Acer has itself a new Surface clone, a premium Windows 10 two-in-one with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. And Surface clones are nothing new, as HP, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and even Huawei have similar devices. So Acer sets its device, the Acer Switch Alpha 12, apart with a unique feature. It’s liquid cooled.
Specifically, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 has Acer’s new “LiquidLoop” system, which cools the sixth-gen Core i-powered 2-in-1 with a closed pipe system, using heat to propell the coolant through. There are no pumps here, as it’s one closed compact system, built for a compact device.
Acer outfits the Switch Alpha 12 with up a sixth-gen Core i7 processor, which makes this fanless device all the more impressive. Acer claims that LiquidLoop keeps things cool enough to prevent throttling and performance issues. And while we can’t verify that given our limited hands-on time with the device, we confirm it’s very quiet. Almost silent, even.
With its keyboard, it measure 11.5 x 7.93 x .62 inches, and weighs 2.76 pounds, making it thicker and heavier than the Surface Pro 4, which measures .51 inches thick with its keyboard and weighs 2.37 pounds, also with the keyboard.
So LiquidLoop results in a bulkier build and heavier device, but it’s still hard not to be impressed with what Acer accomplished here: a fanless Core i-powered 2-in-1. In fact, it’s the first such device for the sixth-gen Core i series.
Besides, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is a slick system in its own right. It has a 12-inch IPS display with a 2160 x 1440 resolution, and ships with up to 8GB of RAM, 64-bit Window 10 Pro or Home, and an Intel Core i3U, i5, or i7, each with Intel HD Graphics 520 and either a 128GB or 512GB SSD. Our demo unit had a full-sized USB 3.0 input as well as USB Type-C, though Acer is only touting the USB Type-C in promotional materials (we’ll have to wait until launch to see what the final Switch sports). It also has a magnetic smart dock and detachable keyboard cover that looks identical to Microsoft’s Type Cover. The good news is that it’s included with the Switch Alpha 12. Acer will also offer an optional active stylus.
The better news is that it performs well, with snappy, well-spaced keys and plenty of travel. In fact, it’s indistinguishable from Microsoft’s offering at a glance and touch.
There’s no doubt it feels like a premium product, with a fluid kickstand reminiscent of the HP Spectre X2’s. The display also looks great, as does its starting price of $599. The Core m-powered Surface Pro 4 starts at $899, and its keyboard costs at least $130 extra. We look forward to taking a closer look when we have one in for review. We’re very curious to see if LiquidLoop is up the task of keeping things smooth and cool.