Acer Aspire Switch 10 Hybrid Review

Introduction and Specifications

When Microsoft first released Windows 8, the company hoped that hardware manufacturers would get creative with form factors and customers would be enticed by the intriguing new PC designs. One of the clear leaders to emerge since Windows 8's launch is the Lenovo Yoga series of laptops, which fold in half to mimic tablets or can be used in tent and stand modes. A similar approach that has also seen some success are 2-in-1s that essentially split in half, so you can use the display as a tablet without dragging around the weight of the keyboard. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is one of these 2-in-1 detachable systems.

The selling point for these tiny, $450-and-under types is versatility: they’re light in your hand, they take up little room in your bag, and they can contort into whatever shape you need to when you’re sitting in a cramped airplane seat, taking notes at meeting, or in some other situation where the typical laptop mode just won’t do. Of course, performance and build quality is also important, but at this price point and size, you should expect some trade-offs. There are a lot of competing needs here, compared to roomier, more expensive systems.

Acer Aspire Switch 10
Specifications & Features
OS:  Windows 8.1 32-bit
 Processor:  Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-Core 1.33GHz Bay Trail
 Memory:  2GB DDR3
 Storage:  32GB SSD
 Display:  10.1-inch LED-backlit, IPS Touch Display 1366 x 768
 Camera:  Front Camera (For Video Chatting)
 Ports:  On Tablet: Micro HDMI, Micro USB 2.0, Micro SD
On Keyboard Dock: USB 2.0
 Connectivity:  Acer Nplify 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
 Battery:  Integrated 2-Cell Li-Polymer Battery with 18W AC Adapter
 Size:  10.3 x 7 x 0.4 inches
 Weight:  2.58 pounds
 Software: Acer abDocs, abFiles, abMedia, abPhoto, Acer Portal, Acer Next Issue magazinesAllTheCooksRecipes, Evertnote Touch, iStoryTimeLibrary, Microsoft Office Trial, Microsoft OneDrive, Netflix, Skype, Spotify, Zinio Reader
 Warranty:  One-Year Limited Warranty
 Price:  $379.99 - Find The Acer Switch 10 at Amazon

The Acer Aspire Switch 10 runs Windows 8.1 on an Intel Atom Z3745 processor. The quad-core Bay Trail CPU runs at 1.33GHz / 1.86GHz Turbo and has integrated graphics. The processor is aimed at tablets (we’ve seen it in the Acer Iconia Tab 8, Dell Venue 8, and Asus MeMo Pad 7 recently) and it makes sense for the Aspire Switch 10, too. As you’ll see when we dig into the way the Switch 10 operates, it’s more of a tablet with an attachable keyboard than a laptop with a detachable display.

As easy as it is to find free or cheap storage for your files, onboard storage still matters. Acer sent us the Aspire Switch 10 SW5-011-18R3, which has a 32GB SSD. That’s tolerable (though not ideal) in a tablet, but in a system that you might use as a laptop, 32GB is paltry. Acer offers other models of the Switch 10 that have a 64GB SSD, which is a good step in the right direction.

The Aspire Switch 10 has an LED-backlit touch display that uses in-plane switching (IPS) tech, making it easy to view from most angles. As the name of the device suggests, it has a 10.1-inch display, which makes for a good-sized tablet when detached. The 1366 x 768 resolution makes for HD viewing and a camera at the top provides video chat capabilities. This is where one of those trade-offs appears, though: the Aspire Switch 10 doesn’t have a camera at the back.

All of the Aspire Switch 10’s important components are located in the display, which becomes the tablet when you detach the keyboard. The display has micro HDMI and micro USB 2.0 ports (one of each), as well as a micro SD card reader. The mic/headphone jack is on the display too, and so are the speakers and the integrated microphone. The keyboard has a USB 2.0 port, but that’s it – even the power button is on the display side of the device.

The Aspire Switch 10 weighs just 2.58 pounds and is less than half an inch thick – and that’s with the keyboard. Part of the appeal of these small convertibles is that they’re usually inexpensive and that’s true of the model we tested, which goes for $379.99 on Acer’s site. There are models in the Switch 10 line, though, and the higher-end of these can run you more than $500.

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