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Acer Aspire Switch 11 V Tablet and Keyboard: Value Added: Page 2 of 3

This 2-in-1 unit threads the price/performance needle to satisfy customers who need to carry both a laptop and tablet. By James E. Gaskin

Getting to Work
The question is simple: Is this just an expensive tablet with an attached keyboard, or a small yet flexible touchscreen laptop? Can it do real work?

We downloaded and installed LibreOffice rather than fighting through the Microsoft Office trial activation. Wondering whether the mobile Intel processor would keep up, we tried text documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings. All worked crisply. Using a pen on the drawing pages helped the quality quite a bit, even though we didn't have Acer's optional Active Stylus ($29.99 retail).

Did this work as fast as a standard laptop with an Intel i3 processor? Sure felt like that, although part of the general snappiness may be the SSD rather than the CPU. The keyboard works as well as those on any other 11.6-inch laptop. The keyboard limitations are mechanical, not Acer's design. In fact, the trackpad is larger than on most similar-size laptops, and the nondifferentiated buttons function and click better than most we've used.

One issue? Laptops have their internals in the keyboard, making the screen lighter. The Acer Switch 11 V has them in the display portion, making it a little top-heavy. When you lean the screen back too far it tries to fall over. Most of the time, we were fine and things stayed where we expected.

The next question is whether the 2-in-1 hybrid design adds value or aggravation. All in all, we came down on the side of value, especially in certain situations.

Several laptops have touchscreen displays that let you fold the screen all the way over and use it like a tablet. But that leaves the keys exposed. Acer cleverly lets you attach the display to the keyboard facing either direction. When we used it that way and folded it into pure tablet mode, the keys were protected. We liked that, and we liked the flexibility of arranging the Switch 11 V in various ways that made presentations easier. Or you can pull the display off and pass it around like a tablet.

Acer threaded the needle with the Switch 11 V 2-in-1 tablet/laptop/laplet: It’s not as expensive as a pure Windows 10 tablet or a small touchscreen laptop. It has enough power to do standard office work without adding in the higher-performing but higher-cost i3, i5, or i7 CPU. That's what pushes the Windows Surface tablets with keyboards way higher up the price scale.

This sweet spot of performance, size, light weight, and flexibility should appeal to a fair number of users. If you or your customers ever feel the need to carry both a laptop and tablet, the Acer Switch 11 V 2-in-1 should be on your shopping list. With minimal compromises, it is both a good laptop and tablet. Tabtop, anyone?

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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