Acer Aspire R11 (R3-131T) review
Processor: Dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050, RAM: 2GB, Size: 298x211x21mm, Weight: 1.6kg, Screen size: 11.1in, Screen resolution: 1,366x768, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics, Total storage: 500GB hard disk
The Acer Aspire R11 is a small but exceedingly well formed convertible laptop that looks like it's built to last. This 11.1in convertible has a chunky hard plastic shell that looks like the sort of thing you'd buy to protect your smartphone. It feels like it's well protected against knocks and scrapes, which is something you rarely get with more expensive laptops, let alone cheap convertible models.
Specification-wise, it's more or less the equivalent of the Toshiba Satellite C40-C netbook. The R11 has a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050 processor along with 2GB of RAM. This is not a performance device by any stretch of the imagination, but if you choose your tasks carefully you should get by without too many stutters and stalls. The convertible scored 7 overall in our benchmarking tests, including a score of 17 in the single core-focussed image editing test. This is not a laptop for intensive multimedia tasks; it'll play video just fine and you'll be able to work on documents, emails and browse the web, but you might be left twiddling your thumbs on a few occasions while you wait for the laptop to finish crunching numbers.
One area where the R11 soundly beats the Toshiba Satellite C40-C is in storage capacity. Instead of the paltry 32GB of eMMC storage you'll find on most netbook-style devices, the R11 comes equipped with a proper 500GB mechanical hard disk. This is both a blessing and a curse; the high capacity is welcome, but it's far from the fastest drive in the world and makes Windows load slower and feel less responsive than with solid state memory.
On the upside, you'll have enough room to store video, music and audio files on the laptop, so won't be reliant on the cloud. The laptop managed an excellent 9h 5m in our light-use battery benchmark, too, so you should be able to take advantage of all those media files.
The impressive battery hasn't added to the laptop's bulk, however; it cuts a relatively svelte figure at just 1.6kg and 21mm thick. That's still too heavy for you to use it as a conventional tablet with the keyboard flipped all the way back, at least for any great length of time, but it's certainly light enough to carry around in a bag without weighing you down. Despite its small size, you still get a full complement of the ports you'd expect from a conventional laptop. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi is supplemented by a gigabit Ethernet port, and you also get two USB ports, one of which is USB3-compatible. There's a 3.5mm headset jack and an SD card reader, too.
The laptop's 13.3in touch screen isn't bad; it's relatively bright at 253cd/m2, but colour coverage is in the below-60% of sRGB range, and contrast is fairly low at 433:1, meaning finer details in images and movies are lost. The screen hinge has well-judged resistance, being easy to move when you're changing screen position, but staying put when you need it to.