If you’re considering the Microsoft Surface Pro, it’s also advisable to browse the product covered in this posting, the Acer Switch 5 SW512-52.
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Similar to the Surface Pro, that one is a Windows tablet with an identical form-factor, a kick-stand on the trunk and an attachable keyboard folio. It gets a 12-inch 3:2 IPS touchscreen with pen support and all of the pieces are tucked behind it, in the nicely built metallic chassis.
Unlike almost every other similar 2-in-1s though, Acer puts a passively cooled Core U processor in this product, therefore the Switch 5 supplies the power necessary to handle everyday activities and multitasking, but without the noise of a spinning fan.
It’s not the only fanless Core U Windows tablet out there, but is yet one of the hardly any, alongside the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 (Core i5 version only) and the Acer Aspire Switch 12 Alpha. Almost every other options are fan-cooled, just like the Asus Transformer 3 Pro, Lenovo Miix 720, the 2017 HP Spectre X2 or the Dell Latitude 12 2-in-1.
The fanless aspect is a substantial feature, and given its a lot more affordable pricing when compared to Surface, the Switch 5 will attract many eyes. We’ve gathered all our impressions below, with information on its strong points and its own shortcomings, so by the finish of the this article you’ll know if this is actually the right device for the needs you have (or not) and how it fares against your competition.
Design and first look
It’s very vital that you reiterate that the Acer Switch 5 is a mid-range product and so much cheaper compared to the Surface Pro 5. The i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD is listed at $799 in america and around 1000 EUR in Europe (the keyboard and pen are included), while a similarly configured Surface sells for $1300 (without the pen and keyboard), while a 2017 HP Spectre X2 applies to $1250 (with the pen and keyboard). I’ve mentioned both of these because they’re imo the very best looking and built devices with this sort of tablet-like form-factor.
Back again to the Switch 5, it’s in no way poorly crafted or ugly, but it’s much less nice and carefully polished as those other two. The tablet alone weighs around 2 lbs and its own outer case is totally crafted from metal. It’s doesn’t bend or squeak when used, and it’s fairly comfortable to carry as well, because of the blunt edges and rounded corners.
The only questionable aesthetic choice may be the serrated edge around leading side, which looks rather cheap imo. It’s a detail and I’d expect most to be fine with it.
Having a quick shop around this Switch, you’ll observe that the back is simple and only houses a camera, as the front is almost totally covered in glass and accommodates two narrow speakers grills at the top.
The rest of the buttons and ports are located around the edges. There’s a volume rocker and power button (with a built-in fingerprint-reader) on the proper side, there’s a full-size USB A, an USB-C (gen 1, without Thunderbolt 3) and a headphone jack on the proper, alongside the PSU, while at the top lip Acer located a microSD card-reader flanked by two microphone pins. There are of course no intake and exhaust grills on the sides, as this product is passively cooled.
Having less Thunderbolt 3 might steer a few of you away, however the Switch 5 can still attach to a 4K 60 Hz screen although USB-C port and, while I haven’t tested it, may also charge via USB-C predicated on a number of the comments I’ve read online.
That aside, let’s speak about the kickstand and it’s unusual mechanism, unique of what the other OEMs placed on their similar computers. The kickstand is made within the trunk and stands out a bit, that actually means the tablet won’t rest totally on the metallic when layed down, that ought to prevent it from scratching, somewhat. The kickstand is somewhat stiff though rather than that simple to open, since it lacks any creases for the fingers to seize it from, thus your fingertips and nails might suffer. These aren’t its main peculiarity though.
This kickstand opens to a set position that keeps the screen at a 110-120 degrees angle. From here you have to press on the screen and the kickstand will smoothly slide available to the desired position, but if you grab the device it’ll immediately get back to its aforementioned fixed position. I could live with this process on a desk, while you’re watching a movie or emulating a laptop, where in fact the device is located on a set surface and I don’t need to move it. Those rubbery feet on the kickstand and actual slate also help with the entire stability on a desk, regardless if they’re not that grippy.
I came across the Switch 5 uncomfortable to use on the lap though, where in fact the kickstand constantly pushed the screen back towards its default position despite having the slightest of my moves, and I had to continually press it back again to the desired position. So far as using it when leaned on the sofa or during intercourse, well, I came across it virtually impossible to utilize this way. There’s are videos on Youtube that better show how this kickstand works.
As a tablet the Switch 5 can be fairly nice, regardless if it’s marginally thicker and bigger than other options. In addition, it gets a marginally smaller screen, which translates in fairly thick bezels, but at least it’s sturdily built. The screen carries a digitizer and pen support, and we’ll speak about them in an additional section.
In general the Switch 5 is a well developed and attractive hybrid and produces a good notebook computer and tablet generally in most scenarios. I’m not really a fan of the kickstand’s design though, I much choose the mechanisms on the Surfaces.
Because so many other devices with the same form-factor, the Switch 5 gets a keyboard folio. It looks and even feels nearly the same as the folios on the Microsoft Surface Pros and Asus Transformer Pros, with a felt-like finishing and plastic inner chassis. Our unit came in gray and I’m uncertain if Acer plans to provide it in other colors aswell. The felt finishing feels alright to touch, but I can’t tell how it’s likely to age and whether it’ll wear-off after some time.
The keyboard attaches magnetically to the tablet and only works while installed, as it’s powered by the slate itself. It usually is set-up in two positions, completely flat on the desk or slightly raised, for a slightly inclined and more ergonomic typing position. Both are standard options on all of the existing detachables with keyboard-folios.
The folio is manufactured out of plastic and can be fairly thin and light, so there’s no real surprise it flexes somewhat in the raised position. Not surprisingly, the typing experience is surprisingly good.
The keys have the proper response and feedback, even though pressed on the sides, and there’s none of this spongy feedback I’ve encountered on the older Alpha 12. That is still a brief stroke keyboard rather than the most effective to type on either, but also for me it became just about the most accurate I’ve surely got to try lately.
The keyboard can be backlit, however the keys only light when pressed rather than while swiping fingers over the clickpad.
Talking about it, the clickpad is quite small and crafted from plastic. It really is however a Microsoft Precision surface and works fairly well from the box. I came across it a tad slow for my liking, which is often addressed from the settings, and I’d say that its responsiveness with very precise swipes may be improved, but these aside I’ve nothing to complain about. I also didn’t come across any issues or noticed any quirks within my time with the computer.
The Switch 5’s physical Power Button also doubles as a finger-sensor, and works alright with Windows Hello. It doesn’t always register the print from the first try though, therefore the connection with logging in isn’t as seamless as on other devices with finger-sensors.
I’ve read additional reviews of the Switch 5 and most of them critique its screen. Yes, it’s much less bright, as uniform, as color accurate and even as sharp as the panel you’ll can get on the top Pro 5, but I fell that it’s not that bad either.
Acer went with a 3:2 12.0-inch screen and an IPS panel created by WST (code name KL.1200W.004), with an answer of 2160 x 1440 px. It’s sharp enough because of this screen size and the slightly lower resolution actually pairs nicely with the hardware inside and supports battery life to an extent. You’ll find more concerning this panel in the info and pictures below: