Acer pulls a switcheroo with the Switch 10 tablet

We all know that netbooks are dead, but tablets are definitely replacing them, and Acer is there proving it with the Switch, a 10 inch tablet that comes with a keyboard packing in a 500GB hard drive and one of those neato multimode hinges we’re seeing.

A newbie from Acer is on its way to stores, months after we’ve seen something new from the company responsible for one of the better 8 inch Windows 8 tablets out right now.

The new model isn’t 8 inch, though, instead going for a 10.1 inch touchscreen display sporting a resolution of 1280×800 (HD) and protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Acer is also using “zero gap” technology for the screen, similar to recent Apple iPad models, with this technology aiming to improve brightness and use of the screen in sunlight.

Most of the tech is encased in the screen section, too, with an Intel Atom quad-core “Bay Trail” processor clocked at 1.3GHz and paired with 2GB RAM, with either 32 or 64GB of storage depending on the option chosen. This section — the tablet — measures 8.9mm thin, and provides Windows 8.1 installed with Office 365 Personal installed out of the box.

But you’ll probably want more than just a touchscreen to type on, and for that, there’s a keyboard dock that will come in the box, providing a keyboard, touchpad mouse with a button underneath, and interestingly a 500GB hard drive inside here.

The hinge is also particularly interesting, offering a tablet hybrid that you can disconnect with ease, with strong magnets that hold the screen in place, and a simple pull of the tablet removing it from the keyboard section, no latch or button required.

That hinge and dock section doesn’t require the screen to be connected at once specific angle, making it possible to be used similar to multimode hinges used in the Lenovo Yoga and HP X360, so you’ll have two tablet modes — the touchscreen by itself and flat against the keyboard — as well as a tent mode for watching movies on a plane, a stand mode for small presentations, and a notebook mode for using the computer like a regular computer.

We’re pleased to see Acer has moved beyond plastic with this model, with an aluminium body, and a total weight for the machine coming in at 1.17 kilograms for both the tablet and the keyboard dock, with the tablet just under 600 grams itself.

“Our new 2-in-1s are great value for people who want both a laptop and a tablet,” said Katherine Nguyen, Head of Marketing at Acer Australia and New Zealand, adding that “now they can have both, in one versatile, affordable device.”

Pricing for the Acer Switch 10 starts at $599, where Acer is bringing a 32GB model with the keyboard and its 500GB to market, while a 64GB model with the 500GB keyboard will come in around $699.

This also won’t be Acer’s only foray for the Switch series, which looks set to replace the W5 from almost two years ago.

There will also be an 11 inch model coming shortly, we’re told — the Switch 11 — while a “pro” model of the Switch 10 will be in stores too, offering similar specs as the Switch 10 but with a different screen, jumping from the 1280×800 HD panel to a 1920×1200 display with stylus support.This model should be in stores from October, but we have checked with Acer and the stylus will not work with the regular HD version of the Switch 10, so if this is a deal breaker for you, you’ll want to look for the Switch 10 Pro.

If you’re not bothered by this, however, you’ll find the Switch 10 in stores shortly from $599, along with our review, which shouldn’t be too long, either.