Acer brings plenty to the table with both the Switch 3 and 5, offering attractive Microsoft Surface alternatives
- Cheaper than Microsoft's Surface
- High-quality display
- Great keyboard and stylus
- Lacks facial recognition
Acer is chucking devices at the wall and seeing what sticks, it seems. There are a lot of Acer-branded products on the horizon, ranging from niche devices like its VR headset and 360-degree camera, to bog-standard gaming laptops like the Triton 700. Following Acer’s annual press conference in New York, there’s plenty of products to look forward to, and its 2017 Switch refresh is one of them.
From the offset, it’s familiar fare here. The Switch 5 and its cheaper Switch 3 sibling both run Windows 10, and aren’t too dissimilar in looks from Microsoft’s own well-established Surface range. They’re both familiar black oblongs – no surprises there – but there’s something to be commended for their svelte yet seemingly sturdy construction. But what’s inside?
Acer Switch 3 and 5: Price and specifications
Acer Switch 3
Acer Switch 5
Intel Pentium or Celeron
Up to 7th gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7
Up to 4GB
Up to 8GB
32GB, 64GB, 128GB
12.2in Full HD IPS
12in Full HD+ IPS
295 x 201 x 16.3mm
292 x 201.8 x 12mm
From €499 (approx £422)
From €1,099 (approx £929)
In short, Acer has plenty to offer here. While particular configurations aren’t yet known (store pages aren’t live), prices start well below Microsoft’s offering, so Acer should do well here. That, and Acer is on the Kaby Lake bandwagon with its 2-in-1s long before Microsoft.
Acer Switch 3 and 5: Design, key features and first impressions
Acer’s Switch lineup is all about 2-in-1 versatility. It can be a laptop should you wish, but rip that folio-style keyboard off and you can use it as a tablet. It’s a formula that’s already tried and tested, and one that Acer has seemingly perfected.
There’s a fully retractable kickstand at the back – which isn’t notched by the way – so you can angle the display how you see fit. It’s sturdy, too, standing up well despite my aggressive finger-prodding.
The keyboard, too, is a comfortable experience. Each key is nicely spaced, despite the real estate given, and there’s a satisfying amount of feedback with every press. This is definitely one of the better detachable keyboards I’ve used, perhaps only second to Samsung’s own Galaxy Book.
Both the Switch 3 and 5 come equipped with notably high-quality displays. Viewing angles are top-notch (perfect for a 2-in-1) and image quality is superb. It was an overly bright New York morning, yet glare was kept to a minimum, and the Expert Reviews website was perfectly readable.
Acer has boosted its security unlocking arsenal, too, just like Samsung. Both Switches ship with fingerprint sensors on the back, perfect for unlocking via Windows Hello. There’s no facial recognition, however – something we’re starting to see in devices of this stature.
Acer Switch 3 and 5: Early verdict
Acer’s 2017 Switch revamp has impressed, which should come as no surprise. Last year’s Switch Alpha 12 ticked all the right boxes, with the latest in its Switch Lineup doing things even better. Both are fantastic little devices to use, and may prove to be popular 2-in-1 alternatives come launch. That is of course, if they can miraculously nudge Microsoft’s Surface offering off the top spot.
Stay tuned for my full Acer Switch 3 and Switch 5 reviews in the very near future.