Acer Aspire Switch 11 review

An affordable hybrid that runs Windows 8.1

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Our Verdict

Although the Switch 11 isn't terrible, it's a mediocre tablet, laptop and Windows experience. Best to look elsewhere.

For

  • Good battery life
  • Runs Windows software
  • Dockable hybrid tablet
  • Fairly affordable
  • USB port

Against

  • Not great build or design
  • Awful performance
  • 32-bit only
  • Heavy
  • Poor keyboard
Scores in depth
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review

There's certainly a market for entry-level Windows tablets. Plenty of people would prefer to run their favourite desktop software, such as desktop web browsers, rather than having to use alternatives from Apple and Google's app stores with an iPad or Android tablet.

The Surface Pro 3 is without a doubt the best in this class, but its cost and performance approaches that of a fairly high-end laptop, which somewhat limits its audience. If you're not looking to run demanding software like Photoshop or would prefer a simple device for little more than Microsoft Office on the move, then a hybrid could be the perfect alternative – less powerful, but much more affordable.

Acer Aspire Switch 11 hybrid
It's a pretty standard hybrid design

The Switch 11 is designed to fill that gap. It can be used as a tablet when detached from the dock, or like a laptop when the two are conjoined. It comes with an 11.6-inch screen, an upgrade from the 10.1-inch screen in the Switch 10, providing a bigger desktop area to work in, which many people will prefer when using Windows. But aside from that change, the design remains just about the same.

It costs a bit more than its predecessor too. The Switch 11 retails for about £369 (around $550, AU$720), while the Switch 10 was £299 (around $445, AU$580). Being less affordable eliminates one of the key advantages of the Switch 10, and means the shortcomings of the new model are less forgivable.

Acer Aspire Switch 11 profile
You get a USB port here

Design

The dock and trackpad feel like they were taken straight from a netbook, with a cheap feeling plastic keyboard. There's a single USB 2.0 port on the side of this section. With the tablet and dock connected together, the Switch 11 weighs a hefty 1.6kg.

Acer Aspire Switch 11 tablet
The tablet part is weightier than most slates

The tablet part is 11mm thick and weighs 840g, considerably more than many other tablets, but not an absolute show-stopper. The rest of the connectors and ports are built into this section – there's mini-HDMI, mini-USB, a MicroSD card reader, the volume controls and the power button.

The screen has a standard 1366 x 768 resolution, is coated in Gorilla Glass, and delivers a crisp, picture with bright colours. It looks okay even when viewed at different angles. It's perhaps the high point of the hardware, as with its predecessor. I've used far worse displays on laptops and have no real complaints.