Acer just announced the Aspire Switch 10, a new device the company describes as a "four-position 2-in-1 laptop." The Switch 10 can convert or "switch" (thus the name) between laptop mode and tablet mode with the help of its snap hinge, which features magnets that help guide the 10.1-inch, zero-gap IPS display back into the keyboard dock. Easily the standout of Acer's back to school lineup, the Switch 10 features a solid construction with an aluminum chassis and and dual front-facing speakers on the display portion. It runs Windows 8.1 (powered by an Intel Bay Trail processor) and includes Acer's new "Bring Your Own Cloud" technology which helps users access files stored locally at home or at the office from other devices. It's set to arrive in North America in June for around $380.
Aside from your regular laptop and tablet configurations, the Switch 10 can be positioned in a "display mode" ideal for watching Netflix, and there's also a "Tent" mode that serves as another way to prop the laptop up. In our brief hands-on, the Switch 10 indeed felt decently put together, and those magnets made docking with the keyboard much easier — though it still proved finicky once every few tries. The keyboard dock includes your standard collection of ports: USB, microSD, and a miniature HDMI connection. Naturally we would've liked to see a faster chip inside; for many users, those Atom internals could be a major handicap. Unless price is a limiting factor, it's hard to see this swaying laptop shoppers away from Lenovo's impressive lineup.
Newly-installed Acer CEO Jason Chen said that his company is "at a critical moment" in its turnaround, so at least things seem to be moving in the right direction. We look forward to hearing more about the company's plans for higher-end laptops in the coming months.