Monday, July 21, 2014
Acer Aspire Switch 10 - user review
Purchased an Acer Aspire Switch 10 while in Singapore a couple of weeks ago and have been putting it to good use while away (taking notes for blog), travelling and now at work.
The Switch 10 has had mostly positive reviews as evidenced with PC advisor and collation from endgadget. It is basically a slightly more elegant version of the Asus transformer. The price of the Switch 10 is attractive. For the price of Sing$599 you get a tablet running windows 8 and an easily attachable / detachable keyboard. The tablet can be attached to the keyboard either to emulate a laptop, or back to front to provide a screen to share or show /watch content. The 10 refers to the tablet’s 10 inch screen.
The Chiclet style keyboard is not flash but does the job. It takes a few uses to become attuned to the spacing of the keys but after a few typing sessions, touch typing is ‘re’-established. With Windows 8, there is a choice of touch or keyboard interface which can be disconcerting at first. Again, an hour or so of use and routines readjusted to input text via attached keyboard but respond to all others via swipe / touch.
The tablet boots up quickly (especially when compared to the Surface RT) and the apps I usually use run well. I found migrating all the apps through the Microsoft account to be painless. Just enter details during the set up and presto, all the apps etc. from previous Surface Pro transferred across. Each app does require uploading to activate and some (like games) bring you back to the very beginning (sigh). Access to files etc. stored on the cloud via dropbox (my photo archive), onedrive (work files), kindle (100s of books) and overdrive (Christchurch llibrary books / magazines / audio books) was hassle free. One USB port provided although nowadays I tend to go on the cloud and only save essentials like presentations to USB as last resort backup if WiFI is not available. Only mini HDMI so will need an adaptor to connect to larger screen or data show type set up or install miracast.
With the keyboard, using PC based software proved to be straightforward. Having worked with a Surface Pro for some time, the migration between apps and ‘desktop’ productivity tools no longer a novelty. For work, I prefer the familiar windows environment to the iPad which I use mainly for reading and web surfing. Web surfing on the Switch 10 using IE or Chrome is also uncomplicated. When out and about, finding and connecting to Wifi is clear cut.
The tablet comes loaded with Acer specific Apps but these can be easily shifted away from the start screen or deleted altogether. My main gripe is the provision of only one camera – facing forward – which makes it less useful for some of our tablet projects utilising the video capability of the tablet to improve practice-based learning. We have found sitting the tablet on a table with the screen facing away from the person to be videoed, provides a less intimidating prospect than if the person has to ‘talk’ to the screen. The power connection on the right side of the table is also a bit of a pain when you are using the tablet while it is charging as it tends to fall off easily.
Overall, a tidy and effective package of tablet cum keyboard if you require a light / small piece of hardware to surf the web, read books and work on documents on the go.