What devices should we expect from Acer this year (next@acer press conference roundup)
On the 23rd of April, Acer held a press conference in New York that aimed to introduce tons of new devices and we had the pleasure of seeing in-person what Acer has to offer in the near future. The company unveiled some new notebooks, ultrabooks, convertibles, tablets, smartphones, desktop displays, and even a desktop gaming machine that’s part of the Predator family. All devices were part of an existing lineup or refreshed models, but either way, most of them were quite interesting, especially the new Predator gaming products. Continue reading to find out more about them.
Acer Liquid X2
Several devices at the conference were kept away from curious hands and sealed away in a glass container or just simply restricted area. Well, the smartphone Acer Liquid X2 was one of those devices and while Acer was unveiling the device they weren’t very brief about the specs. The design features glass back, maybe aluminum frame (we weren’t allowed to touch it) and it strongly resembles the design signature of the Sony Xperia smartphones. However, this device offers something that cannot be seen even in the latest flagship smartphones from the big companies and you can add an awesome-looking flip case with unconventional design for your comfort.
The Liquid X2 offers 5.5 HD screen and the image might not appear crystal clear, but this will surely affect the battery life in a good way, especially considering the huge 4000 mAh battery. The smartphone also has not two, but three SIM card slots, 13MP rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture and the same goes for the for the front shooter, so we can expect some quality selfies. The performance should also be met by a 64-bit octa-core CPU, but Acer didn’t say anything about it so it’s safe to assume that it’s one of the new MediaTek SoCs. It seems like the smartphone is mostly suitable for frequent travelers with this big battery and 3 SIM slots. It will surely be available in the US and some European countries by the end of this quarter, but we cannot say what’s going to be the price tag.
Acer Iconia One 8 and Tab 10
Acer has been offering nifty budget solutions in the tablet segment for quite some time and the vendor updated its famous Iconia One and Tab lineup with a refreshed 8 and 10-inch models, respectively. The Iconia One 8 has the same soft plastic design with interesting ornaments on the back and keeps most of the specs the same – IPS LCD screen with 800 x 1280 resolution, 1GB RAM, 16/32 GB internal storage with the option of an external SD card up to 32GB. No word about the battery, though it might keep the old one with 3700 mAh capacity. The most notable upgrade here, however, is the Intel Atom Z3735G SoC that’s clocked a tad higher than its predecessor (1.83GHz vs 1.6GHz) and the device comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.
As for the 10-inch Iconia Tab, with it’s main orientation towards the so-called Google Education ecosystem. This device comes with cool design and interesting patterns at the back while the screen is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The CPU has been upped too with Intel Atom Z3735F ticking at 1.83GHz with its quad-core architecture. The operating memory is 2GB, Intel HD Graphics for GPU and several storage options from 16GB to 64GB with the option of an additional 128GB mciroSD. The screen measures at 10″ with Full HD (1920×1200) resolution and the usual implementation of the Zero Air Gap technology. The display is also user-friendly due to its BluelightShield technology that has been introduced with several other devices. Simply put, it decreases the eye strain of the display that emits blue light emissions. Both devices will be made available this May.
Acer Chromebook 15
Continuing with the Google devices, Acer outed the next Chromebook, but this time in a bigger form factor – 15.6″. Acer cashed in on some good sales result from the famous Chromebook C720 and looks like the 15.6-inch model will be just as good. The display is with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, with anti-glare technology. Spec-wise, the notebook offers Intel Celeron N2830 CPU with Intel HD Graphics GPU, 2GB of RAM, and only 16GB of internal storage, so if you are planning on getting this model, an external hard drive would be a good idea. The Wi-Fi is also improved with the dual-band MIMO 802.11ac wireless connection and the whole thing weighs 2 kg (4.41 lbs) which in our opinion is more than it should be – it doesn’t offer heavy and powerful hardware, nor optical drive for that matter. Nevertheless, the battery life is promised to be at least 12 hours of normal use, which is really impressive. We will see how the notebook performs in real-life conditions when we get the chance.
Acer Aspire Switch 10 and 10 E
The Aspire Switch lineup offers a range of interesting devices and Acer has added another one to the list. The Aspire Switch 12 surprised us with a good battery life, comfortable detachable keyboard and interesting, yet effective design. It looks like the new 10-inch model doesn’t fall too far away from the tree. The 2-in-1 devices boast a slim design, keyboard docking station and pleasant design on the back of the tablet. The screen presented in this model is 10.1″ with IPS panel and a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and again with Gorilla Glass protection, but unfortunately there’s no word whether it’s a Gorilla Glass 3 or 4. In contrast, the 10 E (which is the budget model) has a 1280 x 800 screen.
