Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF Notebook Review

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November 24, 2016
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Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF is not your typical notebook: its screen detaches from the keyboard, completely. So in essence you have a real tablet at your disposal in addition to laptop. It sounds cool on paper, but what other things should you consider? I’ll let you know my thoughts on this below…

General performance

You might’ve thought that these smaller 2-in-1 models are slow. Well, not necessarily. Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF brings decent processor performance with the Intel Core i5-6200U CPU. It’s easily fast enough for home users with web browsers and YouTube watching needs. Indeed, the dual-core chip features 2.3GHz clock frequency and is equipped with 2.8GHz turbo. In case you’re interested in comparing it to other processors, the CPU Mark score is around 4000.

Inside you will find 256GB solid-state drive, it’s just an excellent choice for such 2-in-1 if you ask me. It’s attached to SATA 3 interface and if you need to upgrade the drive for some reason you can do so.

There’s nothing wrong with the memory section since 8GB is installed. I doubt the RAM can be upgraded but it doesn’t matter since 99% of users are more than happy with the current 8GB.

Any chance for gaming?

I have to disappoint you, this Acer isn’t too good for gaming. The reason is the lack of graphics performance, only integrated graphics card Intel HD 520 is installed. If you just casually play simple games like Minecraft, Sims 4 or Fifa you’ll do fine. But throw in demanding titles and you need to turn most eye candy off. On low-medium settings and 720p resolution you can get ~30FPS on GTA 5 and Battlefield 4.

What ports and connections the laptop has?

You see, Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF is darn small unit so the selection of ports is quite limited. There is only one USB Type-C port, however it supports many devices so might be that’s all you need. Indeed, there’s no HDMI port but with USB-C to HDMI adapter/cable you can get that work, too.

Of course, this kind of a small laptop does not include an optical drive. You can use an external one, or if you have memory cards, slip them in to the laptop’s microSD(HC/XC) card reader.

There’s a speedy 802.11ac Wireless adapter built in, it supports Bluetooth 4.0 too.

Miscellaneous things and features

So, Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF is a small notebook, but the 12″ touch screen is still pristine. The resolution goes as high as 2160×1440, if you need to work with large images you’ll find this display pleasant. The In-Plane Switching technology should provide viewing angles almost 180 degrees. Also keep in mind the display detaches from the backlit keyboard, and Synaptics digitizer pen is included to use the screen.

This model has both front and rear webcams.

The advertised 8 hours battery life doesn’t seem to be true, you’ll be looking at a 4-5 hours in reality. The battery is non-replaceable type.

Final thoughts

It’s easy to like Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF if you’re after a lightweight, compact and fast detachable 2-in-1 laptop. I say fast because the i5 processor and 256GB SSD will make using this notebook feel snappy, and you can surely throw in more exotic programs than a Chrome browser or MS Office suite. The battery life is not magnificent, you can uninstall bloatware to combat with that. All in all, go for the Acer and get a small powerhouse!


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