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Acer's TravelMate Spin B1 is a rugged Windows 10 2-in-1 for the education market

Why it matters to you

Rugged Windows 10 2-in-1 PCs are gaining traction in the education market, introducing a new generation to drawing and writing on their PC displays

While it’s not quite true yet that every new Windows PC is a 2-in-1 that can convert from a standard notebook to a tablet, it does seem that the market is turning in that direction. While most manufacturers still make the inflexible notebook, the majority of them are adding 2-in-1s to the mix.

In some cases, they’re taking popular standard notebook models and transforming them into 2-in-1s, as Dell has done with its excellent XPS 13. Now, Acer has joined the fray, offering a new 2-in-1 version of its TravelMate line dubbed the Spin B1.

More: CES 2017 proves 2-in-1s are becoming the new normal

The TravelMate Spin B1 maintains the line’s utilitarian spirit by being aimed directly at the education market. It will be shown off at the 2017 BETT show being held in London, England on January 28-28, and offers a rugged Windows 10 2-in-1 option to meet the needs of students and teachers.

In terms of components, the Spin B1 will be decidedly entry-level, offering Intel Pentium processors with integrated HD Graphics. Acer has so far been coy in reporting other specifications, but touts up to 13 hours of battery life to ensure that the new machines can make it through an entire school day.

Wireless connectivity includes 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Wired connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI port for connecting to external delays. The integrated SD card reader makes it easier for students and teachers to save and share files.

The Spin B1 will also be able to withstand the typical abuse that students can dish out. The 2-in-1s utilize a shock-absorbent middle rubber frame for strength, and the pressure-resistant screen can withstand up to 60kgf of frontal impact force. The spill-resistant chiclet-style keyboard protects against up to 330ml of water via a gutter system underneath the keyboard and Windows 10 Precision Touchpad that drains water away from internal components and out of the bottom of the Spin B1.

The Windows 10 2-in-1 form factor is being well-utilized with an active stylus that supports Windows Ink for taking notes, annotating Microsoft Word documents, and drawing. A stylus click opens Microsoft OneNote in a fashion similar to the pen offered with Microsoft’s own Surface line of machines. Finally, Acer includes its TeachSmart educational software for enhanced teacher-student interaction¬†and works with multi-colored LED lights on the notebook’s cover to let students signal teachers without interrupting the entire class.

The TravelMate Spin B1 will be available in various regions starting in the second quarter of 2017. You can contact Acer directly for pricing and specifications for your specific market.