- Latchless hinge design
- Solid battery life
- Quality keyboard and touchpad
- Poor performance
- HDD is slow
- Low resolution screen
- Poor amplification from speakers
The high quality latchless hinge design and durable keyboard help the Aspire Switch 10 E to stand out, but poor performance and a low resolution display prevent it from being one of the better budget convertibles on the market.
The budget-minded Acer Aspire Switch 10 E comes as a follow up to the last years Aspire Switch 10. The 2-in-1 convertible utilizes the same latches magnetic hinge design allowing users to quickly swap between laptop and tablet with relative ease. In an effort to drop the price tag even further Acer has opted for a full plastic chassis design and WXGA (1200 x 800) display, allowing the company to list the laptop for as low as $280 (the model our editors tested is listed at $350).
Will this price cut bolster the Aspire Switch 10 E’s appeal, or will the lack of features leave this 2-in-1 feeling flat? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 E comes in six distinct colors. The unit that we tested came in what the company calls “shark grey” though from our perspective the notebook appears to be more of a purplish-grey. The outer hard plastic shell has a cross stitch pattern that makes the Aspire Switch 10 E have this distinctive worn look when catching the light. On the center of the lid is an imprint of “acer” lettering. The Aspire’s vibrant color pallet and unique textured design helps the Switch 10 E to stand out from the crowd. With so many color choices there is something for everyone, the cloud white for example is perfect for users that prefer the more traditional and understated aesthetic.
Being a detachable 2-in-1 all of the device’s core button functions can be found on the tablet. The power button, independent volume controls and a windows button can be found on the right side of the device; while the left side houses various ports.
Maneuvering between tablet and clamshell mode is made easy thanks to the upgraded Acer Snap Hinge 2. The big change to the magnetized hatch comes in the form of a new guide panel, which makes it a bit easier to lineup the tablet when reconnecting. The latch-free design manages to achieve an ideal level of resistance so that the tablet can be quickly detached, but also provides enough resistance so that the tablet won’t disconnect from the base accidentally. To remove the tablet you simply apply light pressure down on the keyboard and lift the tablet. The hinge produces a nice audible pop when disconnecting and reconnecting, making it easy to know when the tablet has been firmly secured.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 E offers all of the modes that consumers have come to expect from a convertible. Of course there’s the standard clamshell and tablet modes, but the tablet can also be turned around and connected to the keyboard to offer tent and stand modes for those that want them.
Measuring 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.9 -inches and weighing 2.72 pounds the Aspire Switch 10 E isn’t exactly the slimmest device, but is still lightweight enough to be easy to travel with. Handling the laptop with one hand can be a bit uncomfortable, luckily the tablet when detached is considerably lighter and more manageable at 1.38 pounds.
The thick hard plastic Aspire Switch 10 E offers excellent durability for a budget device. Both the base and the tablet hold up well to pressure and the Acer Snap Hinge 2 firmly secures the tablet in place.
The Aspire Switch 10 E offers the connectivity expected of a tablet, but the device comes up short when it comes to laptop ports. The left side of the tablet features a mini USB port, a mini-HDMI connector, an audio jack and a microSD card reader. The right side of the keyboard also houses a full-sized USB port.
Screen and Speakers
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 E houses a 10.1-inch WXGA (1200 x 800) IPS multi-touch display. The panel is comprised of Gorilla Glass offering added durability and helping to protect against scratches. The resolution is a bit lower than NBR would have liked, but it’s understandable given the budget price point. Despite the lower resolution, the screen still offers a clear picture and vibrant color contrast. NBR was impressed by the panel’s ability to accurately depict the faded greens reds and blues of the old run down carnival scene in Mr. Robot.
Viewing angles are surprisingly pretty solid as well for a budget device. Images held up well past 90 degrees without any color loss. The screen offers solid brightness too allowing it to fair well in heavy lighting, though direct light will cause a glare to appear on-screen.
The speakers are located at the bottom portion of the tablet. The output is a little muted, but should suffice for personal use. While not all that boisterous, the speakers did impress NBR with the ability to accurately relay an orchestral track without any distortion. The accurate and clear audio makes the Aspire 10 E great for watching shows or listening to music, it’s just too bad that the device is so quiet.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Aspire Switch 10 E offers a Chiclet-style keyboard. Given the small size of the device, some of some of the keys have been reduced in size. Most notably the function keys are about a fourth of the size of the rest of the keys. The resized keys seem to be worth it though as it allows the rest of the pad to offer excellent spacing. The square black keys are rounded at the edges and offer decent travel for a budget 2-in-1. Feedback isn’t very forceful, but it is consistent allowing users to get type quickly without too many errors.
Located below the spacebar is a moderately sized touchpad. The black rubber pad is devoid of buttons using multi-finger gestures instead. The relatively spacious pad offers excellent travel and reads swipes, clicks and multi-finger gestures read accurately without any lag.