• Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7200U
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR3
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac WiFi
  • Others: MicroSD card reader, Stylus
  • Dimensions: 292.90 mm x 201.80 mm x 9.60
  • Weight: 0.9kg (1.27kg with dock)
  • Pros:
  • Highly portable
  • Bundled accessories
  • Silent
  • Cons:
  • Average screen
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark Home: 2,646 points
  • PCMark Creative: 2,767 points
  • PCMark Work: 2,933 points

Portable Excellence

When the first hybrid detachable notebooks appeared, many brands decided to make their own. That’s understandable, since portability and flexibility are important to many people. In Acer’s camp, one of its latest in this category is the Switch 5.

As Acer probably intended when naming it, the Switch 5 is a device that’s able to be used as a tablet, or switched to notebook use when docked with the keyboard. The body itself comes in a dark-grey coloured body that’s mostly aluminium, with a display surrounded by rather thick bezels. Diagonally, it measures more like a 12-inch device than an 11-inch one. The good thing is that the screen is a very sharp QHD IPS display (2160 x 1440).

The body and even the keyboard dock have solid builds. Within the keyboard dock is some hard plastic, giving the dock a strong frame that doesn’t flex, while keeping the weight of the entire unit low. Case in point, the Switch 5 only weighs 1.27kg even with the dock attached.

Being a detachable device that’s closer to tablet than a traditional notebook, the Switch 5 doesn’t has as many ports as its full-sized cousins. However, Acer equipped it with volume buttons, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, USB 3.0 Type-C port, 3.5mm jack for a headset and a microSD card reader. It also has rear and front facing cameras, which is useful for video calls and taking pictures.

The keyboard included is decent, as it is spaced out well and has good key travel, while its trackpad does well enough. When not docked, there’s a stylus available to use the machine in tablet mode. Like other devices with the same type of dock, the Switch 5 doesn’t feel comfortable to use when placed on the user’s lap, as it would dig into thighs with relish.

As a tablet, the Switch 5 can be great for watching videos. However, while its high resolution means visuals are quite sharp, the colour reproduction isn’t the best for an IPS display. Its contrast ratio is also average at best, but it does have a very bright screen. In regards to audio, it does well enough but lacks bass as expected of a device this size.

Thanks to its LiquidLoop cooling system, the Switch 5 doesn’t have generate any fan noise yet stays at a comfortable temperature most of the time. It might feel a bit warm on full load, but it won’t cook your lap.

CHIP CONCLUDE: It may not be the absolute best when it comes to performance, but its easily one of the top options you can go for in the detachable 2-in-1 category.

(previously published in issue November 2017)

Acer Switch 5