(Pocket-lint) - That's not your eyes deceiving you, and there's no Photoshop trickery afoot here: that is a keyboard in front of the trackpad. And this is the Acer Aspire R7.
Is it a laptop, is it a desktop? The Aspire R7 is one of the more unusual takes on the adjustable Windows 8 laptop that we've ever seen. No, scratch that, it's the most unusual take.
The 15.6-inch adjustable laptop was on display at Acer's global launch event in New York city and Pocket-lint fought through the rabble to have a play with this topsy turvy PC.
First impressions are that the R7 is rather large, even when folded it's not as super slim as it first appears because of the special patented "ezel" hinge.
One specification which lacks from the initial press release that Acer sent out is the device's weight. Seemingly because it's a rather hefty beast to carry around - we'd see it as more of a desktop replacement to move from room to room than a laptop as we wouldn't want it in a bag to lug around for sure.
Hard to ignore is the R7's unconventional layout. Set up in the more standard laptop format and it's the placement of the trackpad behind the keyboard which is, well, it's bonkers really. We've only had a few minutes of play with it but this isn't part of the configuration which can be moved - and the necessity to lean beyond the keyboard to get to the trackpad just feels plain weird to us.
However the Aspire R7 is a touchscreen device, so arguably the trackpad will be of less use compared to other competitors more rigid, traditional designs. The patented ezel bracket means the 15.6-inch screen can be repositioned to a number of different locations from the far back of the base plate to much further forward as to almost touch the back of the keypad and hide the trackpad altogether.
The screen can also be flipped backwards for a touchscreen-only experience, with the keyboard behind to act as a base. Push a little further and the R7 becomes a giant tablet-esque device, albeit a thick and weighty 15.6-inch one. In these positions we got a close-up look at the 1920 x 1080 resolution screen and it looks pretty top notch to us. Even with the light blasting through the windows at Milk on New York city's west side it was bright and vivid, while the touchpanel felt responsive.
Pulled back into the more conventional position and we had initial concerns about the keypad's position right towards the front of the device. A little typing later and it's not the write-off we thought it may be - the front of the R7 has a smoothed edge so there's no sharp edge to dig into the wrists. Saying that, take the device onto a lap and the front-heavy key position - and back-heavy weight of the screen - don't make for an ideal typing position. Again, less laptop, more desktop-replacement.
The Windows 8 PC is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and can serve up to 12GB of memory, up to 1TB of hard disk space or a 256GB SSD. Ports come aplenty in the form of three USB 3 ports, an HDMI out, SD card reader, audio jacks, plus built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. For the £900 asking price it's fully featured where it matters.
Overall we're a little confounded by the Aspire R7. It's got the fun card to play, but whether its design truly brings anything "revolutionary" to the game as Acer claims? We're less convinced.
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