Acer enhances the Aspire Switch 10 with a 1080p model, and a new 11.6-inch version

The Acer Aspire Switch 10, which we reviewed in June of this year, impressed us with its slim design, decent display and low price, earning itself our Recommended award. Now the company is following up its success with two new models; a revised 10.1-inch with an optional full HD display, and a new 11.6-inch model that provides a larger keyboard and more powerful hardware than the original.

Related: DT’s complete IFA 2014 coverage

Let’s tackle the revised model first. Like the original Acer Aspire Switch 10, it includes an Intel Atom processor and will ship with 2GB of RAM, and either a 32GB or 64GB solid state drive. The system’s dimensions have changed, however, as its display now offers a 16:10 ratio rather than the normal 16:9 “widescreen” form factor. This makes it a bit taller than before, but the 10-inch model still weighs just 2.58 pounds with keyboard attached, and the tablet alone is only 1.29 pounds. It’s quite slim, too, measuring 20.2 millimeters with keyboard and 8.9mm without.

Changing the display ratio means the standard resolution has changed from 1,366 x 768 to 1,280 x 800. That adds up to slightly fewer pixels overall, but we think 16:10 makes more sense for a tablet than 16:9, which is too narrow when used in portrait orientation. The new model adds an optional 1,920 x 1,200 display that provides over 200 pixels per inch.

Surprisingly, in spite of its enhancements, the base Switch 10 will still sell for $329 (the cost of the full HD upgrade is to be announced) and will be available later this month. All versions of the 10-inch model come with a one-year subscription of Microsoft Office 365 Personal.

The all new Switch 11 offers a display built with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a larger keyboard dock that Acer hopes will prove more comfortable for users with a case of sausage fingers. Externally it is similar to the smaller model, and might be mistaken for it at a glance, but there are differences.

Related: Asus says its new ZenBook is “thinner than air”

Most notable is the existence of two extremely distinct models. The “mainstream” SW5-111 has hardware similar to the Switch 10; it includes an Atom Z3745 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 64GB solid state drive and a 1,366 x 768 touchscreen.  Acer will also sell the SW5-171 which replaces the Atom with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, bumps the display resolution to 1080p, doubles the RAM and upgrades to a 128GB SATA solid state drive. Both models will offer a pair of USB ports, but only the Switch 11 will support USB 3.0.

Acer won’t be providing Switch 11 users with a free year of Microsoft Office 365 Personal. The larger model is more expensive, too, but not excessively so; it should start at $399 when it hits retailers in October.

Obviously, these siblings aren’t identical, but the similarities seem to outweigh the differences. Both models provide a comparable feature set. Each offers a “zero air gap” IPS display, a magnetic snap hinge that makes detaching the removable keyboard a cinch, and a touchpad with palm rejection that should cut down on accidental clicks. They can also be used in four modes; notebook, pad, display and tent. We appreciated this versatility when we reviewed the first model and we’re glad to see Acer has improved the Switch’s core features without inflating the price.

Buyers will also be able to select from a variety of optional accessories including an active stylus, a protect case and a micro USB charging hub. The availability and pricing of these extras hasn’t been announced.

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