Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending an Acer live blogging event where I was able to try out several new devices of theirs to carry out some challenges set by Acer. Unfortunately due to some WiFi issues there was not that much live blogging done on my behalf, but I still managed to get a pretty good impression of what their new products are like.
First up is the Acer Switch 10. This is a low cost Windows 8.1 2-in-1 hybrid device with a 10.1″ IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display with multi touch support.
It is powered by a Intel Atom Z3745 1.33 GHz and has 2GB of ram and a 32GB SSD. Connectivity wise you have 802.11a/b/g/n (Miracast enabled), 1 USB 2.0 on keyboard, 1 Micro USB 2.0 on tablet, and Micro HDMI.
The tablet itself is an extremely light 0.58 kg or 1.1 kg with the keyboard dock.
It is currently available for £294 on Amazon which puts it in the same price range as Windows RT tablets, or Android tablets which is a massive selling point in my opinion. The obvious advantage here is that you have access to much more powerful apps compared to an Android or RT based system, so if you work from a tablet a lot this could make an excellent alternative.
As you might imagine, being priced at this level there are some compromises compared to more expensive hybrids. The overall build quality of the device feels a bit plasticy and cheap, but it is not too bad. During my time with it I managed to drop it off a table with no harm whatsoever. The screen uses Gorilla glass 3 which should help avoid cracking your screen too easily.
Unlike Atom tablets of yesteryear the Z3745 is based on Intel Bay Trail which provides reasonably high performance, with power consumption that's finally approaching ARM-like levels. During my time with the device I found it performed perfectly satisfactory for day to day use. There was never any real slow down browsing the web. I didn't really get any chance to try out media playback but it should be able to handle most videos, but I doubt you will be doing any gaming on it.
The hybrid mechanism works extremely well and it feels sturdy when you clip in the keyboard, and it works straight away without any glitches. For its size the keyboard is extremely usable. You may not enjoy working a full day on it, but doing a few hours here and there is perfectly fine.
In terms of storage you may be disappointed, there is only 10GB free out-of-the-box, but this is easily upgradable with the microSDXC slot.
I did not get chance to test the battery life properly but other websites such as PC Advisor have reported over 6 hours of looped video playback which should mean you can easily get a full days worth of use out of the Switch 10.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with the Acer Switch 10, it is extremely cheap and the new Bay Trail Atoms perform admirably. This is probably not going to be the best choice for your main laptop, if you are a heavy user. However for me this is perfect for commuting and evening use when I am messing around with my laptop which watching TV.
You can buy the Switch 10 from Amazon today for £294