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Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition

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The market for 2-in-1-hybrids portable PCs that can serve as both laptops and tablets is proving extremely popular. According to research firm IDC, hybrids are expected to see shipments worldwide rise by a whopping 86.5 percent in 2015 and that in a PC industry that’s ailing in terms of sales. The research firm also noted in a statement in August that the success of hybrid systems has prompted companies far and wide to build new devices that attempt to deliver some of the finer aspects of notebooks and tablets.

Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition

Such competition, however, means that makers of these devices have needed to step up their game. In just the last few weeks, Microsoft, in its first genuine laptop release, rolled out a new high-end hybrid, the Surface Book1. (Its previous Surface releases were decidedly tablets first.) And Dell unveiled its own cheaper alternative, a detachable-screen reworking of the Dell XPS 122. (Hit the links for previews of both.) Meanwhile, most of the other usual suspects in the laptop and tablet worlds are vying for consumer attention with hybrids, including Asus, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and the subject of our review here today, Acer. Acer has watched its PC-shipment market share fall in recent years versus Lenovo and HP, but it remains a major player in all categories of laptop and desktop PC, as well as in tablets of all sorts. The company has set its stake in the hybrid ground with a couple of Windows-based lines: the higher-end Aspire R Series models (among them the Acer Aspire R133 and Aspire R144) and, at more budget-oriented price points, the Switch line of products, which, in addition to a wide array of 10.1-inchers, also includes 11-inch- and 12-inch-screened models.

Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition

We got our mitts on the latest installment, the Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition. Despite a superficial resemblance, the Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition isn t designed to take on higher-end products like the Surface Book. Instead, this 2-in-1 targets buyers on a budget who like the idea of a low-cost small laptop and Windows tablet in one, and are looking for a device with a better-than-average look and feel for the money. We have reviewed the Switch 10 before in its original iteration5, as well as in an education-focused version (the Aspire Switch 10 E6). Both remain available.

This newer ?349.99 model, which we put through its paces in formal testing and everyday use, won t amaze anyone with its processing power or special features. Instead, it stays loyal to those budget-conscious customers by keeping costs down and delivering a generally positive experience. What s special about this Special Edition is, primarily, Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 coating on the outside that gives the unit a bit of gloss, ruggedness, and a slightly premium feel. (We tested specific configuration 7SW5-015-16Y38.) The material covers both the screen and the back of the tablet portion (i.e., the “lid” of the laptop). The Special Edition won t blow you away on slimness or feature set, but it looks spiffy and will get the job done at an aggressive price. And there is something to be said for that.

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