Acer Switch 5

An as­pir­ing 2-in-1 switches out some specs to hit the sweet spot on price

Australian T3 - - TESTED -


Whether it’s the metal uni­body tablet de­sign, the thin fo­lio key­board case or the 12-inch screen in a 3:2 as­pect ra­tio, the Acer Switch 5 is unashamedly as­pir­ing to be as sim­i­lar to the Mi­croso Sur­face Pro as the law will al­low. While Acer gets no points for orig­i­nal­ity, the Sur­face Pro is a de­sign worth em­u­lat­ing, and this 2-in-1 has nearly all the fea­tures of its spir­i­tual sib­ling.

If you were to put the spec sheets of the 256GB In­tel Core i5 ver­sion of the Sur­face Pro next to the Switch 5, you’ll see an al­most iden­ti­cal fit-out. Both are built with a 7th-gen In­tel Core i5 CPU, In­tel HD Graph­ics 620, 8GB of RAM and each sports a speedy 256GB PCIe SSD.

With such a sim­i­lar lay­out, it’s nat­u­ral to won­der why you would ever go for the Acer when it was Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face brand that first re­ally forged the pop­u­lar 2-in-1 form fac­tor, but the Switch 5 has one ma­jor draw­card over the sim­i­larly-specced Sur­face Pro – it costs $500 less. De­spite this con­sid­er­able dis­count, Acer has ac­tu­ally cut costs in clever ar­eas to min­imise the dif­fer­ence in per­for­mance.

The most ob­vi­ous is a slightly smaller screen that has a res­o­lu­tion of 2,160 x 1,440 pix­els to the Sur­face Pro’s 2,736 x 1,824 dis­play, which def­i­nitely makes it less vi­brant but doesn’t re­duce pixel den­sity and pic­ture qual­ity that no­tice­ably. The Sur­face Pro does con­sid­er­ably out­per­form the Switch 5 in more GPU in­ten­sive work­loads (cre­atives, take note). While the Switch 5’s lower pixel count will mean it drains less bat­tery, it only has a 38Wh Li-Ion bat­tery to the Sur­face Pro’s 45Wh unit, of­fer­ing around five hours of power.

The Switch 5’s pen, key­boar­dand kick­stand have been re­verse en­gi­neered to be close to Mi­crosoft’s of­fer­ing, and un­less you’ve be­come ac­cus­tomed to the Sur­face Pen, you’re un­likely to no­tice the dif­fer­ence.

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