Hybrid 2-in-1 laptops are one of my favourite things. It’s not that I don’t love my old traditional laptop but there’s something very appealing about the fact that you can have a notebook computer that’s light and portable that also turns into a tablet just by swivelling the screen around. I was given the chance to try the Acer Switch 5. It was a review sample and not mine to keep but during the two weeks I’ve been getting to grips with it, I was able to form an opinion of what it would be like to own.
In the box there’s an AC adaptor, the tablet and keyboard dock, which easily separate and then pair together, a 2-cell 4870 mAh Li-Polymer battery and a stylus. Since this was a sample that had previously been used, it was ready to use right away so I couldn’t comment on how easy it was to initially set up.
My first impression of the Acer Switch 5 was that it was much lighter than I expected. It weighs only 0.9kg as a tablet or 1.27kg with the keyboard dock. The last 2-in-1 laptop I reviewed felt much heavier and bulkier whereas the Acer Switch 5 felt compact and sleek. The bottom of the keyboard appears to have an anti-slip coating on it. When you open it as a computer, there’s a small adjustable stand that can be pulled out and used to hold the screen in place. There’s a loop on the left-hand side of the keyboard which holds the stylus when you’re not using it. It folds easily so that the keyboard lies behind the screen and it can then be used as a tablet. All the power controls and ports are on the sides of the screen so it functions completely on its own as a tablet without the keyboard. There’s a headphone port, a USB 3.0 port and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port. There’s also a handy microSD and microSDXC card reader. It’s not stiff at all and it’s not difficult to switch from one way of using to another.
One thing that’s missing is visible buttons on the touch-pad. This is subjective though and I still like to have left and right buttons to click. It’s something that won’t bother a lot of people and you can still left/right click by depressing the touch-pad firmly at the bottom left or right hand corners. Interestingly, it was only after using this computer for about a week that I noticed something else was missing. It’s silent. There’s no noise at all from this computer.
The 12″ screen provides a QHD (2160 x 1440) resolution which offers a decent quality of display that I found clear and sharp. It is adequate for everyday use that doesn’t involve the need for huge amounts of memory or impressive graphics. It comes with Windows 10 installed, 8GB memory as standard and 256 GB SSD of storage.
There’s a 1600 x 1200 webcam and digital microphone built in, which I got the chance to try out on a Skype call. There were no issues with audio but the person I was calling complained that the image she was seeing of me wasn’t great. When I switched to my normal laptop, it seemed fine. I’m not sure if this was a camera issue or connection issue but it’s worth noting, especially since my usual laptop didn’t have any connection issues that affected image quality. The front camera is 1MP and the rear is 2MP. Photos I took with the rear camera to test it out weren’t fabulous either. It’s unlikely I would use this for photography, but a better quality camera would be nice.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity and 802.11ac wireless LAN. It was pretty easy to connect to my speaker using Bluetooth and I found no problems.
This is an appealing device and if I had enough disposable income, I would buy it. It’s around double the price of my own laptop and is currently priced at £899.99. It’s worth keeping an eye out for cheaper deals. On Cyber Monday the price dropped substantially to £764.99 on some sites and in the coming weeks as the January sales approach, there could be similar deals.
Have you tried the Acer Switch 5 or do you own it? Let us know your thoughts on it!