A modern laptop isn’t just a laptop anymore. It also acts as a tablet. Thus, the device may be called a hybrid, 2-in-1 laptop or a convertible. Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-14C9 is such a laptop/tablet hybrid, whose screen flips almost 360 degrees and also detaches from the keyboard part. Furthermore, the price is rather affordable, so the computer looks like a good pick for the Tech For Pennies review team!
The main things
Let’s recap it: the device is a 11.6″ laptop, but with hinges allowing the screen to turn almost a full circle. The display may also be detached altogether from the lower part, and because it’s a touchscreen, you’ll essentially get a tablet at your disposal. Neat, isn’t it!
Also, the display’s panel type is so-called In-Plane Switching that makes it stand out from the typical Twisted Nematics panel crowd. You should get accurate colors and great viewing angles with this IPS screen.
But let’s not get too excited about the display. Performance is an important thing as well. The Acer contains a Intel Atom Z3745 processor, a SoC (system-on-a-chip) primarily meant for tablets. Its core amount is four, base speed 1.33GHz and burst frequency 1.86GHz. In terms of performance, it can be compared to later Intel Celerons. For lightweight use it’s fine, but would of course lag with heavier use. However, this convertible Acer is meant for basic stuff like web browsing, so a low-end processor is a very logical choice.
The biggest performance bottleneck is probably the RAM. There’s 2GB memory installed and as far as I know, more can’t be added. Having two gigabytes is no good if you like to multitask, do many things at the same time, like have multiple browser tabs open.
A 32GB flash drive is offered as the storage solution. It’s not a full-fledged SSD, but an eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard). It operates faster than a regular hard drive but slower than solid-state drive. The space of 32GB can’t compete with that of hard drives, so you can’t store lots of big files there – movies for example. Also remember Windows 8.1 (32-bit) takes around 10GB space, so you’ll be left with around 20GB storage at your disposal.
Quick overview about gaming
Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-14C9’s gaming efforts are powered by Intel HD (Bay Trail) chip. It can work for lightweight or old games like WoW, League of Legends and Fifa 14. I wouldn’t count on it too much with Minecraft. Battlefield 4 would be unplayable with around 10 FPS average. The older the game is, the better chances you have, especially when keeping settings low and resolution at the screen’s default 1366×768.
Networking is wireless-only, with a 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi adapter supporting Bluetooth 4.0.
For peripherals you can use two USB 2.0 ports. One of those is micro USB but there’s no USB 3.0 present. For video, there’s a micro-HDMI output which can be used for a HDTV integration.
No DVD burner is available on this model. There wouldn’t be space for that anyway. microSD card reader is however installed, letting you to expand the local storage and transfer data.
Two megapixel webcam and microphone are likewise there, so you can indeed use this laptop/tablet hybrid for video calls.
Other important things
The portability of such a convertible model is excellent. Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-14C9 weighs just 3.22 pounds and has up to 7.5 hours battery life. For travelers, these are obviously excellent news.
There’s no 10-key numeric pad on such a small keyboard. However, as mentioned earlier, the keyboard (lower) part detaches from the screen. This also means all the components (processor, RAM etc.) are installed on the screen part, making the Acer a top-heavy model with higher chances of tipping over than a regular laptop.
Summing it up
Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-14C9 is a hybrid model, basically offering everything a budget laptop and a regular tablet would, but in one package. You can install MS Office, browse web and watch videos with it. Just don’t try to do too many things at once because of processor and memory limitations. This pretty much leaves power users and gamers out of the equation. But I’ve seen these hybrid models sell well, and for a reason: Now you don’t have to get two separate devices but can enjoy having them both in one neat computer. If you get excited about that, and don’t require top level performance, giving this hybrid model a go would probably be a good idea!