Acer Aspire Switch 11v Review: This Windows 10 tablet can be quickly and cleanly converted into a laptop using the bundled keyboard dock. But how does it compare to rival Windows 10 hybrid devices like the Surface Pro and Lenovo’s Yoga Tab Pro? Here’s our full review of the Switch 11v.
Design and keyboard dock
Here at the tail end of 2015, we’ve reviewed a fair few Windows 10 tablets that can be quickly converted into a laptop using a handy keyboard dock, which sometimes comes bundled with the tablet and sometimes has to be bought separately. The most famous are Microsoft’s own Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4 tablets, which use a funky soft cover that features a built-in keyboard on the inner side. However, there are plenty of options from other manufacturers including Taiwanese giant Acer.
The Acer Aspire Switch 11v is a Windows 10 tablet that comes packing a detachable plastic keyboard, which touch typists will likely prefer to Microsoft’s one-piece keyboard cover. Connecting the two is dead simple; just lower the tablet onto the keyboard’s docking mechanism and the powerful magnets automatically snap the two together, holding them firm. WIth that done, the tablet and board are paired and you’re good to go.
The Aspire Switch 11v is a serious improvement on 2014’s Aspire Switch 10, which was a little top-heavy. Now you can tilt the screen right back and the Switch 11v won’t overbalance, while the docking procedure is refreshingly simple. And that keyboard really is a joy to use, offering plenty of space for the keys (only the arrow keys are a little crushed) as well as the responsive touchpad.
My only complaint is that the package as a whole is quite heavy. At close to 1.5kg, you’ll definitely feel the Aspire Switch 11v when it’s sat in your backpack. Still, the tablet and dock are both sturdy and can take a few knocks without any issue.
Aside from that keyboard dock, you shouldn’t expect much extra pizzazz with the Aspire Switch 11v. You don’t get any funky built-in projectors, like you do with the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro, for instance.
Screen and media
If you’re after an entertainment or work device to carry around, Acer’s 11.6-inch IPS display should satisfy you. The 1920×1200 pixel resolution produces sharp images and it’s bright enough for comfortable outdoors use too. It isn’t the most vibrant panel around and contrast levels could be stronger, but viewing angles are pleasingly wide so you get a good view even when the screen is tilted.
The Aspire Switch 11v also packs plenty of storage space, with 60GB to play around with. That’s especially good news for anyone who uses a lot of creative software, or who wants to carry a decent selection of movies and TV shows around. And if you want to enjoy video without the hindrance of headphones, the built-in speakers are more powerful than expected.
Performance and battery life
An Intel Core M processor backed up by 4GB of RAM keeps the Aspire Switch 11v running smoothly, whether you’re enjoying HD movies, messing around in Office or playing games that aren’t too demanding. I usually had a fair few applications running at one time and rarely saw any kind of stuttering, while the tablet booted up in just under half a minute.
Of course, if you’re hoping to punish your new Windows 10 tablet with some video editing or other demanding tasks, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Yoga Tab 3 Pro are a better choice thanks to their choice of Core i5 and Core i7 processors. However, the Switch 11v at least stays nice and cool, with no need for noisy fans to get rid of excess heat.
Battery life is about average for a Windows 10 tablet. You can expect roughly four to five hours of mixed use (a bit of web browsing, video playback, Office work and the odd spot of gaming) per charge.
The Acer Aspire Switch 11v may not dazzle with special features like the Yoga Tab 3 Pro’s projector, or come with a responsive and accurate stylus like Microsoft’s Surface tablets. And sure, the Core M processor lacks the impressive power of its Core i brethren. But the Switch 11v is a well-designed Windows 10 tablet that quickly and easily converts into a laptop, while that keyboard is more likely to appease touch typists than the Surface’s one-piece Type Cover. If you’re not bothered about flashy features or desktop levels of performance, the Switch 11v is a solid choice.