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Acer Aspire Switch 10 is a 2-in-1 hybrid device

Published on Jun 6, 2014 5:00 AM
 
Acer Aspire Switch 10

Love them or loathe them, Windows hybrids have become the most interesting devices in the PC market.

They may not be for everyone, but they do present creative solutions in merging laptop and tablet features into a single device.

Acer's new Aspire Switch 10 appears to be influenced by Lenovo's Yoga devices. It offers four similar usage modes - laptop, tablet, display and tent.

While the Yoga relies on a 360-degree hinge to switch from one mode to another, the Switch 10 uses powerful magnets to secure a tablet to a keyboard in different positions.

The magnets are so strong that you can hold the tablet aloft just by the keyboard end alone.

Starting in laptop mode, if you take the screen off, turn it around, then dock it in display mode, it puts the screen right in front of you.

If you turn it upside down, it resembles a tent. I can see the tent mode being useful if you have a narrow table, such as those on airplanes.

Unlike the 11-inch Lenovo Yoga, which is more like an ultrabook, the Switch 10 lets you divorce the tablet from the dock. So when it is used as a tablet, it weighs just 540g, with its smaller 10-inch display and aluminium chassis.

When weighed together with the dock, which contains a secondary 500GB hard drive to supplement the tablet's 64GB internal storage, the Switch 10 weighs about 1.1kg.

Because of the hard drive, Acer recommends you do not simply rip the tablet from the dock, but eject it properly via the Taskbar to ensure that you do not lose data.

A minor irritation is that the mouse cursor does not appear on the screen as soon as the tablet is docked.

Like many tablets, the 10.1-inch touchscreen uses in-plane switching technology. It is clear, with excellent viewing angles, as the panel is optically bonded to the outer glass layer. But the screen resolution is only 1,366 x 768 pixels. Those with sharp eyes will notice jagged edges on the text.

The keyboard feels springy and the keys are smaller than usual. It is frustrating that Windows 8 swipe gestures do not work on the touchpad.

Powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor (Bay Trail platform), the Switch 10 is responsive. It could probably do with more RAM than the basic 2GB, but unless you are a heavy user, this device should be fast enough.

Battery life is decent at 6hr 46min for the tablet alone. Attaching the keyboard dock will likely reduce this because of the integrated hard drive.

  • Taking ideas from its competitors, Acer’s new hybrid is a solid and affordable addition to the genre.


vinchang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on June 4, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $599
Processor: Intel Atom Z3745 (1.33GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
RAM: 2GB
Screen size: 10.1 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels
Connectivity: Dock - USB 2.0; Tablet - micro-USB, micro-HDMI, microSD card slot, headphone and microphone combo jack
Battery: 22 watt-hour

RATING

Features: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Performance: 3/5
Value for money: 5/5
Battery life: 4/5

Overall: 4/5