I didn’t get to see Acer’s ‘PC Phone’ launch at IFA as I was heading to their booth to check out the new Switch range, a new Chromebook and the Cloudbook. Since then I’ve tried to find out more details about the implementation and the dock and I’ve made some enquiries. The Acer Jade Primo – ‘your pocket PC’ – is the first real product we’ve seen demonstrating the new technologies that will enable your phone to be your desktop. Windows 10 Mobile, Continuum and USB-3.1.
IFA 2015 has brought us a range of new and upgraded convertible PCs but the one that I’ve had at the top of my list for a while is the Acer Switch 11V which seems to offer just the right balance of features for a Core M 2-in-1. The problem is that Lenovo are launching the Miix 700 which might be an even better option because it uses the latest Core M generation. The Acer Switch 11V has taken so long to get to market that it’s still using the first generation. Acer might need to adjust some pricing on the 11V if they want to see it compete successfully.
Acer have done a reasonable job of keeping the looks and plastics from feeling cheap but the Switch 11V isn’t a style-statement. Inside you’ll find a ‘proper’ SSD connected via a SATA port. Speeds aren’t known at this stage but expect it to outperform something like the Surface 3. The performance of the Switch 11V can’t be determined by Core M model number because, as with all Core M builds, it depends on how well the Acer engineers have designed the internal airflow and heat-sinking. A full test will be needed to determine that.
I liked the keyboard but the trackpad needs longer term testing before it can be evaluated.
A 28 Wh battery inside the Acer Switch 11V is a little small when you compare it to the 41 Wh of the Lenovo Miix 700 and that’s going to really affect battery life. If you’re looking for an all-day battery-powered mobile PC solution the Switch 11V isn’t it.
Take a look at the video to get a good overview of the Acer Aspire Switch 11V.
The Acer Cloudbook 11 CB3-111-C670 Windows 10 laptop is available at a price of just $169. If you want the more sensible 32 GB version you’re still only looking at $189. For a laptop that runs a new Braswell processor and weighs just 2.54 pounds you can’t ignore it. So I didn’t, as I passed through the Acer booth at IFA 2015. I was particularly interested in testing the keyboard.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10V takes the new 11V design and shrinks it down a little to make an overall improvement on the original Switch 10. There’s an Atom X5 (Z8300) on the inside along with a Full HD screen. Hands-on video at the base of this article.
I scored this 8/10 when I reviewed it at Notebookcheck recently. The Acer Switch 10E didn’t excite me when I unboxed it but it turned out to be a good little convertible tablet. It was $279 when I reviewed it but it’s on offer now for just $239. That’s a great deal.
Update 23 August : “Currently unavailable.”
Acer Switch 10E on offer at $239 (Amazon.com)
The low-resolution touchscreen is a good IPS panel with surprisingly high brightness and reasonable color range and accuracy, the keyboard is solid and usable and the battery life is also OK. I just voted it my #1 travel PC!
The very interesting Acer Aspire Switch 11V that was announced in April is now shipping. The Acer Aspire switch 11V SW5-173-614T comes with an Intel Core M, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 500GB hard drive and Windows 8.1 although some retailers are showing Windows 10 as the operating system. The price on the Amazon Germany website is €699 (566.19 before tax = $US 632 approx.)
Acer Aspire Switch 11V. Expected at Computex, 2015 (June)
Please, if you are looking at low-cost laptops and reading articles today that say the new Acer Aspire One Cloudbook is a Chromebook competitor, or worse, uses the K word, think again. It’s not. A stream of articles published after the launch of the Acer Cloudbook today will have you believe that price is the way to compare between the two laptop segments but they are wrong because even at the same price, the Cloudbook is nothing like a Chromebook. Even if you ignore he Chromebook comparisons there’s another issue. The 16 GB Cloudbook is not exactly going to be barrier-free with Windows.
A touchscreen detachable for $220! Amazon have an offer on the Acer Aspire Switch 10 right now, just as the Switch 10E is feeding into retail channels. I’m testing one of those right now and wondering why you would buy one when the original Switch 10, a device I’ve also tested in-depth, is available for such a good price. You can even get the 64 GB version for $270. Amazon also have global shipping available on this product.
One thing you’ll need to do is to think about Windows 10 before you buy. There have been some successes and some issues reported by existing Switch 10 users when upgrading to Windows 10 but if you’re not worried about Windows 10 then the Switch 10 is immediately a good deal for this price.
The screen is a 1280 x 800 resolution model but still has wide viewing angles. 32 GB storage is enough for a good range of Windows Store applications and this tablet will also give you HDMI output, supports Miracast and comes with a one-year Office 365 license.
Battery life is in the 5 – 6 hours range for ‘WiFi-on Web’ and there’s a reasonably good keyboard. Some users have ha issues with the trackpad but I didn’t experience it in my testing. Overall it’s a good package.
