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Acer Aspire R 14 review - hands-on

Michael Passingham
12 Oct 2015
Acer Aspire R14 on stage in Taipei
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Acer reveals a new premium convertible, and we give it the once over

Acer has updated its premium hybrid range, taking on HP's Envy x360 line with a new 14in convertible laptop. The new Aspire R 14, following on from the R14 launched last year, revealed today at a press conference in Taipei, will be available later this month. I went hands-on to see whether how it stands up to the competition.

The convertible market is now mature, with the likes of Lenovo, HP and Acer the most prolific makers of bendy-flippy devices. More recently, it's been the premium devices that have seen a push, and the R14 is no exception.


Acer R14 tent mode

It's a decent-looking device, with brushed black metal on the lid and keyboard tray giving it an upmarket feel, while the sharp edges around the chassis add to a feeling of refinement and premium build. It's 19mm thick, which is about par for the course as far as convertibles go.

All models come with a 14in, Full HD touch screen, but from there specifications vary. The unit I used had an Intel Core i7-6500U on-board running at 2.5GHz, while cheaper models will come with a 2.3GHz Core i5-6200U. Storage comes in the form of a SATA SSD, with 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models in the line-up. Exact specs will vary by region and retailer, so read the spec sheet carefully when you're pricing it up.

At 1.9kg, it's a little lighter than its 15in rivals, although in tablet mode you won't want to hold it for too long in one hand. Swing the screen round on the smooth-yet-robust hinge and you find yourself with a very competent laptop. The Full HD screen looks terrific, while the touchpad - one of the new, Microsoft-approved Precision Touchpads that are starting to appear on more laptops, is superb. The keyboard doesn't have much travel but it was still enough to allow me to type accurately, even with other tech journalists bumping past me.

Acer Aspire R14 ports

Connectivity-wise, you get two USB3 ports and a USB3 connector and an HDMI port to boot. It also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi for peak wireless performance.

Battery life is claimed at nine hours; I reckon this will translate to between six and seven in our moderate usage benchmarks based on previous claims and results, which is fair performance that could be stretched to a full day of work, although of course we'll have to test this when we get one in for review.

With a starting price of $699 - around £570 with VAT included - the Aspire R 14 looks like a competitive entry into the premium convertible market. Battery life and screen quality will ultimately determine its success; we'll look closely at both in our full review.

Acer has updated its premium hybrid range, taking on HP's Envy x360 line with a new 14in convertible laptop. The new Aspire R 14, following on from the R14 launched last year, revealed today at a press conference in Taipei, will be available later this month. I went hands-on to see whether how it stands up to the competition.

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