Acer Aspire Switch 10 Review
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is one of those new breed of netbooks that is small in size, modest in price, but big on features and performance. It features a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, powered by an Intel Atom quad-core CPU, capable of changing into four different modes, and starts at under Php20K. With that in mind, is the Switch 10 worth the money? Find out by reading our full review below.
Design and Construction
During our first impressions, we wrote that we’re unimpressed with the Switch 10’s design. However, after a couple of weeks of using it, the device’s aesthetics and form factor grew on us and we started to appreciate the edgy feel and industrial look. To put it simply, it’s more utilitarian than decorative.
The Switch 10 comes in two parts: the tablet and the keyboard dock. The tablet part handles all the heavy lifting as it houses everything that it needs to work. It features the 10.1-inch IPS LCD on the front, plus the Full HD webcam right above it and two speakers below.
On the left side are the headset jack, power button and volume rocker. While on the right we have the microphone, microSD card slot, microUSB port, microHDMI, and the charging port. Take a look at the bottom and you’ll see the magnetic port and two slots to accommodate the keyboard dock.
Speaking of the keyboard dock, it only hosts the chiclet keys and USB port on the right side. There’s no extra battery or hard drive so it’s only there to boost your productivity and aid the tablet in changing into four different modes as seen in the photo below.
Switching modes is an easy task thanks to the magnetic port. If you want to use it as a tablet just pull it out from the dock and if want to use the keyboard again just align the tablet and the magnetic port will snap it back into place with no effort required.
Overall, the Switch 10 is a joy to work with. Some might find it a bit cramped but we found ourselves using it more often because it’s easy to lug around and doesn’t take up much space. In addition, the keyboard is quiet, the trackpad is smooth, and the touchscreen is very responsive which are great for a wide variety of tasks.
The Switch 10 is equipped with a 10.1-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1366 x 768 or equal to 155ppi, and Acer’s Zero Air Gap technology so images appear crisp and vibrant with good viewing angles. In addition, it also features the Acer Lumiflex which optimizes your screen’s visibility especially when used outdoors.
At 10.1-inches, it’s not exactly the ideal display size if you’re going for maximum productivity especially if you need to work with multiple windows. But if you’re just browsing social media networks, watching movies, or working on MS Word or PowerPoint, the Switch 10’s display size will suffice.
Thanks to its good display and dual front speakers, the Switch 10 is a good multimedia companion. When watching movies, we prefer using it in tablet mode or tent mode for better handling or stability.
Sounds coming from the speakers are audible and crisp but a bit weak when it comes to loudness. So if you’re going to use this for movies or video calls, we suggest using an external speaker or a good pair of headphones.
The Switch 10 comes with Windows 8.1 with free MS Office Home and Student 2013 out of the box along with a few pre-installed apps like AccuWeather for Windows 8, Amazon, Kindle, TuneIn Radio, and Zinio Reader. Also included are Acer’s utilities like the Acer Docs, Acer Media, Acer Photo, Acer Portal, to name a few.
One of the most useful tools included is the Acer Quick Access which brings up a menu of toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, Adaptive Brightness, Optimized Display Scaling, and LumiFlex. For the purist, there’s also a toggle to allow the Switch 10 to automatically boot to desktop instead of Metro.
Powering the Switch 10 is a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3745 quad-core processor, Intel HD Graphics, 2GB of RAM, 32GB SSD (22.3GB usable), and Windows 8.1. It boots up and shuts down really quick while the performance is smooth and very responsive especially when it comes to basic tasks like working on MS Office and Internet surfing. We extracted its Windows Experience Index and it showed a base score of 4.2 with the bottleneck at the Desktop graphics department.
With that in mind, don’t expect the Switch 10 to run blazingly fast on hardware-demanding software. It will be able to run Photoshop and some light PC games but it won’t be as fast compared to a notebook with a better CPU and dedicated GPU.
We ran our routine battery test on the Switch 10 using a 1080p movie file playing in Airplane mode at 50% brightness with a headphone plugged in at 50% volume. The result is 8.33 hours worth of playback which is good for long haul flights. But when it comes to a normal work day with a little gaming on the side, it was able to last an average of 6 to 7 hours.
To conclude, the Acer Aspire Switch 10 is an embodiment of what a new netbook should be. It has a great build, portable design, affordable price tag, and capable of multiple modes – a feature that is mostly found on more expensive laptops.
There would be trade-offs of course, like the smaller display size, limited internal storage, single USB port, and limited performance. But based on the pros, users like businessmen, travelers, students, and other professionals who need to do some work on the go will definitely appreciate what the Switch 10 can offer.
Acer Aspire Switch 10 specs:
10.1-inch IPS LCD @ 1366×768 pixels
1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3745 quad-core processor
Intel HD Graphics
2GB DDR3 RAM
32GB eMMC internal storage
up to 64GB via microSD card slot
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2×2 MIMO technology
micro USB 2.0 port
micro HDMI port
USB 2.0 port (on dock)
Full HD webcam
MS Office Home and Student 2013
1.29 lbs (weight)
What we liked about it:
* Portable size
* Metallic build
* Multi-mode capabilities
* Good display quality
* Sub-Php20K price tag
* Good performance for its caliber
* Good battery life
What we didn’t like:
* Small display size
* Small keyboard
* Only one USB port available
* Weak speakers
* Limited internal storage (22.3GB usable)