Acer’s new innovative convertible ultrabook — Aspire R7 — has a premium finish and can also be converted into an oversized tablet.
The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS device has an Intel i5-4200U 1.6GHz processor with 6GB of RAM and 750GB of hard disk storage capacity.
The bright display is stunning and the colours are rich and vibrant. Blacks are incredibly deep and the viewing angles are superb.
Both the outside and the inside are made from magnesium and aluminium alloy with matte silver finish. The bottom of the laptop is made of plastic with rubberized finish.
The device’s build quality is strong and the uniqueness of this device is the Ezel hinge at the centre to hold the screen, similar to a desktop monitor.
The height and the tilt angle can be adjusted to the needs of the user like parallel to the keyboard, screen facing opposite to the user and in tablet mode.
The hinge is very smooth and there is enough resistance to keep the screen from moving when not in use.
It has two USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port, headphone/microphone jack and a convertor port to attach some compatible adapters on the right side. A USB 2.0 port, Kensington lock slot, power adapter, the power on/off button, volume keys and a SD card reader are placed on the left side.
Acer has reversed the position of the touchpad and the keyboard which looks a bit awkward as consumers are used to a touchpad after the keyboard. The disadvantage is that there is no place to rest the palms. Acer has included a wireless mouse with the box for those who prefer to use the touchpad more often. It is a bold experiment by Acer.
One reason could be that in the floating mode the keyboard would be blocked in normal use and less liable to use the touchpad.
Acer should have added a numeric keyboard or something else on the sides of the touchpad as that space is not utilized.
Keyboard layout is large and the island-style keys offer a firm and tactile click. The back-light keyboard offer two levels of brightness which is pretty good and can save battery life.
Acer has also included a digitizer stylus with the box and it is useful when in the tablet mode and for artists but using a finger is easier for most users in most situations. It works fine and navigates the screen without any problems.
Unfortunately R7 does not come preloaded with apps optimized for stylus. The pressure-sensitive stylus has 256 levels of sensitivity.
But despite all the improvements, the device is a bit heavy, weighing around 2.5 kilos. It is an ideal desktop replacement for those who enjoy touch. It is difficult to use it as a tablet with a single hand. Acer games folder has 37 games app to be installed.
One useful feature is “AcerTouch Tools” which allows end users to place the cursor among fine text and tool bars if the fingers are big and virtually scrapbook images.
The 720p webcam is not very impressive as the colours are washed out and not very bright.
It has Nvidia GeForce 750M with 2GB of RAM and the processor-integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics for smooth rendering. Most games can be played at decent frames rates due to its dedicated GPU. The notebook features Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi for connections to peripherals and accessories.
In the battery test, the device lasted more than four hours of moderate use with screen brightness set to half but with full brightness and with WiFi on, the battery lasted just around three hours which is pretty decent compared to other 15-inch notebooks. It is priced at Dh5,199.