Despite Windows 8’s poor sales, there’s never been a better time to invest in a new laptop computer. With the new operating system, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make Windows more of a lifestyle product by introducing touch capabilities and a completely new user interface, and this week Acer has just launched a notebook that really makes Windows 8 a compelling alternative to a MacBook and Mac OS. At a glitzy New York press launch, Acer unveiled a slew of new notebooks specifically designed for Windows 8. The top-of-the-range model is the Aspire R7.
Spec-wise the R7 is no slouch as well as the Full HD 1920×1080 touchscreen display, there’s a Intel Core i5 processor, up to 12GB of memory, up to 1TB hard drive, or up to 256GB SSD and a full-size backlit keyboard. It also includes a volume control button, HDMI port, SD card reader, audio jacks, three USB ports, WiFi, Bluetooth and a convenient converter port supporting VGA, RJ45 and USB.
The R7’s main selling point, apart from the impressive specs, is a clever hinge that allows the screen to be moved into 4 differing positions so you can really utilise the high definition touchscreen to it fullest.
Ezel mode is the most interesting and allows you to pull display closer, removing the need to reach across the laptop to use the touch screen. By pulling the display closer, switching between touchscreen, keyboard and touchpad is as seamlessly as you can get on Windows 8.
Notebook mode is pretty self-explanatory: it allows you to slide the display behind the keyboard for a traditional notebook setup.
If you flip the screen over into display mode and it’s positioned perfectly for watching a movie, showing photos or giving a presentation. With Acer’s proven dual-torque design, the screen flips easily yet remains rigid when touched.
Pad Mode allows you to pull the touchscreen down and lay it on top of the keyboard with the screen facing up – essentially it turns the R7 into a rather bulky iPad. But the ergonomic 4-degree tilting angle makes it perfect for browsing, writing or playing casual touch games.
The R7’s impressive specs are also complemented with a decent sound system courtesy of Dolby Home Theater and four 8-watt speakers. Due to its transformative design, Acer has cleverly made sure the audio channels automatically reverse when switching modes, so stereo sound is always perfect no matter which way you use the notebook.
In addition, Acer also relocated the dual microphones to the front and at the base of the notebook below the keyboard. This provides for the best voice sound quality, and enhances the aesthetics of the touchscreen without have unnecessary speakers holes spoiling the design.
The Acer Aspire R7 is available in June with a starting price of £899.