Which Acer Laptop Is Right For You?
After careful consideration, you've decided that your next laptop will be an Acer. So now, all that's left is choosing one. Are you looking for the detachable convenience that comes with a Switch, or the budget-friendly value of an Aspire?
To help you pick, we've listed all the Acer lines below, with standout models from each.
Behind the numbers
Acer laptops generally fall into a simple pattern when it comes to the model numbers placed after their names, as an Aspire R 15 is 15 inches, and the Predator 17 is 17 inches. The exception to this pattern comes with single- and triple-digit products, such as the Swift 7, a superthin 13-inch notebook and TravelMate P648, where numbers signify its class, with 7 meaning premium and 1 being entry-level.
The single letters used in model names are harder to figure out. Acer's E laptops are for "everyday performance," which means less-demanding usage, while it makes F notebooks for users who demand fast performance. The S models are superthin, R notebooks feature rotating screens and V machines pack fast performance into small, full-featured designs.
Aspire: Good for Budget-Savvy Shoppers
The Aspire line of laptops is a wide-ranging series of notebooks made for casual users. Acer prices these machines for budget-savvy shoppers, and includes a range of models, including convertibles, ultrathin notebooks and those featuring premium designs.
- Aspire S 13: This 13-inch notebook offers a colorful, full-HD display, a comfortable keyboard and a battery with more than 9 hours of life, all packed into a 0.57-inch chassis.
- Aspire R 15: This 15-inch, 2-in-1 notebook packs a tablet interface, Core i5 performance and a bright 1080p display into a thin-and-lightweight design.
- Aspire One Cloudbook: This ultra-affordable notebook is meant to compete with Chromebooks, as its 64GB of local storage means most of your work and play will be done in the cloud.
Switch: Good for Users Who Want a Detachable
Acer's Switch laptops feature detachable tablet screens and range from 10 to 12 inches in size. While it makes sense that Acer's detachable displays are less than 13 inches, this typically leads to smaller, cramped keyboards.
- Switch Alpha 12: This liquid-cooled, 12-inch detachable hybrid is fast enough to get work done, and its display is bright enough for use outdoors. Just pack the charging cable since its battery doesn't last that long on its own.
- Switch 11 V: This detachable 2-in-1, 11.6-inch system is the exception to the aforementioned pattern found in Switch keyboards, as its full-size keyboard delivered brisk, accurate typing.
- Switch 10 E: This 10-inch detachable is affordable and lasted more than 8 hours on our battery test.
Chromebook: For Those Who Live and Work in Google's Cloud & Android Ecosystems
Acer's got a solid selection of Chromebooks, the relatively affordable laptops that run the cloud-based Chrome OS. This means you don't get much storage, but in an era where many keep their documents, photos and other content online, some don't need a roomy local drive.
- Chromebook R 13: This 13-inch notebook offers a bend-back touch screen, and is one of the first systems to support emulation of Android apps. Its Mediatek processor isn't powerful enough for ample multitasking, though.
- Chromebook 14 for Work: Businesses that rely entirely on the Google for Work suite of apps may be ready to issue this 14-inch notebook to their employees. It's rugged enough to survive falls and offers tools for IT managers to manage it remotely.
- Chromebook R 11: This 11.6-inch hybrid notebook offers Android emulation, and 9.5 hours of battery life. Its Celeron processor offers decent performance.
Swift: Best for Users on the Go
Acer's answer to Apple's 12-inch MacBook offers twice as many USB Type-C ports and an almost impossibly thin design. You're buying a Swift as much for yourself as you are for showing it off, as its gold chassis and bright, vivid display will impress all. Unfortunately, Acer can't fit a decent keyboard into this machine, as the one we tested was mushy and lacked backlighting.
- Swift 7: This 13.3-inch ultraportable packs a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and offers a 1080p display. The Swift's 7-plus hours of battery life may not be impressive compared with larger notebooks, but you'll still wonder how they fit any sort of battery in it at all.
Predator: Best for Gamers
Acer designs its Predator notebooks for gamers looking to intimidate and dominate. Recent models offer VR-ready graphics cards, but the notebook line has always offered terrific performance for smooth gameplay, and striking looks based around a hard-edge design ethos.
Predators also offer some unique features: DustDefender alternates airflow and uses thin metallic fans to stop dust from building up. Killer DoubleShot Pro technology gives users granular control over which applications get to use bandwidth.
- Predator 17 X: This $2,800 17-inch laptop gives you a ton of reasons to plunk down your hard-earned cash. From the 17 X's VR-ready desktop-class Nvidia 980 GPU, to its comfortable keyboard with adjustable backlighting, this machine is worth every penny.
- Predator 17: The $1,999, 17-inch gaming notebook powers smooth gameplay with its Core i7 CPU and GTX 980M graphics card. Unfortunately, without Nvidia G-Sync, you may see more tearing and ghosting when frame-rate issues arise.
TravelMate: Best for School and Business
Companies buying laptops for their fleet will be happy to hear that Acer's TravelMate notebooks offer both performance and durability, so units will last longer in the field. These machines have ruggedized designs that are tested against the U.S. military's MIL-SPEC equipment standards. The B-series TravelMate notebooks are for education and the P-series systems are for business and government customers.
- TravelMate P648: This $957 14-inch notebook offers solid build quality and performance, but a shallow keyboard, bland display and poor battery life will make you question its price.