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.
The 11-12 inch screen size is perfect for mobile productivity and with processing power on the rise and design slimming down it gets more interesting every week. Intel’s Core M has a lot to do with the amount of activity in the sector and it might just be responsible for the new Acer Aspire Switch 11 V that got announced today. There aren’t many details available though as Acer only revealed that it would have improved ergonomics and more processing power. There’s one image available too.
Core M is a product borne of the feature that was Scenario Design Power (SDP) which itself was an extended ability to monitor and react to processor and product temperature by changing clockrates across CPU and GPU cores. I called it smoke and mirrors at the time because Intel never actually revealed what ‘scenario’ they were talking about. The scenario was actually a continuation of what Intel had done with the Ultrabook project. Touch, 2-in-1, responsive, mobile and, ultimately, fanless systems with Core-class features and enough power to cover mainstream users scenarios were to be the next generation consumer PC.
Early products based on the Y-series Core CPUs were poor. I remember testing the first Yoga 11S and seeing performance levels at half of what an Ultrabook could produce. A Fujitsu Q704 down-clocked by about 50% when you took it out of the keyboard dock to improve battery life and cut case temperature. A fanless HP Pro X2 410 was so sensitive to ambient heat that I could speed it up by pointing a desk fan at the rear of the tablet.
Like the Ultrabook project (which made us suffer with high prices before it finally worked out to be a game-changer,) the road to fanless has been rocky but were there now and Core M is exactly the marketing relaunch that Y-series and SDP needed.
Core M enables
Core M enables more than just new designs. It’s one of the smallest Core processors that Intel produce and with that comes cost reductions. It’s also a gift to designers as it reduces component count and allows flexibility in thermal design. It enables mainboards to sit close to other components. It reduces the need for big, expensive batteries.
In 2012 we were seeing 45 Wh batteries in Ultrabooks laptops but today’s Core M designs are based around a 35 Wh design and still offer over 5 hours of battery life. In 2007 it took 10-12 watts of energy to drive a web browsing experience. It’s now down to 5-6W now and if someone can work out how to cut the energy required by a screen backlight we’ll be down another 30%. Sealing a battery inside a casing also reduces the need for certified batteries casings and prevents people tinkering. Reducing support costs, shipping costs and storage costs are all part of the plan.
Ideally a consumer tablet is easy to hold and the tablet PCs of the past were a pathetic offering. The Samsung XE700 broke the mold in 2011 with a 826 gram 11.6-inch specification and since then we’ve seen 11.6-inch tablet weights come down to just over 700 grams. In the 10-inch space it’s reached 550 grams which is more than acceptable. As we move towards the removal of most physical ports, a further reduction in battery size, storage size and a slimming of the screen layers we’ll see larger tablets at the same human-friendly weight. With larger tablets comes more space to build a better keyboard and with Core M you reach a point where processing power is at the consumer PC level. Being able to deliver the perfect consumer tablet along with the most flexible operating system, the power to do everything and a keyboard that is as productive is possible is real 2-in-1. Bigger products generally command a higher price too so the 12.5-inch size we’re seeing are hitting the sweet spot in many ways.
The Acer Switch 12 shows us that there’s another generation to go before we hit all the sweet spots though. This low-cost design (plastics, styling, weight, size) is too heavy to be a consumer tablet but Acer have focused well on making this a very usable tablet in other ways. It’s a great laptop and if you have time you can think of some crazy ways to use it…
The digitizer brings in more tablet value and the removable wireless keyboard is simple but very, very effective. The Acer Aspire Switch 12 is a good product now and a true 2-in-1 that anyone would be happy to have as an office PC but just think about how the design could improve by being lighter and more stylish. This is a $699 laptop today with the power of a basic Ultrabook of 2013 that cost $999. You’ll see this at $649 or less soon and this time next year we’ll be talking about 20% improvements in power, battery life, weight and again, price. We might also be talking about a wire-free experience. That stand could turn into a removable WiGig breakout box.
A few years ago I bought an Acer W510. This Clovertrail-based 10-inch tablet was light but weak. It served well on holidays and I experimented with it as a desktop but for mainstream users it was far from the mark. Today we’ve reached a refinement called Core M that’s making 2-in-1’s extremely attractive as, well, a true 2-in-1. Windows 10 might just get the praise it needs too and if the Windows Store becomes a first-class citizen of the ‘apps’ world then the stars will align.
For me the stars have already aligned. I love the Switch 12 and I want to keep it. If I didn’t have a Surface Pro 3 here (on long-term loan from Intel) I’d probably order one. I’ve tested video encoding, gaming and I’ve seen some excellent AC WiFi speeds in my office. 20 MB/s file transfers from the local NAS? Yes please! It boots Ubuntu from a USB stick without issues and that’s a security bonus in my opinion. I love the ergonomic and presentation possibilities of the removable keyboard and digitizer. I adore the screen. Most of all I love how I can do everything I need without any noise whatsoever.
If you’re thinking about the Acer Aspire Switch 12 too then you need to remember that the ASUS Transformer T300 Chi is coming soon, for the same price. It’s likely to have a better keyboard and it will definitely have a lighter tablet. It will probably perform as well as the Switch 12 and it has a sensible clam-shell design. It looks a lot more stylish. The built-in stand on the Acer Switch 12 does it for me though and there’s one more thing you need to know. The Acer Switch 12 is more lappable than most laptops.