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(Pocket-lint) - The Acer Aspire Switch family continues to grow, with the forthcoming Switch 12 showcasing not only a number of varied position options, but it's one of the first devices to feature Intel Core M technology. That means a fanless design, which in turn opens the door for slimmer build without power compromise.

Although the Switch 12 isn't about being the smallest and slimmest, and it certainly doesn't feel lightweight in the hand - but that's because it has invested so much into its variable position design. The quality of build is solid though, with a textured rear finish for added grip.

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The keyboard dock sits behind the 12.5-inch tablet face, held in place by magnets, and can be pulled out as a separate piece to clip into the front of the unit for a laptop-like design. But even with the keyboard absent the hinge design of the tablet means it can free-stand without toppling over - and we suspect some of the extra weight has been positioned for functional purposes, rather than a headline-grabbing lightweight spec.

What Acer has made in the Switch 12 is, essentially, a full laptop replacement complete with USB port - a bit like the company's alternative to Surface 3. It also offers those table-top and V-shaped tablet positions, which work well with the touchscreen and Windows 8.1 interface, but we wouldn't really consider it a standalone tablet replacement - it's just a bit too big for that at this stage.

As a laptop-like device, however, the absence of a trackpad on slender keyboard might be an issue for some. The touchscreen felt responsive, but we tend to not combine keys and touch in our work.

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We also found the process of pulling the magnetised keyboard out from the dock a little fussy as the magnets are strong, but like the fact no button or switch is required - something that often adds to the fuss and doesn't look great in the design.

This is Acer dabbling in the best of many worlds and, given the Full HD resolution 12.5-inch screen and Intel Core M processor, the company has done a decent job of it. Just trim a bit of thickness and weight, or even offer this design in smaller bodies (the Switch 10 and 11 models already exist, but are different) and it would be even more of a winner.

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Writing by Mike Lowe.