The liquid-cooled Acer Switch Alpha 12 is a serious Microsoft Surface competitor

Acer Switch Alpha 12
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Unmasked at the 2016 next@acer Global Press Conference in New York, the new Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 convertible notebook is an impressive piece of kit. It’s proudly the industry’s first 2-in-1 notebook powered by 6th Generation Intel Core processors that’s completely fanless. Today, I had a closer look at the stunning ultraportable at its Malaysian unveiling.

The Switch Alpha 12 spearheaded Acer’s 2016 line-up for Malaysia today, alongside the new Aspire S 13, Aspire R 15, Aspire E and F Series, and R1 Series monitors.

Has the Surface been beaten at its own game?

The Microsoft Surface (and its Pro variants) is the benchmark of the segment it created. Since its introduction, it has grown from strength to strength, leading all the way till its fourth iteration now. There hasn’t quite been a proper competitor… until now.

The Switch Alpha 12 is everything a Surface is, and even brings a few new things to the plate, while keeping affordability in sight.

It doesn’t have the Surface’s military-grade magnesium alloy body, but it does have an anodized aluminum chassis. Taking cues from the Surface, it features an anti-slip U-shaped kickstand that supports multi-angle placement. Easily adjust up to 165 degrees.

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The sexy notebook weighs a scant 900g without the keyboard (up to 1,250g with) and measures just 9.5mm thin.

Liquid-cooled goodness

Under the hood, this is where it gets interesting. It features 6th Generation Intel Core processors (up to i7). It’s the industry’s first fanless 2-in-1 notebook running 6th Gen Core. On top of that, it boasts Acer’s cutting-edge liquid cooling technology called Acer LiquidLoop. It keeps things quiet, cool and stable, even with long hours of use.

Acer Switch Alpha 12
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It gets up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM and 256GB SSD.

From first impressions, performance is snappy, although I didn’t get to test out more intensive tasks like photo/video-editing, or 3D gaming.

It sports a crisp 12-inch QHD IPS display that’s driven by integrated Intel Graphics 520.

Connectivity-wise, there’s Wi-Fi 802.11ac/a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also a USB 3.1 Type-C port as well as HDMI and SD card slot.

Battery life is claimed to be up to 8 hours, which is more than impressive by today’s standards.

The Switch Alpha 12 comes with an attachable keyboard, although only the i7 variant gets the backlit version. The keyboard feels really good, with a solid base. I can say it’s at least as solid if not better than the Surface Type Cover. Measuring just 5.85mm thin, keys are well-spaced, and has good 1.4mm key travel. The magnetic hinge helps keep it attached to the pad, and makes it easy to detach as well.

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Acer TrueHarmony complements the notebook’s dual front-facing speakers, and adjusts audio based on the device’s orientation.

Pricing and availability

  • Switch Alpha 12 (Intel Core i3) – MYR2,499
  • Switch Alpha 12 (Intel Core i5) – MYR3,499
  • Switch Alpha 12 (Intel Core i7) – MYR4,499

Initial impressions

To be completely honest, I’m impressed with the Switch Alpha 12 and I think if you like the Surface, you’ll like this one too. Costing substantially less, it offers plenty of kit and is well-built too.

While it remains to be seen how well liquid-cooling works, the entire package is an impressive one.

In my opinion, the Switch Alpha 12 is a serious threat to the Surface, and you should seriously consider it if you’re looking for a 2-in-1 convertible notebook.

Top job, Acer.

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