Both devices feature an improved Acer Snap Hinge 2.0 which is fairly easy to snap and detach, but the interesting part is that the hinge holds the main body really well with a magnetic-like feeling. This seems to be the one of the best, if not the best, hinges out there. We really liked the one presented in the 12-inch model and, in theory, this one goes even further. The keyboard also seems to take the most available space on the docking station and thus, typing feels really comfortable.
Acer Aspire R11
Acer introduced an interesting solution for a convertible with an unconventional hinge in the Aspire R13 model, but this one here should be a more budget solution if you are still willing to go for a convertible. The R11 has a smaller HD screen and also the panel used here is a TN variant while the R13 uses a much better IPS panel. The R11, however, looks more like a Yoga notebook from Lenovo with a flexible hinge going all the way to 360-degree angle. The hinge is also designed with dual-torque allowing you to work with the touchscreen more comfortably without the wobbling effect. This feature was first introduced in the Aspire S7 (full review here).
The notebook also offers TrueHarmony audio technology by Acer and BluelightShield for a more user-friendly experience while working long hours in front of the screen. The model will be offered with an Intel Pentium or Celeron CPU and up to 8GB of RAM. The storage options will also be from 500GB to 1TB, and unfortunately no SSD variants. However, this might change depending on your region.
Acer Aspire V15, E 14/15/17 and ES 11/13/14/15/17
Acer introduced a new notebook part of the V15 lineup, but without the “Nitro” at the end. This one is aimed more at the productivity and multimedia experience while offering premium textured aluminum top cover that’s created with the nano-imprint technology Acer likes to use. It has a really sleek and stylish feeling and some serious horsepower too – Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs as options which are part of the Broadwell generation and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940M discrete GPU. The internal memory is provided with several options for you to choose from – HDD: up to 2TB or SSHD up to 1TB. The sound provided by the machine is also deep and crispy due to the Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater speakers, but isn’t anything new to the Aspire V15 notebooks as we previously tested the sound system and it’s by far one of the best. You can check the Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition review for more information. The screen also comes in different variants – HD with touch capabilities, just HD or FHD. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one.
However, the premium line wasn’t the one getting all the attention. Acer outed a new ES series notebooks suitable for a daily driver balancing mainly on your checkbook. Those are some ultra-affordable notebooks with Pentium, Celeron or AMD E1 processors, integrated graphics and up to 1TB internal storage with 8GB of RAM. The devices also offer a fairly good design with comfortable keyboard that boasts long key travel and Precision Touchpad. Screen options vary from 11 to 17-inch diagonals with a maximum resoltion of 1600 x 900 pixels. As for the Aspire E series laptops, they feature roughly the same specs with more CPU options – Core, Pentium, Celeron, AMD FX, A10, A8, A6, A4 and E2. They can also be equipped with a discrete GPU. The display options expand to FHD variants from 14 to 17-inch models with touch capabilities. The interior and exterior are refreshed with a new texture design resembling denim and the best part is that it doesn’t leave smudges easily. A lot of color options are available too.
All notebooks of the above feature the BluelightShield technology for reducing eye strain during long hours of work. This technology tunes the display to filter blue light emissions with different modes reducing them from 18% to 54%.
Along all of these devices, Acer outed three new monitor models – H257HU, XR341CK, and the XB270HU. Let’s start with the H257HU display that measures at 25″ with a WQHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and IPS panel that covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. It also has built-in speakers and the design feels premium with futuristic bezel-less looks. The refresh rate is 60Hz with a 4ms response time make it ideal for every casual gamer. The XR341CK might be the most interesting one, though. Despite the bigger pixel count of 3440 x 1440 pixels, the refresh rate is 75Hz and the 34″ curved display will surely make it to a lot of hardcore gaming setups. It also supports NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for a batter and fluent visuals with the ones using NVIDIA GPU. The last one is XB270HU, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth the attention as it also brings WQHD (2560×1440) resolution in a 27″ form factor and the whooping 144Hz refresh rate with a 4ms of response time. This will make every first-person shooter look absolutely stunning. This one also goes with the NVIDIA G-SYNC support.
The new Predators
We saved the best for last. At the conference Acer introduced a gaming desktop machine, notebook, tablet and a monitor – all of which are part of the Predator family. Unfortunately, Acer wasn’t very vocal about its new Predator products, but we did hear that Acer has been working on the notebook for about 5 years now and it’s still in development. The release date or price isn’t clear, but we can expect it until the end of this year. And then there’s the tablet with four front-facing speakers aimed to deliver surround-like experience
Neverthless, the tablet will most probably challenge the NVIDIA Shield gaming tablet, while the notebook will tackle the Alienware series by Dell, along with the ASUS’ ROG products that have reigned in this segment. It will be fascinating too see what Acer has in store for us.
One last important note that should be taken into account – all Windows 8.1 devices like notebooks, smartphones, tablets and etc. announced at the conference will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10.
Soon we will publish a video interview with John Miedema, mobility director at Acer regarding future and current devices, so stay tuned as he has some interesting insight that you might interested in.