It’s easy to dismiss 2-in-1 laptops as a gimmick but their utility isn’t hard to see. Yesterday’s laptops were all about uniformity. They were standardized tools in the hands of a workforce that was consistent, if inflexible. Today’s laptops are of a different breed. They reflect modern workplace values, prioritizing versatility and freedom.
Acer’s Switch Alpha 12 feels native to this kind of workplace. After all, success in this space isn’t so much about devising a machine that suits all environments and situations. Rather, it’s about building a tool that can adapt to make the most of each use-case. It’s about understanding that what you want out of a laptop first thing in the morning isn’t necessarily always going to be what you want out of it in the afternoon.
Accordingly, the Alpha 12 feels like a natural fit for this criteria. It accommodates reality and finds an effective balance between portability and usability in the process. Out of the box, the Switch makes for a sturdy workstation but when the need calls for it can be easily detached and used as a tablet.The detachable keyboard comes on and off with ease and feels more solid and substantial when typed upon than these add-ons usually do. This is partially due to the support given by the Switch’s adjustable kickstand, a feature which helps it gain new degrees of versatility – even when compared to other 2-in-1s.
The only caveats encountered here were the page up and down buttons, which I often found myself pressing by accident due to their small size and placement next to the keypad. The speaker was another aspect that didn’t really blow me away. Music and voice calls sound clear enough but they definitely don’t hold up as the Switch’s strongest assets.
The Switch’s ultrasharp and bright 12-inch screen also works as a multi-touch display and arrives with a tactile Acer Active Pen stylus to take advantage of this feature. Although the functionality here is limited to applications that support it, the pen itself – a blend of plastic and metal – remains satisfying to use and can be stored in a little pouch attached to the keyboard during travel. When it comes to these periphery aspects, it’s clear the Switch has been designed to hit a note that considers both durability and flexibility – and it strikes that chord with resounding style.
The Switch delivers superb and consistent performance comes courtesy of a 2.3GHz Intel i5 processor, Windows 10 and 8GB of RAM. You’re not likely to be using it for VR gaming any time soon but it’s packing more than adequate specs for enterprise purposes. What’s more, this performance comes quietly. Liquid cooling keeps the Switch totally silent while a 256GB solid state drive ensures the experience remains as responsive as a laptop can deliver.
With the challenges of modern workplaces being what they are, it’s hard to imagine a better solution than this. The laptops of the future is one where the nuances of design – not greater technical prowess – enable more productivity and the the Acer’s Switch Alpha 12 feels like it’s been pulled right out of that future into today. Make the switch.
The Acer Switch Alpha 12 retails for approximately AU$1,730.