Acer unveils the R7: a laptop trying to be everything to everyone

Acer Aspire R7

Acer Aspire R7

Acer has unveiled the R7, a 15.6-inch touchscreen notebook which appears to be an attempt to marry not just laptops with tablets but also the lessons learned from the burgeoning tablet stand market.

The device, which features a 1920×1080 screen and some serious computing power, has four modes. Each of these modes, it says, is designed to serve a specific function:

  • Ezel Mode — Reach out and pull the display closer, eliminating the need to reach across the palm rest and keyboard to use the touch screen. Just pull it up and out where it can be positioned in front of the keyboard, or float over it. By pulling the display close, switching between touchscreen, keyboard and touchpad is seamless.
  • Notebook mode — Slide the display back behind the keyboard, and you have a powerful, full featured notebook computer with a 39.6 cm (15.6”) Full HD 1920×1080 touchscreen display, Intel Core i5 processor, up to 12GB of memory, up to 1TB(3) hard drives, or up to 256GB SSD(4) 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.
  • Display Mode — Flip the screen over and it’s positioned perfectly for watching a movie, showing photos or giving a presentation. Sharing and collaborating is simple, enjoyable and straightforward. With Acer’s proven dual-torque design, the screen flips easily yet remains rigid when touched.
  • Pad Mode — Simply pull down the touchscreen and lay it on top of the keyboard with the face up, and the Aspire R7 morphs into a pad, without giving up the robust performance of a notebook. The ergonomic 4-degree tilting angle makes it perfect for browsing, writing or drawing and ideal for pure touch interactions like casual gaming and annotating.

“With the Aspire R7, Acer has redesigned the notebook with an approach that’s based on how people interact with their PCs and devices,” said Oliver Ahrens, president, Acer Europe. “Its progressive design redefines the computing experience, so whether consumers are touching or typing, the R7 adapts to allow consumers to create, browse and share content in ways they never have before.”

That’s all well and good, we found ourselves thinking once we’d decoded all the corporate newspeak, but is it perhaps a tad over-engineered? We get that there are times when your iPad just doesn’t cut it for presentations, but is there really that much of an advantage to having it upright without the keyboard when you’re giving a presentation? I’ve never looked watched a movie or given a presentation with my laptop and wished the keyboard wasn’t there. The existence of pad mode also suggests that Acer has thought about the fact that people like tablets and then leapt to the conclusion that they might like a very large one.

That said, the hinge system is pretty nifty and could see useful application in a few other devices.



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