Acer has announced that it's refreshing its unique multimodal 15.6-inch Aspire R7 laptop with a more powerful processor and active stylus support just in time for the holidays. Priced at $899, the Best Buy-exclusive features what Acer calls an Ezel Hinge, which enables users to change the Aspire R7 between notebook, Pad and Ezel modes.
Notebook mode lets you use the R7 like any other clamshell, while Pad turns the laptop into tablet. Ezel mode lets you move the display to the front of the system, completely covering the keyboard and touchpad.
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The biggest improvement to the R7 is its new 4th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, which Acer claims will go a long way in addressing the battery woes the original R7 suffered from. In fact, Acer is claiming its latest R7 will offer upwards of 6 hours and 30 minutes of use time. If true, that would be a big step up from the previous R7's below-average 5:08 of battery life.
In addition to its faster, more power efficient processor, Acer is also offering a new active stylus for use with the R7. Acer says the pen can recognize 256 levels of pressure and features interchangeable tips and customizable side buttons. Unfortunately the pen will be sold separately for $49.
Other enhancements include 8GB of RAM compared to the older R7's 6GB and a new 1TB hard drive. The original offered just 500GB of storage. That said, one of our biggest complaints about the first R7 was that, despite containing a standard HDD and an SDD, its drives' speeds were relatively slow. The new 1TB drive is rated at 5,400-rpm, so we're not too sure we'll see any performance improvements.
Stay tuned for our full hands-on with the upgraded R7 later today.