The original Acer Aspire Switch 11 is midrange detachable-hybrid tablets, thanks to its impressive mix of performance, smart design, and affordability. The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V improves on its predecessor in just about every way. While it's not anything revolutionary, the Switch 11 at Amazon is faster all around, and now features Windows 10. There are still a few gripes with its design and weight, but Acer has sweetened the pot by dropping Because the Switch 11 V builds on an already best-in-class system by making it faster and slightly slimmer than before, it's our Editors' Choice for midrange detachable-hybrid tablets.
Design and Features
The Switch 11 V measures 0.8 by 11.8 by 8.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.17 pounds (1.57 pounds of that weight is the tablet itself, while the included keyboard dock makes up the other 1.6 pounds). The keyboard feels heavier than it should, weighted toward the back to provide balance when attached, but the result is a system that seems heftier in your hands than it really is. The older Acer Aspire Switch at Amazon is similar in size, measuring 1 by 11.75 by 8 inches, and it weighs slightly more at 3.34 pounds. The Asus Transformer Book T200TA-C1-BL at Pricefalls.com is also similar (1 by 12 by 8 inches, 1.69 pounds alone, 3.6 pounds with dock), while the Lenovo Miix at Amazon is slimmer and somewhat lighter (0.4 by 10.3 by 6.8 inches and 1.3 pounds for the tablet alone, 2.37 pounds with the dock).
The tablet portion of the Switch 11 V is a brushed-silver metal, with a darker-textured plastic strip running along the top edge. The Switch 11 V's plastic dock combined with the surprising and somewhat awkward weight for the size just don't make it feel like you're holding a sleek device. The Microsoft Surface 3 at Amazon, for example, is thinner and lighter (0.34 by 10.52 by 7.36 inches, 1.4 pounds) while made of magnesium alloy that feels like a more premium material. The tablet on its own is sleeker in your hand, however. The system latches into the dock magnetically with a satisfying snap, and the connection is secure, with a hinge that doesn't flop around. It's easy to remove and reattach the keyboard with a simple tug, though you may occasionally fumble for a few seconds when lining up the connections.
The detachable design lets you use the tablet in a variety of modes. You can use it as a clamshell-style laptop (Notebook mode), remove the keyboard entirely to use it in Tablet mode, attach the screen in the opposite direction to show off media (Display mode), or stand the system upside down in Tent mode for cramped spaces or movie viewing. Typing on the dock is pretty standard, with short key travel and a spacious layout for an 11-inch system. The touchpad is nothing special, but it's responsive, and I didn't encounter any issues in testing.
The 11.6-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display featuring a full-HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution is excellent. The screen offers 10-point touch, and there's edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass 3 to prevent scratches. The picture is very sharp and clear, and the IPS panel provides wide viewing angles. This is helpful when you transform the tablet into other modes, such as watching a movie in Tent mode, or if several people are gathered around to look at photos or data in Display mode. The Acer Switch 11 has the same resolution, while the Asus T200TA-C1-BL only offers 1,366 by 768. To compare further, the Microsoft Surface 3 (1,920 by 1,280) and the Lenovo Miix 2 (1,920 by 1,200) offer full HD resolutions at 3:2 and 16:10 aspect ratios, respectively, while the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi at Amazon, a more expensive system, features a tight 2,560-by-1,440 screen.
The tablet includes a microSD slot, a micro-USB 2.0 port, a micro-HDMI port, and a DC-in port on its right side, with the headphone jack, the Power button, and the volume rocker on the left. The keyboard only has a USB 3.0 port, which is located on its right side. The system also includes Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There's a 1-megapixel, 1,280-by-720-resolution front-facing webcam, which merely suffices for video chat, but the 5-megapixel, 2,592-by-1,944-resolution rear-facing cam takes nice, clear photos.
There's a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) on board, the same amount offered in the Microsoft Surface 3, the Asus T300 Chi, and the Acer Switch 11. The Lenovo Miix 2 only has 64GB of flash memory, and the Asus T200TA-C1-BL includes a 64GB SSD, though you can add more storage into the dock. The Switch 11 V is covered by a limited one-year warranty.
A 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10c processor powers the Switch 11 V, a change from the Intel Core i3-4012Y processor found in the Switch 11. There's 4GB of memory on board, as well as integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300. As such, the tablet scored 2,275 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional productivity test, behind only the more expensive Asus T300 Chi (2,615). The Acer Switch 11 is the next best with 2,113 points, while the Lenovo Miix 2 (1,392), the Microsoft Surface 3 (1,610), and the Asus T200TA-C1-BL (1,719) are well behind.
On the 3DMark Cloud Gate graphics test, the Switch 11 V scored 3,317, which is again higher than similarly priced systems. The Microsoft Surface 3 (2,468 points), the Lenovo Miix 2 (1,295), and the Acer Switch 11 (2,423) were fairly far behind, with only the Asus T300 Chi (4,687) getting a better score, though none are fit for gaming. On the Heaven and Valley gaming tests, most of these tablets couldn't produce more than 10 frames per second (fps) on either test, with the Switch 11 V hitting 7fps and 5fps, respectively. The sole exception is the Asus T300 Chi, which still only reached 12fps.
The Switch 11 V performed well on the multimedia tests, finishing Handbrake and Photoshop in 5 minutes 46 seconds and 7:22, respectively. These times are faster than most other systems, notably the Acer Switch 11 (6:26 in Handbrake; 8:01 in Photoshop) and the Microsoft Surface 3 (6:05 and 12:16). Only the pricier Asus T300 Chi performed better, finishing Handbrake and Photoshop in 3:01 and 4:18, respectively. The Switch 11 V's Cinebench score of 161 is also ahead of the competition—the Acer Switch 11 scored 152, the Acer T200TA-C1-BL scored 127, and the Microsoft Surface 3 scored 124, with the other systems unable to run the test.
Battery life is decent, though unimpressive, at 6 hours 8 minutes on our battery rundown test. The older Acer Switch 11 actually lasted slightly longer (6:21), while the Lenovo Miix 2 (7:47) and the Microsoft Surface 3 (9:52) fared significantly better. Only the Asus T300 Chi (5:54) and the Asus T200TA-C1-BL (5:25) clocked lower times.
Dimensions: 0.8 by 11.8 by 8.1 (HWD) inches inches
Screen Size: 11.6 inches
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 5300
Processor Speed: 800 MHz
Weight: 3.17 lb
Screen Resolution: 1,920 by 1,080 pixels pixels
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10
Screen Type: IPS LCD
Graphics Memory: 4096
RAM: 4 GB
Storage Type: SSD
Storage Capacity (as Tested): 128 GB
Additional Storage: MicroSD
Ports: micro HDMI, USB, micro USB
Camera Resolution: 2,592 by 1,944 pixels
Wi-Fi (802.11x) Compatibility: 2.4GHz/5GHz
Bluetooth Version: 4.0
Battery Size: 4,550 mAh
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