Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW Review

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October 24, 2014
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It’s not exactly a tablet or laptop, but rather a mixture of them. Nonetheless, Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW is listed in laptops category at least on Amazon.com. The detachable keyboard makes it hard to define what this computer really is. No matter what, we still wanted to take a look at it and tell you whether such a hybrid model would be a good replacement for true laptop or desktop.

The essentials

The things that define this Acer are the touchscreen and detachable keyboard. The display is 10.1″ big with 1280×800 resolution. The touchscreen comes handy with Windows 8.1 (32-bit), when you can use all of the touch features Microsoft’s latest has to offer. The display technology is IPS (In-Plane Switch), so if you’re used to older panels you’ll probably see improvement in colors and viewing angles. The small screen size also means you don’t have a lot of screen area to play with – something a power user might need. Then again, for a home user browsing web or streaming videos 10 inches display is fine.

The keyboard indeed detaches from the screen. That’s why many people have pointed out Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW is actually tablet, not laptop. Anyway, when you need to type something fast just use the keyboard laptop-style. When you’re on the go, just detach the keyboard and what you get is essentially a lightweight tablet weighing 1.3 pounds (when the screen is attached, the weight is 2.6 pounds which can still be considered very portable). As the computer is small, the keyboard doesn’t have 10-key numeric pad on right so typing numbers isn’t as fast as with bigger notebooks though.

Performance

How does such a hybrid do in terms of pure power? It features Intel Atom Z3735F, a new(ish) low voltage processor intended for tablets and other portable devices. It clocks at 1.33GHz and turbo speed can take it up to 1.83GHz. It also has quad cores, although the general performance looks similar to Celerons and other low-end processors. This is nothing to be concerned of if you’re user without gaming intends, but for latest games this Acer doesn’t work well at all.

A major thing contributing to low weight, long battery life and poor gaming performance is the graphics engine solution. Part of the processor is given the task of handling graphics. That is called Intel HD Graphics, an integrated chip. This leads to reduced weight and size, but also bad performance. For everyday users it’s not an issue, but gamers would do well to pick something else than computer with Intel HD Graphics.

As for other components, Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW has 2GB RAM installed. For tablet it’s alright amount, for laptop not so much. Having four gigabytes would make it faster, even in day to day use, but to keep the costs down they understandably decided to put less memory.

Like a true modern computer, the Acer doesn’t have a bulky hard drive. Instead, it has swift solid-state drive ready to serve you quickly. The startup time and reading/writing to disc are very fast, although the capacity itself is quite limited at 64GB. Again, this is fine for tablet-like use but if you plan to store lots multimedia on your drive the cap will be hit quite soon.

Connections

The Acer features two USB 2.0 ports (the other one is micro-USB). It’s not bad amount for such a hybrid, although having USB 3.0 would give boost for newer gadgets you might use with this computer.

There is also a micro-HDMI port in Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW so you can use the computer with larger HDTV.

Media card reader is installed in this Acer, although it only supports the microSD card format. For example, you can put in maximum 128GB microSD card and expand your storage space from the 64GB that way.

As expected, for Internet there is no Ethernet (wired) connection. The wireless, however, is dual-band which translates to greater signal range than single-band WiFi adapters can offer.

Something else to keep in mind?

The battery life of Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW should be around 8 hours. If you’re lucky, you can go all day without charging the device.

There’s a front-facing 1080p webcam on the display. Thus, you can have high-quality video calls no matter if you use the device as tablet or laptop.

Unlike in many budget computers the Acer offers Microsoft Office 365 free for one year. Thus, you can use Word, Excel and PowerPoint right away with this model.

Conclusion

There are three important things to remember about Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012-16GW. It has small touchscreen, detachable keyboard and average performance. This is an excellent choice for somebody at home, office or school looking for portability and convenience rather than pure power. The Acer can handle all the everyday tasks well, and people on the go would like the 1.3/2.6 pounds weight with 8-hours battery life. The only thing this hybrid model is not suitable for is gaming and heavy-duty software. As long as you keep these realities in mind, I don’t see much wrong with this computer. If you want a modern hybrid laptop, give it a try!


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