- Windows 10 pre-installed
- Good sound quality
- Reasonable performance
- A touch too expensive
- Reflective screen
What is the Acer Aspire Switch 11 V?
The 11 V is the latest model in Acer’s Switch range of convertible tablets. As a tablet, it’s a well-constructed device built with Windows 10 Home 64-bit edition preinstalled. But pair it with the included keyboard dock and the Switch becomes a capable notebook.
Despite its flexibility and reasonable specifications, the £550/$825 asking price is a little steep for what’s on offer.
Design and Features
The overall design of the Acer Switch series hasn’t changed much since the first one rolled off the manufacturing plant many moons ago.
I’m not overly fond of the Switch’s brushed-silver casing and am of the opinion that there are far better-looking convertibles out there. It isn’t an eyesore; it just isn’t quite as alluring as other metallic-finished products I’ve seen in recent months, such as the Dell XPS 12.
The Switch 11 V’s design is also on the chunky side. The tablet and keyboard parts together measure 299 x 206 x 21mm, with each device weighing around 800g. At 1.6kg then, it’s quite weighty for an 11.6-inch convertible.
However, the Switch’s build quality is quite good. I wouldn’t recommend you go drop-testing it on the kitchen floor, but for the most part it will withstand the rigours of a student backpack or the busy tussle of the rush-hour commute.
There’s a solid “click” when you dock the tablet section with the keyboard, and both sections feel sturdy enough.
The tablet section snaps to the dock via a long magnetic strip at the base of the connector on the rear of the keyboard/dock, meaning there’s no additional button or unlock switch on the base.
The magnets are strong enough to ensure that the clasp is held firmly in position, unlikely to separate should you pick up the Switch either by the tablet or the keyboard section.
However, I was pleased to see that the two parts of the device are physically connected via a raised 10-pin slot in the centre of the magnetic strip. This is a far better option than a Bluetooth connection, and allows for a better transfer between the single USB 3.0 port located to one side of the keyboard.
In addition to accessing the USB port, the model I tested featured a 500GB hard drive built directly into the keyboard/dock section, activated when you snap the two sections together.
The keyboard/dock section is pleasant to type on. In general, Acer laptops have great keyboards – and this remains true of the Switch 11 V. Keys are generously sized and well spaced, and the trackpad is accurate.
When it comes to connectivity, the tablet section includes a micro-USB port, micro-HDMI port, a headset jack, and a microSD card reader; all to the left of the screen.
The power button with a small LED indicating power/charge, volume rocker and a Windows Home button sit on the tablet’s right-hand side.
The 11.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel on the Switch 11 V isn’t too bad, at least for everyday use. It’s clear and has a good level of brightness. Colours are rich, and with this being an IPS panel, viewing angles are inherently good.
I’m not a big fan of the glossy Gorilla Glass screen that’s fitted over the actual panel, however. Acer claims it’s there to help reduce reflections and smudges. In reality it does a reasonable job, but only in darker environments. Should you end up sitting under the office light, you’ll soon find yourself having to deal with significant glare.
What’s more, the glossy pane tends to attract dust, cat hair and fingerprints aplenty – make sure you have a cloth handy to wipe over the surface.
For the most part, the screen will suffice for your daily commute or when you need to catch up with some work. Using it all day may become an issue, however
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V is ahead of most of the competition in that it comes with Windows 10 Home edition preinstalled. This will save you from having to go through Microsoft’s laborious upgrade process.
The company has loaded the OS with its usual assortment of software, which includes abDocs, abPhoto and abFiles. These tools will help you to backup, share and organise your content between devices, and with friends and family.
You also get the Acer Care Centre, Acer Portal, Acer Hover Access, Acer Explorer and countless other desktop apps.
Acer has also bundled in a copy of McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security and the Avast SecureLine VPN program. Finally, there’s a set of desktop shortcuts to Amazon, eBay and Booking.com.
Generally speaking, the Acer apps do little than provide another layer from which to access an already easily accessible Windows function. I’d prefer they weren’t installed, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
The Aspire Switch 11 V offers a pleasing set of hardware specifications. It’s powered by an Intel Core M-5Y10C processor, has 4GB of LPDDR3 memory and features a 60GB Kingston SSD.
The Broadwell-based 5Y10C is a dual-core processor often found in tablets and convertible products such as the Switch. Although the integrated HD Graphics 5300 GPU will be unable to handle the likes of Star Wars: Battlefront at the highest possible settings, for some lightweight gaming it’ll do the job well enough.
For everyday tasks it’s a good combination of hardware. However, the ATTO benchmark I ran on the 60GB SSD scored 75.8MB/sec write and 502MB/sec read on the 8,192KB test. This suggests that that installing new programs and updates will probably take significantly longer than usual.
In Geekbench, the Acer scored 3,869 in the multi-core test, and 2,047 in the single-core test. Both figures are decent for a convertible, and not too far off some similarly priced laptops. In the final 3DMark 11 test, the Switch’s overall score of 788is rather limited.
Despite its middling benchmark results, the Aspire Switch performs well for basic day-to-day duties. It’s great for surfing, watching video, Skype calls and some lightweight gaming.
Providing you don’t expect it to render a Full HD video or perform some other CPU-intensive task, you’ll get along fine with the Switch.
Acer claims the Switch’s 34.5Wh battery will last for up to 8 hours with mixed use. In the time I spent with the device it fell short of Acer’s predictions – but only just. It lasted for an average of around 7 hours, which involved some light browsing, installing/uninstalling some programs, typing and playing around with an Atari 7800 emulator.
As you’d expect, battery life deteriorated fairly rapidly the moment I started to watch some HD content: down to just 3.5-hours – this is enough for the average movie at least. Heavy-duty graphical gaming had pretty much the same effect.
Camera and Sound
It’s probably of no surprise that the front- and rear-mounted cameras on the Aspire Switch 11 V aren’t the greatest to ever grace a device. The iPhoneographers of the world are hardly going to jump ship over this.
However, the rear camera is capable of 1080p Full HD recording – although I felt the images were a little too grainy what serious photographers would be after. Likewise, the front 720p 1.3-megapixel camera is good enough for Skype calls, for example, but little else.
The Switch’s sound quality, however, is really quite good. The two speakers boast Dolby Home Theater support, with as near-perfect sound reproduction as you can expect from a tablet. The only slightly negative aspect is the lack of a meaty bass, but that’s to be expected. What the Switch does deliver is generally more than enough for the casual viewer.
Should I buy the Acer Aspire Switch 11 V?
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V has decent screen, good keyboard and is tough enough for everyday duties. Plus, you get the whole Windows 10 benefit as well.
There are some issues, however. The weight of the device will be a problem if you want to carry the Acer Switch around with you for prolonged periods. In addition, it offers a relatively short battery life when viewing media and other performance hitting tasks. Then we come to the Acer Switch’s overall cost.
Convertibles such as the Asus Transformer Book T100A offer superb web browsing and document editing for less – al though you’ll have to sacrifice the M processor for Intel’s weaker Atom chip.
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V is a reasonably well designed Windows 10 convertible. It has its issues, but in general the solid performance and a decent screen tip the scales in its favour.
Scores In Detail
- Battery Life : 7/10
- Build Quality : 8/10
- Keyboard : 8/10
- Screen Quality : 8/10
- Touchpad : 8/10
- Value : 6/10