Today, Acer announced the successor of its multi-mode “Acer Switch 10” laptop from last year, which could be used as a tablet, as a notebook, as a display with the screen facing away, or as a “tent.” The new Switch 12 seems to be a little less crazy, but it can still be used as a notebook with its keyboard attached, it can be docked with its keyboard detached from it, or as a tablet that you can take in your hands.
These multi-mode devices don’t usually come for “free,” though, and there are some disadvantages as well. One would be price. Adding the dock and a detachable keyboard costs more than simply creating an integrated laptop. The inclusion of a touchscreen will make it considerably more expensive than a non-touch notebook, as well.
If you intend to use it as a tablet, the Switch 12 could also be up to twice as heavy as a normal tablet because of its attached dock, the keyboard (if you attach it), and because it has a larger size than other “large” 10″ tablets out there. (It features a 12.5″ display and a body large enough to accommodate it.)
Unlike the Switch 10 which came with an Atom CPU, the new Switch 12 received an Intel Core M 5Y10a/Broadwell-Y processor, which is the successor of previous Haswell-Y chips that weren’t used too much in notebooks because of their too-low performance. The Broadwell-Y chip should still be significantly faster than Switch 10’s Atom Z3745, but considering it’s still a Haswell-Y successor and that it’s restricted to under 10W TDP, it should be much slower than a Broadwell-based Core i5 chip. However, that class of chips won’t ship until later next year.
The Switch 12 also comes with a higher resolution than the Switch 10, featuring a Full HD 1080p resolution, rather than the old 1366 x 768 resolution. The notebook has 4 GB of RAM, and Acer gives you a choice between 60 GB and 120 GB of SSD storage. The device will run Windows 8.1.
Acer said the Switch 12 will start shipping in North America in Q1 2015, but it hasn’t revealed the pricing. Going by its more powerful and more expensive processor, the bigger screen with higher resolution, and a doubling in SSD storage, the device could cost significantly more than the Switch 10’s initial price of $380.