It seems like everyone out there has been attempting to emulate the most popular tablet/laptop hybrid since the dawn of the Microsoft Surface Pro. The reason consumers have been so consumed with the product has a lot to do with it's successful design in many aspects. For example, the keyboard cover, stylus option, and the ability to switch completely around into any form you need for work or play. The latest Microsoft Surface Pro 4, ranges from $1,299 and up. That is including an amazing pixel count, high memory and graphics, and of course the almighty Intel Core i5 chip. So, with this continual influx of new hybrid PC options to choose from, how do consumers make a decision?
With big names such as the Surface Pro, MacBook, and other high-end popular picks, most tech companies are ultimately aiming to provide similar competency in their machines. When looking for value, and an ultrathin hybrid at the same time, look no further. Acer has come out with a valuable option for a fanless heatsink tablet/hybrid. The new Acer Switch 5 is completely silent, and holds similar specs and performance to what is becoming a surplus of options in the market. The good news is first. The Windows 10 tablet 2-in-1 is already being declared as not only a Surface clone, but just good enough to stand out from the crowd.
With this form-factor, the Acer Switch 5 comes as a tablet, with both a kickstand on the back and attachable keyboard (quite identical to the Surface Pro, as well as the Dell Latitude 5285, a more business-geared machine starting at $1,180). At heart, this is a more polished version of Acer's Switch Alpha 12 from 2016. Here, we will find an updated hinge design, a backlit keyboard, improved performance, and a bundled stylus pen, unlike the Latitude 5285, which had to be sold separately. So the question now, is how much does this new tablet/hybrid do to differentiate itself?
This is the toughest part of reviewing the plethora of new models from all the existing competition these days. What exactly is improvement, and what exactly is better design? In Acer's case, external beauty is not going to be the winning factor here, however the 12-inch Switch 5 does maintain a metallic, robust build, with dimensions of 11.5in x 7.94in x 0.37in, and a weight of 1.98 pounds tablet-alone, and 2.8 pounds with the dock attached. The updated hinge includes a simple snap mechanism, making it easier to adjust the tablet’s standing angle with one hand, by manually popping the device back into its initial upright position. Although this popping situation may sound more convenient, its simplicity could create a less sturdy range of motion. As far as the keyboard and stylus are concerned, a significant change was made by allowing both the tablet and accessories to come in the full package price.
Finally, internal specs. The 12-inch tablet features a sharp 2160 x 1440 LCD screen, and yes, this high pixel count is a competitive aspect of this new model when making comparisons in the current market. Another advantage, quite possibly a significant selling point, is the passively-cooled CPU, running incredibly quiet inside. The featured processor is Intel’s Kaby Lake-R i5-7200U (2.5GHz/3.1GHz Turbo), an Intel HD 620 graphics card, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and 256GB of M.2 80 mm NVMe storage. As far as I/O, it includes Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1; as well as 1 USB-A 3.0, 1 USB-C 3.1, a microphone/heaphone jack, and a microSD card reader. The lack of Thunderbolt 3 is always a bummer, but remember a USB-C will always be there for hooking up peripherals, like a 4K screen, etc. Finally, as far as its 39Wh battery (smaller than some competition and larger than others), it withstands up to 10.5 hours. Paired with the dual-core i5 processor, and Intel HD 620 GPU, the result should allow fast, and long lengths of multitasking. Furthermore, because it runs off Windows 10, programs that require more power, such as Photoshop or even light gaming, are completely feasible heavier loads. Arriving in June, the Acer Switch 5 will start at $800.