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Acer Aspire Switch 10 E hands-on review

Albeit a little bulky, Acer’s Aspire Switch 10 was an impressive transformable and now we get to go hands-on with its successor, the Switch 10 E.

Acer’s just unveiled a slew of new laptops, transformables, wearables and mobile devices at its annual product launch event in New York and amongst them was the new Aspire Switch 10 E – one member of a newly minted product family from the Taiwanese company.

There are two sides to the new Switch 10 E, the primary being the new colourful plastic-bodied options. An array of six colour choices, textured for a more personal feel – in Acer’s opinion, that should apparently fall in line with the season’s most popular colours when they eventually hit store shelves.

In the hand, dock or no dock these compact computers feel solid and sturdy for the most part although despite assurances from Acer we’re not entirely confident in the strength of the new docking mechanism. The company’s Snap Hinge 2 design makes uniting and separating the tablet from the keyboard a doddle, however, with what feels like only strong magnets to keep both halves of the device together, a firm knock may have enough power to dislodge them – we didn’t try to find out whether this was the case front of the Acer representatives though.

As before you’re graced with a wealth of ports on the tablet, from the humble headphone jack to a microUSB port for charging and data, a microHDMI out for connecting to an additional display and a microSD slot for expandability. Docking the Switch 10 E also grants you access to a full-sized USB port on the keyboard side of the equation.

There’s a 10.1-inch IPS LCD on show with decent viewing angles and a serviceable 1280×800 resolution. Maximum brightness and contrast don’t seem to be particularly strong, but that’s likely a by-product of the device’s intended affordable price tag.

Elsewhere there’s a refreshed Intel Atom processor and the option of 1GB or 2GB of DDR3 RAM depending on your budget and your desire for enhanced performance. Aside from the SD card slot, which takes anything up to 64GBs, there’s a humble 32GB of inbuilt flash storage that drops to about 20GB by the time the OS is installed (similarly to its predecessor) and on the imaging side there are 2-megapixel cameras both front and back.

Speaking of operating systems, at launch the Switch 10 E will arrive running Windows 8.1 with the familiar level of duality the platform has become synonymous for, however Windows 10 updates are just around the corner and the colourful experience will no doubt marry up nicely with the physical attributes of these new, more fun-loving Switches.

Acer’s SwitchLock technology is an interesting addition too, automatically detecting when you attempt to marry the tablet to someone elses HDD. It’s a security feature that locks prying eyes out from your content, although it appears to be aimed almost exclusively at other Switch 10 users.

The Gorilla Glass-laden version of the Switch 10 looks a lot like the original.

Aside from the six aforementioned colourful plastic variants, there will also be a new alternative Switch 10, which adopts the aesthetics of the first-generation machine save for the integration of a Gorilla Glass 4 back for a more premium feel. This special version will only be available in white and Acer says it’s designed to pay homage to the one of the company’s most popular ultrabooks, which also sported a Gorilla Glass-laden chassis.

Weight-wise the new Switch 10 Es don’t feel too hefty with tablet and keyboard collectively weighing in at 1.2KGs, but that comes as a result of batteries that promise an impressive 12 hours of use.

We’re still waiting on final availability but expect the new Aspire Switch 10 E to touch down in May this year with a starting price of £279.99.

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