Acer have been producing laptops for a long time. Since the advent of Windows 8, they have been a bit more adventurous, bringing to an already very saturated market some tablets, laptops, and what the industry is now calling 2-in-1s. The Acer Aspire Switch 11 is one of their latest offerings in the 2-in-1 range, which functions both as a tablet and as a laptop, though the “easy to take off and put up side down” keyboard-hinge mechanism means that this can be configured as tent and presentation mode as well. It is based on the Acer Aspire Switch 10, bringing you a precious extra inch of screen space.
A quick look at the specs:
- Windows 8.1
- Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-core 1.33 GHz
- 29.5 cm (11.6″) HD (1366 x 768)
- 2 GB
- 32 GB Flash Memory – MicroSD card slot
- WiFi and Bluetooth
- Removable Keyboard with touchpad
- MicroUSB OTG and microHDMI ports on the tablet. Normal sized USB 2.0 port on the keyboard attachment
- Built in webcam, microphone, speakers
- 8550Ah battery, lasts over 8 hours
- 298 x 205.4 x 25mm, 1.46kg
Look and feel
Acer seem to have taken a page out of Apple’s book when it comes to designing this, and it isn’t a bad move. It isn’t exactly like an Apple product though, but the silvery grey metallic finish on the inside, a brushed aluminium feel on the outside, and the soft black keys on the keyboard all remind me of the MacBook range.
It comes as two parts, the keyboard and the tablet.
The tablet itself has nothing but the brushed finished aluminium and the proud Acer logo on the back. The front features a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen, which promises a wide viewing angle, and good visibility in all light conditions. This is housed in quite a thick bezel all around the screen. The top has a web cam, while the bottom shows off the Acer logo again, as well as the speakers.
The right side houses the power port, the micro USB port, the micro HDMI port, and the micro SD card port. There is also a small pin hole for RESET, which is a good move.
The left side features the headset port, the Windows button, the Power button, and the volume rocker keys.
The top is flat, with nothing on it, while the bottom holds the slots for the hinges, and the port for the connection.
The whole connection/hinge thing is helped by magnets that hold the whole thing together when attached. Taking it apart is quite easy too, and so is turning it around and turning it into any configuration you may want.
Of course, the screen turns around whatever orientation you hold this in, much like any other tablet.
The keyboard itself is a standard UK keyboard, a full sized one, no NumPad. It features function keys as well as the various extra Fn keys you get with laptops these days. I have an Acer Aspire at work as well, and this is the exact same keyboard. That one is 17″, so Acer have done a good job on keeping the keys size constant between the two.
The keyboard also houses a USB port.
When it comes to the feel, it feels quite premium over all. However, it is quite heavy for a device of this size. At 1.46kg, it isn’t exactly the lightest device on the market, and the tablet takes the bulk of that weight, meaning it gets a bit ‘top heavy’. I do wonder how much lighter this could be if it wasn’t built out of metal, and just lighter/stronger plastic. I will leave that for the Acer team to figure out!
It comes with a 10 point touch screen. It is good, comes with a decent resolution for a Notebook, and while watching movies on it will not blow you away, it won’t disappoint you either.
What is good about this is the Zero Air Gap technology used by Acer, meaning you get a very good wide viewing angle. This makes it perfect to watch movies in bed, or to show presentations to your clients in a meeting.
Being Corning Gorilla Glass 3 gives you some peace of mind too, though I didn’t do any destructive testing.
The small speakers at the base of the tablet pack in bit of a punch, but they too, will not blow you away. Perfectly adequate to watch movies though.
While it is a bit heavy, it offers the perfect size to be carried around in both a small backpack or even a messenger bag. This meant that I carried it around with me to everything from press visits to meetings, just because I could. The weight does begin to become noticeable after a while though.
It comes with Windows 8.1 installed, which means this does everything a normal computer these days. Add to that the fact that you have a full sized keyboard, a touch pad, a USB port, and you have yourself a very decent package in the form of a notebook.
As far as speed goes, it takes seconds to boot up, and off you go. Since it only comes with 32GB of flash memory, do not expect to install major softwares on this, but it is perfectly good for the likes of browsing, email and using Microsoft Office, which qualifies most computer users in my mind.
No sluggishness or speed issues were noticed, and I had a copy of Open Office running as well as extremely heavy browsing, checking mails, etc going.
Add to this the fact that you only pay just north of £300 of this, and you are on to a winner.
Okay, it isn’t all good. Acer have packed in a lot of their own software on to this. While like all software it comes to help you, it is rather annoying, because of the small flash memory available. You can uninstall a lot of the items though, but of course, I always prefer it not to be there in the first place.
This isn’t something new, and this isn’t something only Acer is doing, so no major alarm bells there.
It promises over 8 hours of battery life, and it delivers. I hardly turned this thing off, or put it on charge. When you don’t use it, even if it is left on, the battery life stays, and when you do use it, it gives you 8 hours. Perfect for an intense day of work.
How did it fit into my life?
Ah, it fitted and it fitted very well. Over the last two weeks that I have been playing with this, it has become my main laptop. In fact, I have not used my own laptop during this while, and I am afraid of all the updates that will be thrown my way once I have sorted it out!
It is portable, a bit heavy, but it works and it works very well.
This is one of those ‘I will be sad when I give this back’ devices, and there are very few of those!
More information can be found at Acer’s website:
It retails for about £324, and can be bought from various online and high street shops. Details can be found on the link above.
Another model comes with a 60GB SSD, if the 32GB Flash memory is not enough for you.
If it isn’t clear already, I absolutely loved this device. It brings great portability at a very good price, and that ticks two major boxes for me.