The newest model released by Acer under the Switch series umbrella is the 11.6 inch SW5-173P-61RD. This detachable 2-in-1 laptop stands out as a refined and quietly sophisticated device, but doesn’t really stand out as a model among its Acer siblings.
So, the Aspire Switch series from Acer is praised as being reliable, trustworthy and user friendly. This specific model makes no exception, delivering great performance and a consistent user experience from the design choices to the keyboard layout and everything in between.
The Acer has a bunch of features you’ll only find in these type of devices – 2-in-1 laptops:
- Acer Snap Hinge 2 – it’s a hinge design that makes connecting the screen to the keyboard base easier by guiding it with the help of a magnetic field.
- Acer LumiFlex – Uses an ambient light sensor to automatically improve and optimize screen visibility in either bright or dim light conditions.
- Zero Air Gap – Allows better view angles, reduced reflection and ghosting when viewing the screen in bright sunlight.
- Corning Gorilla Glass – Incredibly scratch and shock resistant glass panel with a smudge-resistant finish.
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The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V SW5-173P-61RD comes equipped with a dual core Intel Core M 5Y10C mobile processor. It’s a beautifully optimized CPU, with a scenario design power of just 3.5 Watts, so this thing generates less heat and saves battery power. It has a clock speed of 800 MHz to 2 GHz and a cache size of 4 megabytes. Although it’s small and energy efficient, the Intel CPU is surprisingly powerful, scoring no less than 2800 points in benchmark tests. That’s on par with some (albeit less battery friendly) Core i3 models.
The Acer also comes with 4 gigabytes of installed system memory. Considering the speed and versatility of the processor, I think 4 gigs of RAM are more than enough for almost everyone using this laptop. Multitasking won’t be an issue, neither will using more specialized programs, like Photoshop or demanding web apps – think how slow Google Maps loads on older devices.
Storage space is limited to 128 gigabytes. We’ve come to expect and understand such shortcomings, since we benefit in turn from the added speed bonus that comes with solid state drives. The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V has a SATA/600 SSD installed. This CPU-RAM-SSD trifecta makes this convertible laptop as snappy and responsive as it gets.
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V SW5-173P-61RD has a 11.6-inch LCD screen with IPS technology. IPS or In-plane switching allows for vastly improved viewing angles and better, more vivid color rendition. The 11.6″ screen features a full HD display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Pixel density will be great and everything will appear very crisp and detailed, however you’ll likely want to adjust a few settings for the text not to appear too small to read.
Of course, being a detachable 2-in-1, the Acer’s screen is touch enabled, which is very snappy and responsive, much like the previous models.
Unfortunately, here the Acer Switch 11 is lacking, I think. It only features one USB 3.0 port, a Micro SD card reader and an audio combo jack. That’s it. For a device that costs over $600, I would have expected at least another USB port, maybe the new USB-C port to be installed. So, no HDMI and no more than one USB port.
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Here, the Acer Switch excels. It has a 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO wireless card with built-in Bluetooth 4.0. The WLAN card in question will give you the best speeds over a wireless network when connecting to a compatible router available today.
Looks and functionality
The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V SW5-173P-61RD is a stylish device. The robustness and the superior build quality only add value to an otherwise elegant design which features a tactile mesh like cover and silver and dark grey accents.
The keyboard dock is surprisingly comfortable to use. The chiclet keys are wide enough and spaced ideally to ensure error rate is kept at a minimum while writing .
Weighing “only” 3.2 pounds, the Acer is quite heavy for an 11.6-inch laptop. It has to be, since all the components are stored in the tablet part. Naturally, the dock must counterbalance all that weight by…more weight. So, if you want an exceptional travel companion, this may not be the device you’re looking for.
Battery life is great, clocking well over 10 hours on a single charge.
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The Acer Aspire Switch 11 V SW5-173P-61RD is, overall, a good laptop. The hybrid is more than competent when it comes to dealing with multitasking, heavy programs and slow loading web apps, has a great screen with a quality display, but lacks another USB port and maybe an HDMI-out port and is a bit on the heavy side, at least when thinking of other 11.6-inch classic laptops.