Hybrids are all the rage these days. With the lightweight ease of a tablet and the functionality of a laptop, it’s hard to want to lug around anything else anymore. The trouble with such a popular product is the market influx that inevitably occurs once the tech giants out there realize the demand for it. Nearly every month there is a new shape-shifter taking over the shelves, making it a weighty task to simply choose the one that is right for you. After reviewing several of these products in varying price ranges, I have chosen a few favorites that suit my own personal tastes (and of course, budget). One of the gadgets I am most looking forward to is the forthcoming Acer Aspire Switch 10, a tablet that incorporates a completely detachable magnetic keyboard dock and endless positioning possibilities.
Leave it to Acer to keep things simple. The Aspire Switch 10 is pretty much exactly what its name indicates – a 10.1-inch Windows device that switches seamlessly from mode to mode. Obviously you have your tablet mode, which becomes a laptop when attached to the keyboard dock – pretty basic. However, where things get interesting is in the docking itself. Much like Lenovo’s Yoga, the Aspire Switch offers 360-degree screen rotation. But Acer sets itself apart from the pack by allowing the screen to actually detach completely from the base; the Yoga and other similar products are hard-wired to the keyboard base itself. This “Snap Hinge” technology as well as an assortment of color options should make the Switch popular amongst both the college crowd and jet-setting businessmen alike.
The Switch 10 runs on an Intel Atom Z3735F, which is actually an older Bay Trail chip, but seems more than sufficient to provide the promised eight hours of battery life per charge. The dock has a full-sized USB port, micro SD slot and a miniature HDMI port. Additionally, there will be another dock with a built-in hard drive in case the already included 32GB/64GB (depending on model) aren’t quite enough for you. The screen has a 1280x800 pixel resolution and IPS display with Acer’s “Zero Gap” bonding technique, which is designed to eliminate glare. On the outside are four front-facing speakers placed specifically so that the sound won’t be muffled regardless of the device’s position. The best part of all? The price. Acer announced that the Switch 10 will be available this June for only $270, with a higher-end model to follow. The $399 Switch 10 SW5-015 will boast a 1920x1200 pixel screen and a few added features, but from what has been released so far, looks otherwise nearly identical to the base model. All in all, this is an extremely functional tablet at a price that won’t break the bank.
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