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Hands on: Acer's refreshed Aspire R7 convertible notebook

updated 06:45 pm EST, Fri November 22, 2013

Hinge enables four different modes

Acer's Aspire R7 convertible 15-inch notebook has been overhauled just in time for holiday shoppers. The refresh brings a Core i5 or i7 Haswell processor, more RAM, improved battery life and an optional active stylus, among other upgrades. The company has given us a chance to spend some hands-on time with the new build before it arrives on the market next month.

The R7's floating "Ezel" hinge has remained essentially unchanged from the previous edition, enabling the device to be used in four different modes. The trackpad's placement above the keyboard is awkward in normal notebook mode, which may be a deal breaker for some. When interacting with the touchscreen and keyboard, however, the geometry seems more natural. We also like using the stylus with the display elevated a few inches off the keyboard plane and tilted at an angle.

Intel's Haswell chips already have a proven track record, and are certainly welcome additions to help keep the R7 competitive heading into 2014. Acer's designers appear to have built the device around the touchscreen experience, rather than adding a touchscreen to a standard notebook or flip-lid convertible. Adding an active stylus fully completes the touch appeal, enabling users to take advantage of advanced creativity and editing tools.

The R7 may not be for everyone, but its unique hinge is clearly advantageous for many tasks. The refreshed model is expected to arrive early in December with prices starting at $900.

by MacNN Staff



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