Jeremy gets hands-on with Acer’s shiny new toy to see if there’s space in our digital device drawer for a slate-laptop hybrid.

Just reading the name of Acer’s new hybrid PC/tablet, the Switch 10, lets you know that it has some tricks up its sleeve, and the snazzy new toy doesn’t fail to deliver on those preconceptions.

The question around the industry is whether these Frankenstein-like gadgets have a place in our homes, given that most households already have tablets and PCs, but once you get your hands on a device like the Switch 10, it becomes immediately apparent that these crossover devices are the future.

It’s difficult to immediately imagine when or how you’ll be using a device like the Switch, but when you make it your primary or secondary PC, you’ll soon see the benefits aren’t the alternative uses, but how it makes normal usage that much easier.

When using the Switch 10, it’s size and build lends for a very on-the-go feel to it. There’s no issue of lugging a oversized laptop and massive charger with you. The Switch 10 is pretty small and light, and the charger can be compared to something similar to that of a smartphone’s – small, compact and light.

acer switch

 

While small, it packs a punch. Its Full HD (1920×1200) Gorilla Glass coated display is beautiful and robust enough to be used for anything. The Intel Atom Z3745 chipset and 2GB of RAM is not going to play high-end game, but it’s enough power under the hood to handle your day-to-day chores and video-playing.

Speaking of which – we put the Switch 10 to the ultimate most-common test – how does it fair with media? We decided to watch a movie and some videos on it, and we found the smallest things make it such a joy to use. Firstly, the various layout options you can use make it perfect to place on a bed, counter or desk in any angle you see fit. Secondly, the touch-screen interface made switching between videos and different movies so much easier. There’s no need to use a trackpad or mouse from an awkward lying-down angle anymore. It may seem small, but it’s a big plus for usability.

As for using it for work purposes (sigh), after a few days, it feels just like a miniature laptop. The key action could be improved, though. You get the same sort of key depth as a Macbook, but they’re a little bit “spongy”, for lack of a better word. To be fair, you will get used to it, and we were typing away at full speed within hours. But keyboard quality is pretty important in a hybrid such as the Acer Switch 10.

Many of my complaints are fairly minor, however. And they belie the simple fact that the Switch 10 is often a pleasure to use. On the whole, it’s a capable and very portable tablet, giving you the full Windows experience in a package that’s easy to toss into a bag or backpack. Keyboard gripes aside, we actually enjoyed spending time with the device, and frequently found ourselves sing it as a standard tablet more often than not, leaving the keyboard attachment behind.

Local retailers have priced the Acer Switch 10 between R4,500-5,000.

First published on MenStuff.co.za.