For Acer fans that seek flexibility and versatility, Acer recently announced the Aspire R13 which is an All-In-One PC equipped with comparable functions to similar devices on the market.
Ever since the Yoga All-in-One PCs were first introduced on the market by Lenovo, other manufacturers have followed suit by coming out with innovative All-In-One devices with great designs and functional features capable of serving the multipurpose user. In an effort to compete in the AIO device market, Acer recently released the R13 laptop that offers six different viewing modes with a new hinge design and touchscreen display.
The new Acer R13 is designed to be more lightweight with a compact chassis that is made of plastic material. The plastic is designed with a thin metal coating which provides a classy and sophisticated finish. Although the Acer R13 sports a plastic construction, the device is very sturdy and durable. Plus, the bottom panel is designed with a rubberised material which ensures a firm grip when you are using the device in tablet mode.
The frame on the display panel is made of metal which encases the tough Gorilla Glass 3 on the screen. The screen offers Gorilla Glass on the touch screen surface, as well as on the back of the display panel which helps to contribute to the durable construction.
The hinges are designed with a stiff metal quality to prevent the screen from moving when you use the touch screen, regardless of the mode you choose. Similar to the Dell XPS 12, there are only two hinges to enable you to completely rotate the display screen at 180 degrees. The Ezel Aero Hinges add more flexibility and versatility to the Acer R13, a feature which surpasses the Yoga AIO devices.
The display is designed to switch between operating modes to enable you to use the device as a laptop, for business presentations, or as a tablet. The R13 is also equipped with technologies that allow the device to automatically identify the operating mode regardless of what angle you are using to view the screen.
The Acer R13 is also designed with portability in mind with dimensions of just 13.4 x 9 x 0.71 inches. However, the weight is a bit on the heavier side at 3.3 pounds despite the plastic construction.
What are the Different Modes?
The Acer R13 is designed with an Ezel Aero Hinge which is a unique piece of hardware that allows the R13 to be converted to six different modes. This means that the R13 can function as more than just a laptop. It can also function as a tablet, an easel that allows you to bring the screen closer for better viewing, a tent mode that provides a way to easily deliver presentations, a stand position that allows you to use the touch functions to take notes and create diagrams, and a tablet mode.
This mode allows you to use the R13 as a standard laptop with the conventional hinge function that allows you to adjust the screen angle. In this mode, the screen folds down onto the keyboard just as a traditional laptop would.
Stand Mode allows you to place the display screen at a slight angle. In this mode, only the touch functions are available which makes it ideal for taking notes and creating drawings with the optional stylus pen.
This mode allows you to use the R13 as a laptop PC. The only difference is the display can be positioned so it is closer to you. This improves visibility while browsing the web or reading content.
Display Mode allows you to fold the keyboard underneath to reveal the display screen for watching videos or showing presentations. This mode requires a little more table room than the Tent Mode.
Tent Mode allows you to fold the device to form a tent shape. When the device is standing on the table, it provides another convenient way to view videos and presentations.
Active Stylus Pen
For the modes that only offer touch screen functionality, you can opt to purchase the Aspire Active Stylus digitiser pen which provides you with an authentic pen and paper writing experience. The Active Stylus feels like a traditional ball point pen with pressure sensitive functions that are similar to real ink. This makes it a useful tool for creating drawings, taking notes, and making annotations. The pen can be purchased on the Acer website for around £29.99.
What is the Display Like?
The Acer R13 sports a 13.3 inch display equipped with additional features that make the display screen stand out from its mainstream competitors. The quality of the display falls in between the Lenovo Yoga and the Sony Vaio with a 2560 x 1440 220 ppi (pixels per inch) resolution. This resolution is exceptionally high for a device of this size.
What makes the display on the R13 stand out is the WQHD technology which is also known as Quad HD and provides up to four times the pixels as a standard 720p resolution. This is an advantage when viewing the Windows 8.1 modern UI without experiencing any issues. The R13 display panel also has an exceptional contrast ratio of 1374:1 which is way ahead of its competitors.
Other features for the display panel include IPS (In-Plane Switching) which supports the high resolution capability and LED background illumination technology manufactured by Sharp electronics. This type of LED technology provides incandescent colour light which provides luminous efficiency when viewing the display panel.
The display also has ten point capacitive touch screen capability for improved functionality when using the touch screen functions. Instead of a glossy panel, Acer has included a matte finish display to reduce problems with reflection and glare.
What are the Specifications?
The Acer R13 runs on the Windows 8.1 64-bit operating system. This provides you with the convenience of the Modern User Interface and access to apps combined with the traditional Desktop reminiscent of Windows 7. Other specifications include:
The R13 is equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor running at 2GHz. Core i7 is the latest technology in processing performance and provides speedy results. There is also 8GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) with up to 1 TB (terabyte) of storage space on the dual Solid State Drives which include 512 GB and RAID 0.
1 TB is the next storage capacity up from GB (gigabytes) and provides more than enough storage space for all your needs. The Solid State Drive is also more durable since it is void of any moving parts which can wear out over time.
