ACER Switch 10E

ACER Switch 10E – Review


DECEMBER 2015:



SUMMARY:

When I started my travels in November 2014, I went with an ASUS Transformer Book T100 which had excellent online reviews.

In my own ASUS Transformer Book T100 Review, I told you about how maddening the T100 was in real life and how disappointed I was with it.

What this experience did was help me really focus on exactly what I needed out of a 2-in-1. When I briefly returned to NZ in August 2015, I purchased an ACER Switch 10E at the Harvey Norman online store for NZ$499 (US$329).

Here is my practical review of the ACER Switch 10E.


SPECIFICATIONS:

ACER Switch 10EFor detailed specifications, follow this link.

In summary, it is a convertible tablet with:

  • Windows 8.1 (32 Bit)
  • 64GB of MMC Storage
  • 10.1 inch Full HD Gorilla Glass 3 Display
  • x64-Based Quad Core Baytrail Processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Magnetic Snap-Hinge Keyboard
  • Up to 8 Hour Battery Life

As usual with a Windows machine, when you first get it and do the initial install you have to go through many cycles of Windows upgrades to get to the latest operating system. That can be GBs of upgrades for an Operating System image that is only a few months old.

However, once fully done, I upgraded to Windows 10 without any issues. Unlike some, I am happy with Windows 10 and I am sure that Microsoft will fix the ‘odd quirks’ over time.


MY REQUIREMENTS:

I needed something to take away on my GRANDPAcking venture and the ACER Switch 10E seemed to tick all of the boxes. I needed something:

  • Cheap (so that I wasn’t constantly worrying about theft)
  • That could run my Windows business applications including:
    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Money
  • Could run WordPress
  • Was small (so that it was easy to transport under a scooter seat, etc)
  • Had a long battery life (so that it could last until I could find power at my next location)

I wasn’t worried about CPU power. What I was doing didn’t need Core i7 technology.


PRACTICALITIES:

I find that the problem with internet reviewers is that they don’t seem to actually really use the products enough to give them a full assessment. They seem to just look at the specs, the price and run benchmarks.

This is what I found in reality…


POWER:

As with the ASUS Transformer Book T100, there is no power socket. The ACER Switch 10E is charged through the microUSB port. The microUSB port is located next to the microHDMI port.

I am not a fan of this approach. Although, statistically, you will end up trying to plug in the microUSB cable the wrong way around 50% of the time it is actually worse than that. You can also end up trying to plug it into the microHDMI by mistake.

Also, the microUSB port and cable are not the most robust, so you are always worried that you might have got it wrong (and don’t want to force it in).

This means that, invariably, you have to pick up the 10E, and take care every time. It shouldn’t be that hard… all that’s needed is a round power port with a round connector.


BATTERY:

ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK T100:

The battery is spec’d for 11-12 hours of normal usage.

However, what they fail to tell you is that it takes over 12 hours to re-charge the T100 battery from empty… you are forever trying to charge the T100 so that you can use it.

On a few occasions, I would plug the T100 in to charge when I went to bed at night. When I awoke in the morning to use it again at breakfast, because of the 12+ hour recharge time, it had not fully charged… so you start the day with a problem and the problem compounds from there. The T100 was maddening.

ACER SWITCH 10E:

The battery is spec’d to last 7-8 hours for normal use from full charge.

The 10E does not suffer from the recharge problems that the T100 has. It recharges from empty in about 6 hours. This, effectively, nullifies the ‘so called advantage’ that the T100 is meant to have on battery life.

I have had none of the problems recharging the 10E that I had with the T100. The 10E seems to handle the variable ampage in S.E.Asia more effectively than the T100.

The end result is that the 10E is so much easier to use and I never found myself running out of battery power (like I did with the T100 on many, maddening occasions).


USE IT WHILST CHARGING:

ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK T100:

Another problem that I had with the T100 is that it wouldn’t charge whilst I was using it.

At best, having the T100 on recharge whilst using it, either prevented further drain on the battery or slowed down the battery usage. What it did not do was actually recharge. The result is that, with the T100, you are forever trying to conserve battery life and putting it on recharge. This, invariably, means that you are forever:

  • powering down and powering up
  • plugging and unplugging the keyboard (to improve recharge times)

Simply put, when you are not using the T100, you are spending the rest of your day trying to re-charge it (or making sure that it is re-charging). You end up spending all day worrying about your T100.

ACER SWITCH 10E:

This is not the case with the 10E. You can happily use it whilst it is recharging and it actually recharges at the same time.

Life is so much simpler with the 10E.


TABLET – KEYBOARD CONNECTIVITY:

ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK T100:

I had all sorts of problems with the T100:

  • the keyboard misses letters frequently
  • the mouse pad jumps the pointer to the edge of the screen now and again
  • the touch pad is so small that you need to turn gestures off (otherwise all sorts of crazy things start happening)
  • the manual locking pins on the keyboard were too central
  • the felt in the locking mechanism gets dislodged (and the glue melts in hot weather)
  • the locking mechanism puts stress on the connector when you open and close the lid
  • it is easy to crack the tablet screen and lose touchscreen capability
  • the screen tilts back to only about 110 degrees (causing usage problems)

ACER SWITCH 10E:

You get none of these problems with the 10E. However, I would still suggest that you switch touchpad gestures off.

The magnetic connect to the keyboard is very easy to use and is strong enough for you to pick up the 2-in-1 by the tablet without losing the keyboard.

In addition, the magnetic connect allows you to connect both ways, so you also get a very useful ‘Display Mode’. Something that I used all of the time when watching videos or streaming from the internet. In this mode, you can also close the 2-in-1 so that the screen is ‘flush’ to the keyboard (which covers the keys and allows you to continue to use the 10E as a Tablet).

ACER Switch 10E Display Mode

And, further, the screen tilts back to over 135 degrees giving you plenty of viewing angle. However, at 135, the weight of the Tablet can cause the unit to ‘lose balance’. This is easily resolved by either:

  • Getting the upgraded 10E that includes a 500GB HDD in the keyboard; or
  • Opening up the keyboard and putting weights into the slot where the HDD should be (I used ‘Play Dough’ and a few heavy washers wrapped up in a small plastic bag)

MICROSD SLOT:

ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK T100:

You can’t permanently pop in a microSD.

The microSD does not sit ‘flush’ in the slot – a little bit of the card ‘pokes out’.

This means that it is easily knocked and pops out by accident. It is just a matter of time before it is lost forever.

ACER SWITCH 10E:

This is not the case with the 10E.

The microSD card sits ‘flush’ in the slot and you can leave it in permanently without any worries.

This means that with no weight overhead (such as having to have an Hard Disk in the keyboard or an external USB Hard Disk Drive), you can increase the ACER 10E storage from the internal 64GB to 192GB.


FINAL NOTES:

The only real disadvantage that the 10E has vs the T100 is that it does not come with a USB3 slot (only the older and slower USB2). God knows why not.

On these Tablet 2-in-1s the speakers are not the best. On the T100 the speakers are on the back and, on many occasions, I struggled to hear what I was streaming when there was any ambient noise (e.g. from the street outside). The 10E solves this problem by putting the speakers on the front; although no louder than the T100, this means that you get improved sound and volume.


MY ADVICE:

The ACER SWITCH 10E beats the ACER Transformer Book T100 hands down.