A budget transformer with a clever and rugged attachment mechanism.
Most likely, it’s the 10.1in size that will determine whether this (or any similarly sized) machine makes your shortlist. A detachable, the tablet half holds almost all of the innards, including the battery. For the size it’s just right as a tablet, and feels good and light in the hand when freed of its keyboard, though the bezel takes up a great deal more space than average. As a consequence of that size, the keyboard is a little cramped, but the chiclet keys feel good and they have been spaced apart, it seems, as widely as possible to minimise typos.
A quad-core 1.3GHz Atom is coupled with 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and 64GB of SSD storage. For the price, it’s a reasonable level of performance and is certainly sufficient for day to day tasks (provided your apps aren’t memory intensive). Looking at this as a relatively powerful tablet with an attachable keyboard is probably more appropriate than considering it as a just-enough laptop with a detachable screen.
The locking mechanism is the big innovation, here. It’s magnetic and doesn’t need any kind of button or release. Just yank it free and plop it back. The magnets are very powerful and really grab hold of the screen when it’s within range of its mighty magnetic field. In our week of daily use it never let us down, despite carrying it around with one hand, the heavy-ish screen dangling down but always attached. The screen can be placed facing rearwards, which then also lets you fold it over and stood upright in ‘tent mode’.
The IPS screen is good, and despite being glossy it didn’t act too much like a mirror. Inbuilt speakers delivered adequate volumes and fidelity. All up it’s a sweet little travelling PC, or a general purpose surfing and socialising device. The quad-core Atom Z3745 CPU running at 1.33GHz can certainly handle Office apps and 1080p video.
There are many competitors in this space, and Acer has shown that the budget end of the choices we have aren’t lacking in innovation and good general utility.