A third of the way through 2014 we were introduced to the Acer Aspire Switch 10, a 2-in-1 tablet-meets-laptop device that, despite its somewhat blocky design form, was a decent stab at the concept.

That model gets a Gorilla Glass-topped re-lick for 2015, a larger Switch 11 shows face with an Intel Core M processor on board, while there's even a more premium 12-inch offering on the way too (unsurprisingly named the Switch 12). 

But of all those models, it's the more budget Switch 10 E that's grabbed our attention. Maybe it's the £280 price tag, maybe it's the heavily textured exterior shells and multi-coloured options - there's something about this budget offering that is, in some regard, more appealing than its pricier brother. 

Shown here in its white finish - there are also blue, purple, red, pink and black options - the tablet's textured shell looks a bit like a 3D-printed chassis. It's an unusual look, but an eye-catching one. 

Pocket-lintP9970110 copy

The first major difference we noticed about the Switch 10 E compared to the original standard Switch 10 is the new Snap Hinge 2 mechanism. The tablet can be pulled away from its magnetic hinge with a firm pull - the two parts remain solidly together otherwise, we've turned the device upside down the two parts stay as one - but reconnecting them is less hit-and-miss than before. 

To explain: with the Switch 10 the magnetic connection would promptly snap the two parts together, sometimes causing one of the plastic protrusions to miss its designated connection, and you'd be left with a wonky non-connection.

With the Acer Aspire Switch 10 E, however, a softer magnetic connection occurs further up the connectors, before the tablet sinks into its fixed position. It feels a little bizarre at first, but acts as necessary guidance thereafter. All other new Switch models also benefit from this Snap Hinge 2 mechanism. 

Pocket-lintP9970111 copy

In its laptop format, the dinky Switch 10 E can be angled to various positions for the best view onto the 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel panel. It's not the highest resolution offering out there, but at this price point we're not surprised. 

Once the screen is pulled away it can be used as a standalone tablet to interact with Windows 8.1, or pop the screen in reverse onto the keyboard dock and it becomes a stand-mounted upright display - ideal for, say, watching a movie when travelling by plane with a fold-out table available. 

Both parts combined weight 1.28kgs, and with dimensions of 262 x 180 x 11mm it's a small form product. That can be felt in the keyboard, though, which is relatively condensed - but does make the most of the available space by pushing right out to the edges. 

Pocket-lintP9970114 copy

Along with all ports - bar the USB 3.0, which is on the keyboard dock - the tablet carries the 30Wh battery, delivering a suggested 12-hours of life per charge. For a small product that's exceptional - but we'll need to get a review device to text just how true that is. 

It might be budget and have quirky looks, but as 2-in-1s go, the Acer Aspire Switch 10 E looks to be a respectable addition to the Switch family from what we've seen.