In terms of graphics performance the R13 is not bad. The R13 is equipped with an Intel High Definition Graphics 4400 processor. This is more than enough for getting things done on the go. Plus, it is pretty good if you want to take in a few videos or games along the way. When combined with the processing performance mentioned above, you should get plenty of speed that will help you get things done.
Acer designed the R13 with very compact dimensions. For this reason, the port connectivity is not up to where it should be, but it is still not bad. There are two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port to handle a variety of peripherals. You can also expand the storage capacity, thanks to the 2-in-1 SD card reader that is protected by a small tray that is removable.
The R13 also offers an HDMI port for viewing content on the big screen, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Kensington Lock which allows you to secure the R13 while you are on the go. All of the connectivity ports are located on the back of the device plus, the USB ports are conveniently spaces apart so you can use them simultaneously. One feature that is lacking is an Ethernet port for establishing wired connectivity.
The R13 is equipped with the latest IEEE wireless standard of 802.11ac. Although the AC standard is backwards compatible, the Acer R13 is also equipped with wireless a/b/g/n as well.
In terms of wireless connectivity, you also have access to Bluetooth 4.0 which allows you to connect Bluetooth-enabled devices. When using video-conferencing over the Internet, the high definition 720p webcam is okay and produces acceptable video quality. Plus, there are dual microphones equipped with Acer Purified Voice for improved sound clarity during video chats.
The Acer R13 is equipped with dual audio speakers that utilise Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre cinema sound audio technology. In terms of audio quality, the sound is not bad and will fill a moderately sized room for a business presentation or video demonstration.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The chiclet style keyboard offers backlighting for environment with low lighting. The backlighting also protects against glare by providing lumination that is a bluish-white colour. The keys are also well spaced to provide a hassle free typing experience.
The initial row of letters provide functions that can be used with the Fn key, including controls for regulating the screen display and keyboard backlighting.
The touchpad on the R13 is generously sized at 4.7 inches and has a matte finish that is smooth and provides ease of use. The touchpad is also responsive to taps and clicks even with minor gestures.
What about the Battery Life?
When it comes to battery life, the 61Wh Lithium-Ion battery has a life of up to 7.5 hours. If you are using the R13 for light computing tasks, it is possible to squeeze out just over eight hours of battery life according to benchmark tests.
When looping videos continuously, you can expect to get just under eight hours of battery life. If you are using the R13 with maximum load capacity and multitasking, you may only get about four hours of battery life.
When compared to the Lenovo Yoga that has a 44Wh battery, Acer equips the Aspire R13 with a relatively decent module. Additionally, its competitor, the Sony Vaio Fit, only sports a 36Wh battery. However, the Lenovo offers more conservative power consumption which increases the battery life to a degree.
What are the Alternatives to the R13?
The acer Aspire R13 competes with the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and the Sony Vaio Fit 13A multi-flip device. However, when comparing the display to the Yoga 3, you will find the R13 has more technologies in the display panel than the Yoga 3. Additionally, the display features are not as high as the Sony Vaio Fit.
Another competitor on the market is the HP Pavilion 13 which does not offer as much processing performance as the Aspire R13, Yoga 3, and Sony Vaio Fit. When it comes to battery life, the Acer Aspire R13 wins hands down when compared to its competitors.
What about Pricing?
The Acer Aspire E13 will be made available in two different versions. The lower priced version offers a Core i5 processor with the upper end version offering a Core i7 processor. The R13 will be initially offered in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe beginning in January 2015 with prices starting at $899 for the Core i5 version. The Core i7 version is expected to be priced starting at $1299.
What are the Pros and Cons?
Overall, we think you will be pleased with the capabilities and style of the Acer Aspire R13. Although a lot of things still remain to be seen, here are a few pros and cons:
- Great display features and screen resolution.
- Advanced selection of modes with ease of switching.
- Sturdy and durable build.
- Responsive touch screen functionality.
- Generous touchpad and well-designed keyboard with backlighting.
- Plenty of storage and processing performance.
- Decent battery life.
- Speakers are just okay.
- More plastic material in the design than competing devices.
- Price may not be worth upgrading to the Core i7 processor.
The Bottom Line – Would I Buy One?
The Aspire R13 version that has the Core i7 processor can be rather pricey when you compare it to other functional devices on the market with Core i5 processing performance. In this regard, you would need to decide whether or not the extra money for the i7 processor is worth it to you. The reality is there are only slight differences between the Core i5 and Core i7. The Core i7 offers a larger cache that is only 1MB more and a Turbo clock which increases the performance.
If you are debating or sitting on the fence, you should begin with the purposes for which you will use the Aspire R13. Then weigh the options against what you want to use the R13 for. The features in the Aspire R13 are definitely unique and are the main reason the R13 stands out from other devices on the market. If I were a travelling professional, I would definitely consider it.
Final verdict. Very good.
The Aspire R13 is mainly designed for professional use with access to a wide variety of operating modes you will not find in any other device of this type. Acer has also packed a lot of features into a 13.3 inch device without making any sacrifices in performance. If you are looking for advanced features, impressive display technology, high performance, and versatility and you do not mind paying a little more, you may find the Acer Aspire R13 to be perfect for you.
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