The device is due for release in May priced at $599, approximately £416, and will have the tough task of entering a competitive 2-in-1 market filled with hybrids trying to be everything to all men.
We had a chance to take an early look at the Switch Alpha 12 to see whether it can stand up against the competition.
The Switch Alpha 12 is chunkier than the MateBook or Surface Pro 4, but it still has a relatively slim design for a tablet that manages to squeeze in sixth-generation Intel Core processors. Measuring 292mm by 201mm, the tablet part of the hybrid is 9.5mm thick. Combined with the attachable keyboard that goes up to a still svelte 15.85mm.
It is light as well at 1.25kg but, like many tablets with a 12in display, users will be hard pressed to hold it in one hand for long.
The brushed aluminium chassis is pleasant to the touch, but it lacks the premium feel of the Surface Pro 4 or the MateBook.
The Switch Alpha 12 is also short on ports, offering only one USB 3.1, a headphone jack, microSD slot and a single USB Type-C port. An optional dock adds more connections, including extra USB slots, and an HDMI port.
The Switch Alpha 12 is a fairly standard hybrid on the outside, but Acer has included some smart engineering with the addition of fanless cooling.
Claiming to be a world first for hybrids, Acer’s LiquidLoop cooling, as the name suggests, uses liquid coolant to stop the internal components getting too hot.
This means no irritating whirr of fans, which is a rare example of adding something by taking another thing away.
The keyboard, which comes with optional backlighting, attaches magnetically to the tablet with a reassuringly firm snap. It offers little in the way of frills, and concentrates on function over form.
The full-sized keys are nicely spaced and offer 1.4mm of travel, which makes typing less of a chore compared with some hybrid keyboards we've tested in the past.
The trackpad is on the small side but offers responsive feedback and a satisfying click to the buttons. The keyboard also doubles as a screen cover to protect the display.
A U-shaped kickstand keeps the tablet upright when in laptop mode, and can be fully adjusted up to 165 degrees, useful for finding a comfortable angle.
Like rival hybrids, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 has a 12in display with a now standard resolution of 2160x1440. It lacks the sharpness of the Surface Pro 4, but text is clear and images are crisp.
Colours are natural but we felt they lacked a little in contrast and don’t ‘pop’ as much as they do on the MateBook, despite the display’s glossy finish.
And that’s another problem: the lack of a matte finish means it picks up a lot of reflections, which can get frustrating in bright environments.
Still, for a competitively priced hybrid, the screen is more than good enough for daily work use and viewing media.
The Switch Alpha 12 runs Windows 10 as standard. Used in tablet and desktop mode it offers a decent experience, perhaps lacking the functionality of Android or the slickness of iOS when used just as a tablet, but in desktop mode it makes for a solid workhorse device.
Acer has added a few tools on top of Windows 10 to make navigating the OS a neater experience, but has avoided adding a load of redundant software.
Performance and battery life
We will have to wait to get a Swift Alpha 12 in for review to put its performance and battery life properly to the test. But from our first impressions, the use of Intel Core processors keeps Windows 10 running at a good pace.
However, we did find it lagged a bit when we tried to select and close tabs in Firefox using the touchscreen. That could be a minor glitch as everything else ran smoothly if not lighting quick.
There will be several processor options to choose from ranging from the low-power i3U to the speedier i7.
Prices across the range have yet to be firmed up, but we forecast they could get quite steep if buyers opt for an i7. An i5 should offer a sweet spot of plenty of processor power at a reasonable price.
RAM starts at 4GB and goes up to 8GB, which provides a good chunk of memory to complement the Intel processors.
Storage begins at a relatively light 128GB and goes up to 512GB. The microSD slot is useful here as it allows the onboard storage to be expanded, although Acer has not said by how much.
Acer claims a battery life of eight hours, but we suspect that heavy use will cause that to fall by a couple of hours.
The Swift Alpha 12 gets quite warm, probably because of the fanless cooling, which can be detrimental to battery life. But this is just speculation.
Acer is up against some strong competition in the hybrid arena, so it needed to produce a hybrid tablet that impresses.
We are not sure the firm has quite managed that, but the Switch Alpha 12 is a well priced and solid, if unremarkable, hybrid.
As such, it's likely to sell well, particularly if it's snapped up by enterprises looking to offer staff more than just a basic laptop.
But Acer's utilitarian hybrid may have a tough job attracting individual consumers and business people away from the Microsoft’s Surface range and even the iPad Pro models.
Check back here for our full review when the Switch Alpha 12 is released.