The 2-in-1 category has been around since the arrival of Windows 8 and we have seen many different form factors. Acer has been one of the brands that has been generally known for its mainstream laptops. But its Switch series of 2-in-1s has been around for a while and Acer has been experimenting with different styles. Today we have with us the Acer Switch 12 with the Intel Core M processor, which takes a slightly unconventional approach in this segment.
Build and Design: 7.5/10
Acer Switch 12 can be divided into two parts – the tablet and kickstand module and the detachable keyboard module. Let us first start off with the display module. When it came to 2-in-1s, we were only used to two modes either the laptop mode or the tablet mode. But thanks to the addition of the kickstand on the Acer Switch 12, you can use it in modes such as notebook, pad, tent, display as well as a desktop – something that makes Acer call the Switch 12 a 5-in-1. Multi mode 2-in-1s are becoming more popular these days, thanks in a large part to Lenovo which has been pushing it with its Yoga series.
The Acer Switch 12 makes use of sturdy plastic in its construction. The display section of the tablet can lie flat with the kickstand which is basically an extended rectangular section which houses the battery . The display is attached to the kickstand via a sturdy hinge mechanism. On the rear side there is a slight depression somewhere in the centre, which is to accommodate the detachable keyboard. The textured back is pleasant to look at.
On the right hand edge, you have the volume rocker button, a button to switch between the desktop and laptop modes and a 3.5mm audio jack. The top edge has the microSD card slot, a power/standby button. On the left hand edge, you have the mini HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and the power port and the kickstand has an additional USB port. The USB 3.0 port on the tablet is a USB in port rather than an out port.
On the front you have a 12.5-inch display with a significantly thick bezel surrounded by the plastic edges. Just beside the hinges, you have two rectangular holes which lock in the detachable keyboard. There’s a speaker grille section between the hinges. Also there is a magnetic strip around the hinges which ensures that the keyboard is well locked on. It measures around 15.2mm thick and weighs around 1.4 kg.
The best part about the Switch 12 is the fact that the kickstand helps in weight distribution and you can place the display at multiple angles. The keyboard can either attach to the section below the display or can be connected via bluetooth to the keyboard. This does not make typing very congested if say the the laptop mode was the only way to use this. I’d have liked to see the kickstand rotating complete 360 degrees, as the keyboard can attach to the kickstand’s edges as well. Right now if you want to close the Switch 12, you have to attach the keyboard behind the display and arrange the Switch 12 in the tablet mode. Thankfully, Acer bundles in a cover, which ensures that your display isn’t exposed, when the Switch 12 is not in use.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 7.5/10
The second module of the Switch 12 is the keyboard module. It offers a 5-row chiclet keyboard with decently spaced out keys for a 12.5-inch 2-in-1. It has a metal frame on which the keypad is lodged. The travel on the keys is slightly less than a regular laptop and typing fast on the keyboard will take some time. The trackpoint (which Acer calls mouse stick) placed between the B,G,H keys acts as the trackpad and is quite sensitive. This is complemented by two separate left and right mouse click keys present just below the Space bar. These keys are conveniently places in a way that your thumb will rest on those, as you are using the trackpoint. Overall I liked the build quality of the keyboard. There was no noticeable flex at any point across the keyboard surface even when typing while the keyboard was placed on my lap. Getting the hang of the trackpoint and the left/right click buttons will take some time. But the implementation is certainly better than that found on the keyboard cover of the iPad Pro.
Publish date: July 27, 2016 9:00 am| Modified date: July 25, 2016 5:27 pm
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