Chunky hardware, passively cooled – Acer’s Switch 7 with heatpipes reviewed

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Acer made some interesting announcements at this year’s IFA. For example, the Taiwanese company presented an all-in-one with a 6 millimeter thick screen, and Acer also showed new peripherals and a desktop computer in the Predator series, which has a Core i9 processor, 128GB memory and four AMD RX Vega cards. can be delivered. We think the most interesting product is Acer’s new high-end tablet; the Switch 7.

If you look at the photos of the Switch 7, you could jump to the conclusion that the new Acer tablet is just another Microsoft Surface clone, including a folding keyboard, but then you underestimated the designers at Acer. A big difference with the Microsoft Surface and comparable tablets, for example, is the size. The Switch 7 has a 13.5″ screen, as opposed to the competition’s 12″ screens. The resolution is 2256×1504 pixels; exactly the same as with the Surface Laptop . It provides a typical 3:2 aspect ratio for high-end tablets, which means more vertical space is available than with a typical 16:9 screen. The Switch is of course equipped with an IPS screen, which at first glance is neatly laminated and has a good contrast.

That hefty screen diagonal also ensures that the Switch 7 is a large tablet, measuring almost 33 by 23 centimeters. The case is made of glass on the front, while the back is made of metal. It is not a unibody chassis, as there are seams between the metal back and the side edges, which appear to be made of plastic. The tablet feels solid, but what is most striking is the weight of 1.15 kilograms; that’s already heavier than most ultra-light laptops such as Acer’s own Swift 7. So it’s not a tablet to hold much and we got the urge to put it down after a fairly short time.

Apparently they also had that idea at Acer and that is why the manufacturer has ‘made the kickstand fold out automatically’. This works with the help of two tabs at the bottom of the tablet, which ensure that the kickstand unlocks when the bottom edge of the tablet touches a surface. The cams must be pressed at the same time, otherwise the system will not work. All in all, the construction is a nice gimmick, which in practice prevents you from fiddling with the kickstand of your tablet.


Acer Switch 7 Black Edition
Processor Core i7-8550U
GPU Nvidia MX150
Screen 13.5″, 2256×1504 pixels
Memory 16GB lpddr3
Storage Liteon CV3-SD512, 512GB SSD
Operating system Windows 10 Pro
The Switch 7 is therefore a large tablet, and that is good when you look at the hardware that Acer has put in it. The whole thing is powered by a quad-core i7 processor from Intel’s new Kaby Lake Refresh generation. It is striking that Acer has also added an MX150 GPU from Nvidia. We have never seen that in a tablet before and it ensures that you can play simple games or use the GPU for photo or video editing software. To top it all off, the whole thing is also passively cooled by a double heat pipe.

Whether that cooling system can dissipate enough heat without the CPU or GPU throttling is of course the question, but Acer has achieved it before with the Switch Alpha. We initially wondered whether the single heat pipe was enough to cool a 15-watt processor, but that turned out not to be a problem and Microsoft is now also passively cooling its Surface Pro with i5 processor. Cooling both a gpu and cpu is of course more difficult, which is why Acer has added an extra heat pipe loop to the cooling system, which has now given it the name ‘Dual LiquidLoop’. Nvidia does not specify a tdp for the MX150 GPU and the consumption also depends on the clock speeds that Acer sets, but we suspect that the MX150 can consume between 15 and 30 watts. When we have obtained a review sample of the Switch 7, we will certainly see whether Acer can successfully apply the passive cooling again.

Fingerprint scanner, stylus and keyboard

The passive cooling and the combination of a quad-core processor and MX150 video card already make the Switch 7 quite unique, but Acer has added other notable things. For example, you can use the fingerprint scanner that is placed on the right side of the screen to turn on the tablet and immediately log in to Windows. Unfortunately we couldn’t try the function on the show floor, but in the final review we will certainly pay attention to the way Acer has integrated it.

The Switch 7 is equipped with a Wacom digitizer and therefore comes with a stylus. That stylus supports – just like Microsoft’s latest pen – 4096 pressure levels and recognizes the tilt angle of the stylus. That sounds good, but the stylus is very small because it can be stored in the side of the tablet. As a result, the size has decreased to that of the pens that you received with the PDAs of yesteryear. The stylus is sufficient to make notes or simple sketches, but the average graphic artist will prefer to purchase a larger pen.

Finally, the Switch 7 is not complete without a keyboard. The weight of the tablet forces you to put it down and use it as a ‘laptop’ and fortunately Acer supplies a keyboard cover. The cover is made of plastic and sticks magnetically to the tablet, whereby the whole thing can also be placed at an angle. The keys have a surprising amount of travel and therefore it is pleasant to tap, especially when the cover is lying flat. If you place it at an angle, the whole springs slightly with every touch, although that is not immediately disturbing.

Preliminary conclusion

The Switch 7 will cost two thousand euros, and although that is a lot of money, you also get quite a bit in return. If you compare the Switch in terms of specifications with a Surface Pro, then you pay three hundred euros more for the latter with a slower i7 processor and without an Nvidia GPU, for example. Moreover, Acer has a unique product, because it is the first tablet with a quad-core processor and a separate GPU, which is also passively cooled. Nice additions are the fingerprint scanner and the automatically unfolding kickstand. The supplied stylus is easy to carry in the side of the tablet, but will not offer a solution for serious work. And the considerable weight means that the tablet will probably not be used as such, but rather as a laptop, in combination with the keyboard cover.

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