Acer Aspire Switch 10E review
Processor: Quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F, RAM: 2GB, Size: 262x180x23mm, Weight: 1.2kg, Screen size: 10.1in, Screen resolution: 1,280x800, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics, Total storage: 32GB
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 E is a hybrid laptop and tablet, and is the successor to the Aspire Switch 10. I wasn't completely convinced by last year's model, partly because of its flimsy docking mechanism. For the Aspire 10 E, Acer has improved the hinge, but not well enough in our opinion. The tablet and keyboard come apart too easily, and this is exacerbated by the stiff hinge action required to open the lid. You want to pull hard to open the tablet, but if you do, the tablet comes off in your hands.
The Switch 10 E is a versatile hybrid, and can be used in different modes including laptop, tablet and tent, so it's easy to find a comfortable angle. The hybrid comes in a choice of bold colours including pink, orange, blue, purple and black.
Unsurprisingly considering the low price, the tablet's plastic feels slightly cheap and hard, but everything seems put together properly and the tablet feels relatively robust. It has a cross-hatched texture so the whole device is easy to grip. The tablet and keyboard together weigh 1.2kg, with the tablet alone tipping the scales at 624g, which is a not insignificant 44g heavier than the rival HP Pavilion x2.
The display has a small 1,280x800 resolution, which is lower than I would like. Modern websites can feel cramped on the screen, but because the device reports itself as a PC rather than a tablet or smartphone, you'll generally get a full-size desktop site instead of a more tablet-friendly mobile one. Multitasking is out of the question, too.
The display is at least nice and bright, and viewing angles are wide. The rest of the display’s performance was merely average, however. The tablet can display a below-average 64.5% of the sRGB colour gamut, so colour accuracy isn’t its strong suit. Black levels 0.36cd/m2 weren’t as deep as I would have liked, but contrast was at least an average 910:1. The screen does benefit from wide viewing angles, and the hinge tilts back further than on most hybrids, meaning you can easily work with this tiny device on your lap.
Audio is supplied by two front-facing speakers on the tablet section. They're reasonably loud and dialogue is crisp and clear, but music and sound effect-heavy movies won't be well represented, as you'd expect. Frankly, I'm just happy to have speakers that face towards us instead of away or off to one side, which says a lot about today's Windows tablets.
The laptop has a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F processor inside and 2GB of RAM, and, as shown by a score of 9 overall in our benchmarks, you'll need to stick to basic applications with this laptop; don't buy this device if you're going to be processing images and videos regularly. Most people will be happiest using the Switch 10 E as a secondary machine to supplement a more powerful laptop or desktop.
You have a choice of 32GB or 64GB models and you can insert a microSD card up to 128GB into the tablet segment for more storage. This could well be advisable if you opt for the cheaper 32GB model as you'll only be left with around 10GB storage after Windows is installed. The keyboard dock has a USB port and the Micro USB charging port on the tablet will also work with a USB OTG adapter to let you plug in USB devices such as flash drives.
The keyboard is comfortable to type on and the keys are about as well-spaced as you can expect for a 10in laptop. The keys have a pleasing amount of travel so I was able to build up to a decent typing speed after a bit of practice. After performing the Windows 10 upgrade, we paid particular attention to the touchpad; other Acer models, such as the Aspire V3-574G, are a bit of a disaster after a Windows 10 upgrade. Fortunately, I had no problems and gestures, swipes and clicks were all performed quickly and without fuss.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 E is a distinctive hybrid laptop that works well with Windows 10. It has adequate performance and great battery life, but HP's Pavilion X2 is the same price and gets my vote due to its superior design and build quality. For other budget laptop options see our Best budget laptops.
|Processor||Quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F|
|Memory slots (free)||N/A|
|Sound||3.5mm headset port|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics|
|Graphics outputs||Micro HDMI|
|Optical drive type||None|
|Ports and expansion|
|USB ports||1x USB2|
|Memory card reader||microSD|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home 32-bit|
|Operating system restore option||Recovery partition|
|Parts and labour warranty||One year RTB|
|Price inc VAT||£249|