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Review: Acer Switch 5

Acer’s new Switch 5 (SW512-52) is a device aimed at those that seek portability and performance. This beautifully designed device goes head-on with the Microsoft Surface Pro. It comes in a similar form-factor, includes a kick-stand on the back, and has an attachable keyboard folio.

Under the hood, this 2-in-1 hybrid PC comes with Intel’s Core i5-7200U processor running at a clock speed of 2.5-GHz. Acer has added the passively cooled “U” processor to this device to offer good performance to those who use it, without having to endure the noise of a spinning fan. The overall body is made of metal and you get a 12-inch 3:2 IPS touchscreen with pen support.

You also get 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 256GB of SSD storage via the M.2 80mm NVMe slot. In terms of connectivity, the Acer Switch 5 comes with one USB 3.0 port, one USB-C 3.1 port, a mic/headphone jack, and a micro SD card reader. For the new version of Switch 5, Acer excluded the 4K display panel and a Thunderbolt 3 controller, which were key features of the Switch 5’s predecessor.

The OS installed on the device is Windows 10 and you also get a backlit keyboard, an HD front camera, an 8MP back camera, and front facing stereo speakers. There’s a volume rocker and power button (with an integrated fingerprint-reader) on the left edge of the device.

The Acer Switch 5 weighs less than 1kg and about 1.27kg with the keyboard folio on. The kickstand comes with an unusual mechanism – it opens in a fixed position of around 120 degrees angle. It is a bit stiff and a needs a bit of prying to open it up. If you plan to use it on your lap like a normal laptop, don’t. It is quite uncomfortable using it on the lap due to the kickstand. So you really need a flat surface like a desk to use it on.

The keyboard folio that comes inside the box, attaches to the tablet magnetically and it is powered by the tablet, too. Though the folio is made of plastic, it feels quite sturdy and is light and thin. It is though a short stroke keyboard – so it is not the fastest to type on and the feel of typing on a keyboard is missing.

The power button on the left edge of the Switch 5 also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner, which is a welcome addition. It also works really well with Windows Hello. The Acer Switch 5 also comes with an Active Stylus with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. It is powered by an AAAA battery and works pretty smoothly.

In order to check the performance of the Acer Switch 5, we ran a few benchmarks. On 3DMark 11, we were able to clock 4012 points on Physics and 1613 on Graphics. In 3DMark 13, we ended up with 3710 points on Sky Driver, 892 on Fire Strike and 322 on Time Spy. On PCMark 10, we clocked 3139 points. As you can see, the performance is very good, especially for a device that runs on a Core U series of processor.

Battery life is good, too. We were able to use the Switch 5 for around 6 hours on a single charge, before it gave up. The Acer Switch 5 will be perfect for those who are on the market for a Windows tablet that also offers performance and silent computing.

Price: $799 (AED 2935) onwards.

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