Hands-on: Acer Switch 5 review

While we wait for the Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Acer has something to fill the gap and will eventually be a rival. The new 2-in-1 is called the Acer Switch 5 and here’s our hands-on review.

A year ago Acer unveiled the Switch Alpha 12 as a rival to the Surface Pro 4. We were impressed by it and the Taiwanese firm has expanded the family with two new models. We attended the ‘Next at Acer’ event in New York to see the Switch 3 and Switch 5 in the flesh. 

Acer Switch 5: Price and availability

It's not too long to wait for the Switch 5 to arrive in Europe as it will go on sale in June along with the Switch 3.

The price is €1,099 for the Switch 5 and the Switch 3 with its lower specs is a much more affordable €499. The Surface Pro 4 has been around for a while now but for comparison starts at £749.

As far as we know, the price includes the keyboard cover and digital stylus.

Acer Switch 5

Acer Switch 5: Design and build

Overall, the design of the Switch 5 is much the same as the Alpha 12 and reminiscent of the HP Elite X2.

Once again the keyboard cover snaps into place via magnets and holds on tightly. You can use the cover flat but it works far better when snapped into place a second time providing a nice angle.

You can, of course, use it as a lone tablet without the keyboard but that’s not really the idea and it’s not overly comfortable at 920g. It it reasonably thin at 9.6mm.

The design is still fanless thanks to LiquidLoop cooling and now has a fingerprint scanner built-into the power button (which we haven’t been able to test) and an improved kickstand.

We’re impressed with the new kickstand which still allows you to lean the tablet a long way. You don’t need to move the stand itself with your hand as it moves both ways when you push or pull the tablet.

Acer Switch 5 tablet

Acer Switch 5: Specs and Hardware

Some of the specs for the Switch 5 match last year’s Alpha 12 starting with the 12in IPS touchscreen that has a Full HD+ resolution of 2160x1440. The display is crisp but we would prefer if it if was brighter.

The main update it the latest 7th-generation Intel processors and you can get the Switch 5 with either a Core i5 or Core i7 inside. The device now comes with 8GB of RAM as standard which is good to see.

For comparison, the cheaper Switch 3 comes with a Pentium or Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, up to 128GB storage and a Full HD screen that’s slightly larger at 12.2in.

In terms of storage there’s an SSD of either 256- or 512GB capacity. You can also make use of the Micro-SD card slot.   

Acer Switch 5

You’ll also benefit from the USB-C port, Bluetooth 4.0 and 2x2 11ac Wi-Fi. An optional USB-C dock will give you DisplayPort, HDMI, two USB-C 3.1 ports and three USB Type-A ports, along with audio input for microphone and audio output for speakers.

Acer touts a battery life of 10.5 hours and you’ll get either Windows 10 Home or Pro in 64-bit. 

As you’d expect from a tablet there are front and rear cameras, but we wouldn’t want to rely on the 2- and 5Mp sensors for anything important.

OUR VERDICT

We certainly like the Switch 5 which is essentially an improved version of the Alpha 12. However, it’s the price that’s really the sticking point here so look for the Switch 3 if it’s out of your price range.