’bout dem ports?
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

When you’re not viewing 3D images, the Aspire feels like an everyday laptop for casual users.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Acer also announced the $1,999 Predator SpatialLabs View 27 gaming monitor. I didn’t get to see this in my hands-on preview before CES 2024, but the 27-inch 4K Ultra HD display has a 160Hz refresh rate, 400 nits of brightness, and supports Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It’ll also have two 2.5W speakers for spatial audio. For ports, it’s got an HDMI 2.1 port, a regular display port, a USB Type-C port with display port support, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports.

Alongside its fancy 3D tech, Acer is launching three new Swift laptops: the Acer Swift Go 14, the Acer Swift Go 16, and the Acer Swift X 14. Both Swift Go laptops feature Intel Core Ultra processors, Intel Arc graphics, a 1440p webcam, and new AI features like Microsoft Copilot. The main differences are in the display. The 16-inch has a 3.2K OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate while the 14-inch has a 2.8K OLED display. The 14-inch also has the option of a trackpad with built-in media controls. I only got to see a demo version, but as soon as I launched a YouTube video, the media controls automatically lit up. Is it necessary? No, but it did add a little pizzazz. That said, it is “hidden” within the trackpad, so we’ll have to see if accidental presses become an issue.

The Acer Swift Go 14 has the option of a discreet media control trackpad. It automatically pops up when you play media.
Image: Acer

Meanwhile, the Swift X 14 is another lightweight laptop aimed at creators, with a 2.8K OLED display, Intel Core Ultra H-series processors, and support for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU.

The Acer Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition will be available in North America in February, while the Predator SpatialLabs View 27 will come later in Q2 2024. The Acer Swift Go 14 and 16 will be available in March for $749.99 and $799.99, respectively. The Acer Swift X 14 is available starting in February for $1,399.99.

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