Acer's low-cost 2-in-1 hybrids are getting a few new looks. Borrowing from its high-end Aspire S7 notebook line, Acer is adding white 3 Gorilla Glass lids to its Switch 10 convertible, giving it a premium look. In addition, the Switch 10 and larger Switch 11 can also be outfitted with a textured plastic lid, which looks and feels like fabric.
Like the 2014 Switch 10, this year's model attaches to its keyboard dock via magnets, and can be reversed for several display modes. It will be powered by an Intel Atom processor, and have a full HD (1920 x 1200) display. The tablet alone will measure 10.3 x 6.97 x 0.35-inches and weigh 1.3 pounds; add the keyboard, and the weight increases to 2.6 pounds. It will be available in mid-August and start at $399.
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A new addition, the Switch 10 E, will have a lower-resolution 1280 x 800 display, but will get up to 12 hours on a charge, courtesy of its 30-wHr battery. At 10.31 x 7.09 x 0.43 inches and weighing 1.39 pounds (2.8 pounds with keyboard), it's slightly larger and heavier than the Switch 10. The Switch 10 E is less expensive, though, starting at $279. It will be available mid-July.
The 11.6-inch Switch 11 also will have a new textured lid; interestingly, the top plastic band of the lid will have one pattern, while the rest of the lid sports a different design. The notebook will have a 1080p display and be powered by an Intel Core M processor, putting it, productivity-wise, on a par with such devices as the Microsoft Surface 3. Acer has yet to release additional details, but it should be a good step up from the Core i3 Switch 11, which offered good power, but too-short battery life.
In my hands-on time with both the textured Switch 10 and Switch 11, as well as the Gorilla Glass Switch 10, I can say that both have their attributes. The textured finish is definitely comfortable to hold, and looks and feels more interesting than your typical 2-in-1. The textured surface also does a great job at hiding fingerprints. The Gorilla Glass Switch 10 is nearly as sleek as the S7--no one can match that laptop's svelte design--but it comes close. The one downside is that it picks up fingerprints quickly.
Acer also teased a 12-inch Switch notebook, but other than it being very thin and very light, didn't offer any more details other than to say it would be available later this year. Stylistically, the 12-inch Switch looked a lot like the Asus T300 Chi. Needless to say, I'll be interested in checking all of them out.