Acer Switch 5

A flawed Sur­face Pro clone but its low price means it might ap­peal to those on a tight bud­get

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 -

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £750 (£900 inc VAT) from

While it clearly owes a lot to the Sur­face Pro, Acer has tried to make the Switch 5 dis­tinc­tive through a dif­fer­ent hinge mech­a­nism: here, a pic­ture-frame stand pops out from the rear of the tablet. It can’t lie near-flat like the Sur­face Pro and the sup­port isn’t quite so sturdy, but for the pur­poses of hold­ing the screen in a range of view­able po­si­tions, it works well.

The key­board doesn’t veer far from the Mi­crosoft orig­i­nal, con­nect­ing quickly and in­tu­itively to the tablet, ei­ther ly­ing flat or clip­ping mag­net­i­cally to the front for a raised typ­ing an­gle. While its rub­berised feel isn’t quite as lux­u­ri­ous as the Sur­face, the ac­tual feel is fine, with just enough travel and a lit­tle less bounce than on its ri­val. The track­pad feels smooth and re­sponds well to mul­ti­touch ges­tures, and the same goes for the touch­screen it­self. Acer pro­vides its Ac­tive Pen sty­lus, too, and while it doesn’t have the weight or sen­si­tiv­ity of the Mi­crosoft ver­sion, it’s still great for quick di­a­grams, an­no­ta­tions and hand­writ­ten notes.

The Acer shows, though, the value that goes into de­tail. Its 2,160 x 1,440-res­o­lu­tion screen is beau­ti­fully crisp, hit­ting a re­spectable bright­ness level of 323cd/m², but can’t match the Sur­face Pro on con­trast or colour ac­cu­racy, with an av­er­age Delta E of 3.07. Au­dio is loud but rather tinny, and while it has a USB-C port, along with a 3.5mm head­phone jack and a full-sized USB 3 port, it’s charged through a pro­pri­etary con­nec­tor with the ca­ble protrud­ing awk­wardly from near the top of the right-hand side. The edge-mounted fin­ger­print reader, which dou­bles as the power but­ton, is per­fectly ef­fec­tive, but hard to find by feel alone. This is an at­trac­tive, solidly built hy­brid, but not the most thought-through de­sign.

On per­for­mance, the Switch 5 is good with­out be­ing out­stand­ing; our Core i5-7200U model with 8GB of RAM man­aged a mid-ta­ble bench­mark score of 46. That’s not a se­ri­ous draw­back un­less you’re mul­ti­task­ing with heavy-duty apps, but the bat­tery life – just shy of seven hours of video play­back – might be. Were the Switch 5 cheaper, we’d say th­ese com­pro­mises were worth liv­ing with. As it stands, though, they aren’t.

BE­LOW The Ac­tive Pen is great for quick di­a­grams or notes

ABOVE The key­board de­taches, very much like the Sur­face Pro

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