Arguably one of the most interesting Windows 10 laptops launched by Acer at IFA 2017 is the new Switch 7 Black Edition. Even though this 2-in-1 is a fanless machine, Acer equipped it with an Intel Core i7 processor and a discrete GPU. It’s a rather unique configuration for a fanless tablet like the Switch 7.
After spending some time with the Switch 7 at Acer’s booth, we’re certainly impressed with it. However, the tablet’s steep asking price…isn’t quite as impressive.
As far as specifications go, the Switch 7 Black Edition is definitely a capable tablet. It comes with a 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 IPS display, a Core i7-8550U processor paired with 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce 150MX GPU, 512GB of SSD storage, and a claimed battery life of up to 10 hours. Interestingly, the Switch 7 also comes with a 5MP rear camera and a built-in stylus powered by Wacom EMR technology.
What’s particularly impressive with the Switch 7 is its cooling solution. Because it’s a passively-cooled tablet, Acer has to come up with a way to cool the Switch 7’s Core i7 processor and MX150 GPU. The solution? Acer’s new Dual LiquidLoop cooling system, which is really a form of closed-loop liquid cooling. It’ll be interesting to see if the cooling system can keep the tablet cool in various usage scenarios.
Aside from its cooling solution, the Switch 7’s keyboard cover is surprisingly comfortable to type on. Although I wish the keys have slightly more travel, the standard layout and tactility of the keyboard make for a rather pleasant typing experience. The trackpad of the Switch 7 is good too: it has a smooth surface, and it can track my fingers pretty accurately.
The display of the Switch 7, on the other hand, follows the trend of many other productivity-focused Windows 10 machines in the market. Sporting a 3:2 aspect ratio display, the Switch 7 has plenty of screen real estate to open a number of windows at the same time. The display can get plenty bright too, which should help with outdoor use.
Not surprisingly, the Switch 7 also comes with a stylus, and it slots into the tablet when not in use; very practical. As for the stylus itself, it’s pretty decent. I can write quite naturally on the tablet with the stylus, and it supports 4096 levels of pressure. However, I do have one slight issue with the stylus: it’s very, very light.
And then we have the Switch 7’s AutoStand kickstand, which allows easy adjustability with only one hand. I only have to press the Switch 7 down on a table – pushing the two buttons on the bottom of the tablet – to deploy the kickstand. From there, I can just push down the kickstand to my desired angle with relative ease.
While the Acer Switch 7 Black Edition is an attractive 2-in-1 tablet, it retails from a whopping $1,699; that’s about RM7,255. Needless to say, this is a steep asking price for a productivity-focused Windows 10 machine. Sure, the Switch 7 comes with an MX150 GPU – which should run games like Dota 2 and even Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with relative ease – but it still doesn’t quite justify the tablet’s high asking price.
However, the Switch 7 is a fanless, hybrid tablet with a dedicated GPU, and Acer claims that it is the world’s first product of its kind. If the Switch 7’s Dual LiquidLoop cooling system can indeed keep the tablet running well without too much thermal throttling, perhaps its high cost is justified.