Acer Switch 3 & 5 hands-on review: Acer wants to offer you a cheaper version of the Surface
Acer launched a duo of new 2-in-1 devices today, the Switch 3 and Switch 5. The new devices both run Windows 10 and are comparable in looks and functionality to Microsoft’s own Surface range.
Looks-wise, it’s full marks for both the Acer Switch 3 and 5. Yes, they’re essentially minimalist black oblongs. But that works. When folded, they feel compact and solid in your hand. The only issue you might have with these 2-in-1s is with the detachable keyboard. I’ll explain.
When you flip out the fully retractable kickstand – which works really well by the way – it creates a slight lip that slopes and lifts the keyboard about a centimetre off the surface. This creates a bit of bounce when you’re typing. It’s not huge, or uncontrollable, but it’s there and it does feel strange. On the plus side, the spacing of the keys is wonderful. So pros and cons here.
Both the 3 and 5 have good screens. The 5’s is obviously the better of the two. But you have to go searching to really spot the improved clarity. Acer is very keen on the viewing angles of both displays. All 178 degrees of them. But in truth, it’s really not something you’re ever going to notice or care about… I didn’t.
Ways to unlock a device seem to be in vogue right now. Samsung gave users a tonne of different ways to unlock the S8, and Acer has boosted its unlocking arsenal too. The Switches come with fingerprint sensors and are compatible with Windows 10. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to test either – come back when we’ve written the full review if this a make-or-break purchasing decision for you.
Acer Switch 5: Specs
As the name suggests, this is the more premium of the two.
- Performance: It has up to a 7th-generation Intel i5 or i7 processor, coupled with an Acer LiquidLoop (fanless) design cooling system for minimal noise
- Battery: 10.5 hours
- Display: There’s a 12in FHD+ touch display with IPS, giving you a 2,160 x 1,440 display – Acer is also keen to point out its “wide 178-degree viewing angle”
- Storage: 256GB or 512GB SSD and up to 8GB of RAM; microSD card slot available, too
- Ports: DisplayPort, HDMI, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and three USB Type-A ports, as well as audio input for a microphone audio output for speakers and Bluetooth 4
- Size and weight: (Tablet alone) 292 x 201.8 x 12mm; 0.92kg
- Price: The Acer Switch 5 will be available in June with prices starting at €1,099. UK pricing TBC.
Acer Switch 3: Specs
This is the more modest of the two. It’s also the one more people are going to buy, purely because it’s priced more competitively. It doesn’t have the same high-end specs as its sibling, but it still looks great and makes for a perfectly good 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet.
- Performance: Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron processors
- Battery: 8 hours
- Display: There’s a 12.2in FHD touch display with IPS, giving you a 1,920 x 1,200 display – Acer is also keen to point out it’s “wide 178-degree viewing angle”.
- Storage: 32GB, 64GB or 128GB eMMC memory and up to 4GB of RAM; microSD card slot available, too
- Ports: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C port; 1x USB 3.1 Type-A port and Bluetooth 4.
- Size and weight: (Tablet alone) 295 x 201 x 16.3mm; 0.9kg
- Price: The Acer Switch 5 will be available in June with prices starting at €499. UK pricing TBC.