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REVIEW: The Acer Switch 5 Is Thin, Affordable And Perfect For Those On The Go

Nowadays most people are on the move and when it comes to laptops or tablets they want something lightweight, easy to use and compact.

2-in-1 devices are increasing in popularity due to their versatility giving consumers the choice between a laptop or a tablet with a click of a keyboard.

The new Acer Switch 5 is an upgrade on last year’s Acer Switch Alpha 12.

What you’ll get in the box is the device itself, a detachable keyboard and an Acer Active Pen, so users can easily write or draw on the device.

Setting Up 

Setting up is easy and if you have a Windows account you can just put in your details and the set up speeds up.

When setting up the device you’re given the option to use your fingerprint to unlock the device without a passcode. I tried to set up my fingerprint but couldn’t find the actual scanner and nowhere on the set-up screen did it tell me where it was, so I had to Google its whereabouts.

The scanner is the power button, it’s a thin button that doesn’t cover your entire finger, maybe one fifth of it. I tried about three times to set up my fingerprint and it did not work. My fourth attempt proved successful and once you’ve set up the finger scanner you do not need to type a password to log in, a feature of Windows Hello.

Design

The Switch 5 is a slim device, that has a chrome finish with a detachable keyboard.

The keyboard is a similar size to the screen so about 12 inches, a small keyboard so if you’re like me and used to a normal desktop keyboard or even a laptop keyboard it is going to take some adjusting to not only typing but pressing the other keys such as page down.

The Switch 5 is designed for a desk or flat surface due to its lightweight keyboard and the sturdy stand at the back of the tablet so if you’re a big fan of putting your device on your lap, it is a bit tricky to do so I would go for a table rather than legs.

The stand is strong and turns the tablet into a screen where you can easily watch videos.

For those who are interested in specs, the Switch 5 supports a 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD and up to 8GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM. It can also access additional files through the MicroSDXC slot.

The device features a thin and reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port for fast data transfers of up to 5Gbps from connected peripherals, to share video and to power other devices. Both lines also have an additional USB 3.1 Type-A port and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Acer Switch 5 measures just 292 (W) x 201.8 (D) x 12 (H) mm and weighs 1.27 kg when the tablet and keyboard are connected.

Performance

The Acer Switch 5 is built with an Intel Core i5-7200U Dual Core Processor 2.5GHz (3.1GHz 3MB), so its up to date with all the latest software.

It is a speedy device, although I did have a few little upsets where it would just lag for a couple of seconds (what laptop doesn’t have its moments?) When I encountered these disruptions, I had only a few apps open.

The mousepad on the keyboard is not that responsive so if this device is your main piece of hardware may I suggest investing in a mouse.

Acer says the battery lasts 10.5 hours and it pretty much stands true to that claim. The device is quick to charge just under two hours. Similar to normal devices when I was playing movies and running multiple apps the battery drained quicker.

I also noticed a few hiccups when I was perusing the internet, on a few different occasions the connection would conk out. I checked my phone and laptop and both were not experiencing any issues.

The Switch 5 has its Acer LiquidLoop, its liquid cooling system where the tablet does not need a fan inside the device. It’s a great feature because even when the device is hot you don’t hear a nauseating whirring of a cooling fan.

The device was cool most of the time but because it is a laptop with tablet capabilities I found when you leave it on your bed or place it on your lap for a long amount of time it will heat up. I learnt it is better to treat it like a laptop and make sure it is placed on a flat surface at all time.

It has rear and front facing camera; the rear camera is 2MP and the front camera 1MP. Not too sure what someone could do with the rear camera except flip it when on Skype.

Stylus

With the device you get the Acer Active Stylus so those who have a knack for design and drawing can do so on the device.

The stylus itself is easy to use and the tablet is responsive when you use it.

I tested it out on the Windows 10 application, Sketchbook and when writing, drawing pictures and shading, what I drew on the screen came out clear on the application.

I used it while I was flicking through news pages and browsing the web rather than using my fingers and there was no lag.

Display

The 12-inch screen has wide-view FHD+ touch display with IPS technology. Acer says it has a 2160×1440 resolution with support from Intel HD Graphics 620.

Turning the brightness to 100 per cent the screen did not look like it was at the brightest level. I realised my settings were on battery saver mode so after changing it the screen lit up but it still was not as bright as I had hoped.

Value

This device is priced at $1698, which is affordable for what you’re getting in this device especially when other brands are pricing their 2-in-1 devices over $2000. Acer is a highly respected and upmarket PC brand and they know what they’re doing with their products.

 

Software

The Acer Switch 5 comes with all Microsoft Office products installed such as Word and PowerPoint but do not be fooled it is for free, you’ll need to activate it through your Windows Live account or get a free trial.

I noticed because it is a Windows OS device, if you don’t use Microsoft Edge (RIP Internet Explorer) it will nag you in various Microsoft internet-based applications to switch to Edge.

When I was downloading a pdf on the Outlook app it asked if I wanted to use Edge to open it when the system knows Chrome is my default browser; even Safari on MacOS knows when it has been defeated by Google Chrome.

Overall

The whole notion of having a tablet transform itself into a laptop with the click of the keyboard is a good idea and Acer nails it on the head for an Affordable 2-in-1.

What I enjoy about the Switch 5 is its portability, it is light and can be used anywhere, anytime. The Stylus was smooth to use and worked perfectly with the device.

The only issue I encountered was the non-responsive mouse pad and the screen having brightness issues.

The device has everything a user needs when they’re on the go plus they don’t have to fork out heaps of money to enjoy both a tablet and laptop in one device.

PERFORMANCE 7/10

DESIGN 8/10

VALUE 7/10

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