Average rating at Amazon is 3.8 out of 5 stars with 385 reviews. It’s been a popular buy and it’s been the #1 product in the database for months. (Currently #2 in our popularity Top 10)
I’ve just completed a Windows 10 install on the low-cost Acer ES1-111M (AKA E11) laptop, my favorite fanless, lightweight, $200 laptop. Everything is working but you’ll need to grab some drivers from Acer to make sure it all works.
I installed from a USB stick as I did with the Acer Iconia W4 but accidentally booted from the USB stick and wiped everything out with a fresh install thinking it was an upgrade. Thank goodness that everything is now working, including camera and the Synaptics touchpad which appears to have been an issue for others.
Update: My ES1-111M is now running the post-release Insider Build 10525
This is my first laptop-based Windows 10 install (Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Intel NUC and Acer Iconia Tab W4 are the other devices I’m testing) so it will give me my first insight into how the desktop mode works on a small-screen laptop. The Aspire ES1-111M doesn’t have a touchscreen, comes with 32GB eMMC (soldered) and 2GB RAM (in a slot.) I’ve installed an Intel 7260 WiFi-N card which is more compatible than the stock WiFi card (Marvell or Broadcom depending on the model variant you buy.) This little laptop comes with a full size SD card slot, full-size USB 3.0 + USB 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI port and a Gigabit Ethernet port so if you’re hacking around building Linux-based routers or HTPCs, the ES1-111M is a great choice. It’s silent too!
16.2 GB of the 32 GB (29 GB formatted) eMMC is available after the Windows 10 (10130 ISO) install and a first round of updates. There’s no recovery partition so save a recovery image as soon as you have a stable build, especially if you wiped the Windows 8 recovery partition like I did.
Windows 10 install was problem-free (build 10130) but the touchpad wasn’t working. You’ll need to connect a mouse to complete the install. The Synaptics touchpad driver on Acer’s site didn’t help so I started working through the drivers for the ES1 that I found through the Acer Germany website. (Note that the Edge browser doesn’t work with their download page. I used Chrome.)
The important drivers are available here from the Acer Germany website. (I had problems with the Acer US website.)
Download the Chipset, DPTF, IO Drivers, MBI and TXE drivers. After installing these drivers there were no problems listed in the Device Manager and the touchpad was working.
[If Acer removes the drivers I’ve uploaded a zip file of the drivers I used here. Later builds of the Windows 10 preview might not need these drivers.]
Note that the Chipset driver took minutes to start up and while I was waiting, thinking it wasn’t working, I used compatibility mode to run the setup.exe file several times. Eventually two install windows popped up so I don’t know whether it just took a long time or whether compatibility mode worked. Try running the setup file as normal and waiting 5 minutes. If you don’t see an install windows, try compatibility mode. (Right-click on Setup and choose Troubleshoot Compatibility.)
As on Windows 8, I have some issues with the touchpad locking up, regularly, but I’ll need to check internal hardware and screws because I’ve taken the ES1 apart many, many times.
Update: After installing all the WIndows drivers the touchpad is just about usable. I turned of the Touchpad Delay feature in Windows settings which may also have helped but there’s still an occasional lock-up. Note: I’m using Insider build th2 10525 too.
Testing will continue with a look at battery life, performance and other features but here’s the status so far. (Updating.)
Windows 10 tests on the Acer Aspire ES1-111M
Working: Gigabit Ethernet, webcam, touchpad, brightness, audio, Bluetooth (some issues in this build though), WiFI (Intel Wireless-N 7260 upgrade – works well), HDMI (extended display), keyboard.
Working with additional install: Microphone / Cortana: Install the Realtek audio driver from the Acer drivers site and make sure the Microphone Boost is set to +20.0 dB
Your feedback on Windows 10 is always welcome. Have you tested it? What do you think of the UI, the features? My preview review of Windows 10 is here.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 V was the undisputed #1 most-popular product in our database over the last 12 months but its time might come to an end if the Switch 10 V model, with Intel Atom X5, takes over at a good price. The Switch 10 V comes with a Full HD 1920 x 1200 screen, a re-designed chassis and is built around the Intel Atom X5 processor. Mobilegeeks got a look at it in Taiwan today.
Finally. The Acer Switch 11 V gets some airtime at Computex and the 5 minute overview gives us the first information on availability. It was announced at an Acer event in April but there weren’t any details about availability and Acer have been quiet ever since. Don’t be shy, Acer, because this looks like a really nice Core-M based 2-in-1 and if the price is right it will certainly compete with the Surface 3. The latest information from Tech Reporter tells us that it will be available “sometime in July.”
Mobile gaming is coming to your hand. Acer have just announced the Acer Predator 8 tablet running on an Intel Atom X7.
Acer Predator 8 runs on Atom X7
It’s a rugged 8-inch tablet with 4 speakers and running Android on an Intel Atom X7 platform. Intel X7 is the highest-performing Atom platform and has a much-improved graphics capability over the Baytrail-T platform and should work well for the most demanding app-store games on Android. A rugged, high-performance Android tablet has other uses too so let’s keep an eye on this one for ultra mobile computing uses.
This is breaking news. We’re trying to get new information for you so check back here for more information as we find it.