Acer announced the Aspire Switch 11 during its press conference at IFA 2014, bringing another multi-positional laptop-meets-tablet device to its portfolio.
We got our hands on the new 2-in-1 notebook series at the show to see what the 11.6-inch model offers and what we made of it.
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 comes in two models but it's just the screen resolution and the specs inside that change. The design is very similar to the Aspire Switch 10, only the new device offers the slightly larger 11.6-inch display compared to the 10.1-inch screen found on the Switch 10.
It's a nice design that offers a good, strong and solid build, which we liked. It's not the slimmest of laptops, nor is it the lightest but it offers a relatively small footprint and it is versatile.
There are four modes the Switch 11 can be positioned in for touch, typing, viewing and sharing and the display is attached to the keyboard via the Acer Snap Hinge, which features two hooks to connect the two parts together and a two-way connector that means you can have the tablet facing either way.
Although the Switch 11 is a little top heavy, with a very slim keyboard but slightly thicker display, we found the magnetic hinge worked very well and it genuinely looked like a normal, sturdy laptop when it was attached.
On its own, the display felt a little heavy for a tablet in its own right but in terms of actual design, it looked as good on its own as it did when it was a laptop. It's perhaps a little thicker than we would have liked but as you get two devices in one with it, we understand there needs to be a little bit of meat on the bones to provide a decent device.
The time we spent at the show was with the Switch SW5-111 that comes with a 1366 x 768 resolution display and an Intel Aton Z73745 quad-core processor supported by 2GB of RAM, compared to the Switch SW5-171 that has a Full HD resolution, HD webcam and 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor.
Despite the display resolution being lower than the top of the range model, we weren't disappointed with it. The viewing angles were good, the colours were bright and we found the image offered enough detail for us not to be disheartened. That said, having the option of the higher resolution is great as it means those that want to pay a little extra for a bit more detail and punch can do so.
The IPS display has Zero Air Gap technology to help with delivering the sharper image and wider viewing angle and although we couldn't test it properly during our short time with it, we thought it succeeded. The keyboard was light too and it responded well, making it a pleasure to type on. We did find the touch pad a little slow to respond but we wouldn't judge it based purely on our time with it here.
We didn't get a chance to test the Switch SW5-111's performance in a great amount of detail but we found it reacted well and we didn't experience any lag during the time we had with it.
Both Switch 11 models come with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, micro HDMI, microSD and SD card ports, which you will find on the display part of the device, and both run on Windows 8.1 for full PC productivity. There is also Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n on board both models too.
The more premium model comes with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB hard drive, while the model we got our hands-on had a 64GB memory, along with a 2-megapixel front facing camera with Full HD 1080p audio and video recording capabilities.
Overall, we liked the Acer Aspire Switch 11 for its flexibility. It's a little thicker and heavier than we would have hoped for and the design may not be as desirable as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 but it has seen a few improvements over the Switch 10, along with a bigger display and we liked that device so we suspect we will like this device too when it comes in for review.