Touchscreen convertible ultrabooks used to be the preserve of people with thousands of dollars to blow — and hey, you can still spend three grand on a fancy Surface Book, if you really try. But for a little less than a tenth of that price, Acer will sell you something which, on the face of it, isn’t all that different.
The new Switch V10 and Switch One 10 are cute little 10-inch Windows convertibles that cost $250 and $200 respectively. They have some kind of magnetic hinge, so like the Surface Book, you can pull the screen off to use as a tablet, flip it around to use in “tent,” or just do some old-fashioned laptop computing.
There’s been a few sacrifices to get down to that price point. The processor inside is Intel’s cheap-and-cheerful Atom, which is a far cry from the Skylake-gen Core i5 or i7 you find inside higher-end devices. There’s also no discrete GPU, and very little by way of ports. Just one USB-C port lives on the side, so you’ll need to carry a bunch of adapters if you want to share video or use a USB drive.
The Switch V10 is the more premium of the two devices, with that aforementioned USB-C port, and a Gorilla Glass panel covering the touchscreen. The Switch One 10 is a little thicker, ditches the Gorilla Glass, and has a couple more ports.
Overall, there’s some tradeoffs that you’d naturally expect when buying a Windows convertible for $200. But as a portable device for taking notes or doing email, it’s a strong rival to the Chromebooks that have been dominating the $200 laptop space so far.