Acer Aspire Switch 11 V review
Processor: Dual-core 800Mhz Intel Core M 5Y10c, RAM: 4GB, Size: 300x207x21mm, Weight: 1.5kg, Screen size: 11.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics 5300, Total storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB hard disk
Microsoft's Surface 3 was one of our favourite tablets of 2015, with a great screen and sprightly performance for the money. Factor a TypeCover, though, and the price quickly escalated beyond £600 for the 64GB model. Acer's Switch 11 V is a premium, 11in Windows 10 tablet that, spec-for-spec, eclipses the Surface 3 for the same price as the basic model.
Design and build
Acer has nailed the design of the tablet part of the Switch 11 V. It's made of plastic, but the crosshatched, brushed aluminium-style material and the solid-feeling textured plastic at the top both look and feel great. Granted, it doesn't have the premium feel of Microsoft's real metal Surface 3, but for the money it's a commendable effort. The tablet portion weighs 760g, which is a fair amount heavier than the Surface 3's 622g.
The keyboard dock adds an extra 700g. But it's not just a dumb dock with a keyboard: inside the plastic shell is a 500GB hard disk to complement the 128GB SSD inside the main tablet. There's also a USB3 port. The tablet docks securely to the keyboard with magnetic prongs, making it one of Acer's best attempts at a tablet docking system. It's not perfect, though. The hinge mechanism is too stiff to open with one hand, and in some cases I found myself tearing the tablet off the dock and chucking the whole thing on the floor while trying to open the device. I understand that adding a quick-release button may harm Acer's design philosophy, but it's the only way to ensure ham-fisted types don't have to keep raising their home insurance premiums. The tablet can also be docked backwards in "tent" mode, for when you don't need to type but still want a stand.
You get a microSD card reader, a Micro HDMI port and a microUSB connector on the left edge of the tablet. There's also a separate charging port, which means the Micro USB connector is always free even when the device is charging. The Micro USB port works with USB OTG devices such as the Leef, but you'll need an adaptor if you want to connect any full-size USB devices to your tablet when it's not docked.
An 11.6in tablet is too large to use for extended periods while standing up, but it's perfect for using to watch Netflix in bed or on the sofa. As such, Acer has placed the speakers on the front of the tablet, exactly where they should be. They're loud and clear and, because of their front-facing design, easily surpass most laptop speakers on the market.
The 11.6in screen is exceptionally bright; we clocked it at 377cd/m2 at peak brightness. Its glossy coating means outdoor usage is mostly out of the question, but it's still better than a lot of budget tablets. We measured sRGB colour gamut coverage at 70%, which isn't quite as high as we'd have liked and only edges it very slightly ahead of cheaper, £300-400 tablets. Contrast is high at 1000:1, at least, while black levels of 0.34cd/m2 are a little high for our liking, especially for a device that will likely find itself in a diverse range of use cases, where clarity is essential. The screen has a Full HD resolution, though, so everything is super sharp and there's loads of room on screen for full-size desktop websites. For some, icons and text will be slightly too small, but a quick trip into Window 10's display scaling options should see to that.