Acer Attempts to Merge Mobility and Graphics Performance with New Convertible Laptops
During their otherwise rather gaming-focused press conference at IFA 2017, Acer unveiled the next generation of 2-in-1 laptops from their Switch, Spin, and Swift lines. Being "Ultraslim, Convertible and Detachable," what stood out to me most during the conference was how the company decided to set them apart from other such devices on market.
Considering Acer's aim with these products is to create "a balance of form and function," they certainly seem set to succeed with both. All of their new products, the Switch 7, Spin 5, and Swift 5, incorporate an elegant and sleek design—in fact, the Switch 7 is less than 1cm thick—and make use of the new 8th generation of Intel Core processors, which, according to Intel, provides a "40 percent performance boost." However, in addition to that, the devices also boast a very low weight and high portability.
Switch 7 Black Edition
The most unique device shown by Acer, this is the first passively cooled 2-in-1 notebook with a discrete GPU. Even though its NVIDIA MX150 graphics chip is equivalent to an entry-level solution, it should still be a significant step up from an integrated GPU, especially since it has its own passive cooling circuit. Acer states that this was possible thanks to their "LiquidLoop" cooling system. The technology transfers heat from the CPU to the heat pipe, from where it is dissipated through a continual process of evaporation and condensation in a single direction, two phase flow of liquid. Advantages of this include noiseless cooling as well as not having to worry about dust accumulation.
Another unique new feature is "AutoStand", which promises single-handed operation through an automatically deploying and retracting kickstand. Touted by Acer as a "super-stylish detachable 2-in-1 notebook for the modern professional", they seem to aim to compete with ultraportable solutions such as Microsoft's Surface line of devices.
The Acer Switch 7 Black Edition will be available in North America in December starting at $1,699; and in EMEA in December starting at €1,999.
Acer often compares its "LiquidLoop" passive cooling technology to the human circulatory system.
Nitro 5 Spin
The Nitro 5 Spin on the other hand offers a more standard 2-in-1 convertible notebook solution, albeit one that has some gaming applications. Coming with a mid-range NVIDIA GPU, Microsoft's Partner Devices VP Peter Han said that "The Acer Nitro 5 Spin is a great Windows 10 PC for casual gamers,” and that it is "flexible, lightweight and powerful enough for a good gaming experience… at an affordable price.” The device also incorporates dual front-facing speakers and a subwoofer as well as Acer's "BluelightShield" that reduces eye strain while gaming.
The Acer Nitro 5 Spin will be available in North America in October starting at $999; in EMEA in October with prices starting at €1,199.
The final new Laptop Acer showed was the new Swift 5, which Acer describes as "designed for users who want superb portability, solid performance, and a touch of style". Weighing under 1kg, the device includes a touchscreen and is manufactured from "a sophisticated selection of materials" such as ultra-light magnesium-lithium alloys on the covers, and magnesium-aluminum alloys on the palm rest area. However, it also strives to be a multimedia laptop with its use of Dolby Audio™ Premium technology to improve the audio experience.
The Acer Swift 5 will be available in North America in December starting at $999; in EMEA in December starting at €1,099; and in China in November starting at ¥7,499.
The market for ultra-portable 2-in-1 devices is growing, and Acer clearly intends to compete with some of the most established brands. It remains to be seen if their use of unique technology and performance optimization will allow them to do so, even if they have undoubtably created some interesting products.