Smartphones are such versatile pocket devices that it makes sense that other device categories have to innovate to keep up. The slew of hybrid tablet-laptop devices we’ve seen over the years are the PC manufacturer’s answer to the smartphone. One of Acer’s newer offerings is the Aspire Switch 10E, a rather colorful take on the hybrid that’s sure to appeal to the younger set.
- Off the bat, I instantly loved the matte textured cover of the Switch 10 E. It feels great to the touch and has this 3D-printed quality to it. There is a netbook-like feel to the device though that might not appeal to those who want a sleek and slim package. But that is a matter of taste really.
- The Switch 10E makes use of the new Snap Hinge 2 mechanism. Basically, it’s a magnetic hinge that connects the tablet to the keyboard. It can somehow easily detach when you firmly pull on it but it doesn’t come apart either, meaning slight tugs on the screen won’t separate the two pieces. Reconnecting it to the keyboard is easy, too.
- This hybrid device is rather easy to lug around because of its size and weight. It’s bulky but still manageable to carry around. However, the compact size compromises the size of the keyboard. It’s a bit too small for my liking. Typing for extended periods of time gets a bit tiring.
- The plastic construction of the Switch 10E helps the weight down. But quality of it could be a bit better.
- Performance is generally snappy with this hybrid device. The touch display is responsive. It boots up in under 15 seconds and shuts down under five seconds. If you just surf the Web and edit documents and the like, you shouldn’t have any issues performance-wise. Devices like these are not built for heavy-duty use after all.
- Unfortunately, screen isn’t as bright as it can be. Audio is a bit on the low side, too. It’s best you use headphones if you want to watch on this device.
- As a hybrid device, you get multiple modes to suit whatever activity you’re doing. Laptop mode for general work. Tent and display for viewing or even when you have an external mouse and keyboard you want to use and have the Switch 10E serve as a monitor. And of course, there’s tablet mode. I’ve gravitated more towards laptop use for my daily activities. I’d use tablet mode more often than I did if it was using anything other than Windows 8. Desktop mode on Windows 8 (or 8.1 in this case) still isn’t touch-friendly enough. But the tablet/screen itself is easy to use and doesn’t put a strain on arms or wrists after extended use.
- Battery life is underwhelming though. With the screen and Wi-Fi on continuously, I only managed to squeeze around four hours or so out of this device. But the good thing is if you’re on the go, you can use a heavy duty battery pack to charge this.
With the colorful and youthful looks of the Acer Aspire Switch 10E, you know they’re targeting a relatively younger market. And that’s what this device is most suited for. That and the casual adult user who likes having unique-looking devices on them.
Display: 10.1” WXGA IPS (1,280 x 800 resolution)
Operating system: Microsoft Windows 8.1 32-bit
Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F 1.3GHz quad-core
Memory: 2GB DDR3 low voltage
Storage: 64GB on tablet (51GB usable), 500GB HDD on keyboard (465GB usable)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
I/O ports: microSD, USB, micro-HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
Camera: 2MP rear, 2MP front
Battery: 2-cell Li-Po
This article first appeared in the August 2015 issue of 2nd Opinion.