LAS VEGAS: Acer is not a name you usually associate with high-end, hybrid devices, but the firm is looking to change that with the Aspire Switch 12 S, a convertible Windows 10 device that, at €1,200, is aimed at the same market as Microsoft's Surface Pro 4.
The company has kitted out the device with top-end features, including an optional 4K screen, an Intel Core M processor and an Intel 3D RealSense camera.
Acer has upped its game when it comes to design with the Aspire Switch 12 S. We typically associate the firm with cheap, plastic laptops, but its latest effort is constructed from aluminium, making it look stylish and feel solid. It's lightweight enough, and just 7.85mm thick.
The big talking point here, though, according to Acer at least, is the new Snap Hinge Gold magnetic connector that enables the Aspire Switch 12 S to transform between notebook, tablet, display and tent modes, similar to Lenovo's Yoga line-up.
This connector communicates with the tablet portion of the device at speeds of up to 6Gbps, but we were more impressed by how easily, and satisfyingly, the tablet and keyboard components attach and pull apart.
This keyboard add-on feels premium, too. The backlit keys, unlike those on Acer tablets of old, are satisfying to touch, and arguably make for speedier typing than those offered with the Surface Pro 4. We weren't quite so satisfied with the built-in trackpad, though, which suffered some lag during our time with the device.
The keyboard comes with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 ports, alongside microHDMI and microSD ports.
The Acer Aspire Switch 12 S is offered with an eye-popping 3840x2160 4K resolution 12.5in screen or a less impressive 1920x1080 Full HD. We got our hands on the higher-spec screen which, despite its overly reflective Gorilla Glass coating, is just as impressive in real life as on paper.
We tested the display indoors and out, and the screen coped well in both situations and proved a huge improvement on the Full HD screen on the Aspire Switch 12 before it, offering vibrant colours, sharp edges and great brightness levels. The display also offers support for Acer’s Active Stylus tech.
Performance and software
The Aspire Switch 12 S comes with an Intel Core M, or Skylake, processor. We've yet to put the device fully through its paces, but it was smooth and responsive overall during our brief hands-on.
The Aspire Switch 12 S runs Windows 10. Acer has added none of its own apps to the Windows-powered Jade Primo smartphone, but unfortunately hasn't taken a similar approach with its latest convertible. There aren't loads of custom apps, but services such as Acer Store and Acer Care Centre are unlikely to get a second look.
You can check out our Windows 10 review for our full thoughts on the operating system.
The Aspire Switch 12 S comes with an Intel RealSense camera on its rear, another tactic from Acer to ensure the device stands out in the crowded Windows 10 convertible market.
Unfortunately, we didn't have two hours to wait for a RealSense app to download and install onto the device, but Acer told us that the camera can scan objects and capture images that can be used to create 3D models, for example.
We didn't have high hopes for the Aspire Switch 12 S given Acer's previous efforts in the hybrid space. We shouldn't have been so negative, however, as the convertible is a decent bit of kit and could rival the the Surface Pro 4 and Dell XPS 13.
It will certainly be interesting to see how it performs in a full review when we get the chance to test it out later in the year.
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