After Dell released a 15” mainstream laptop that is enabled for touch at a reasonable price of AUD$600, Acer staged a global press event to launch a run of touch-enabled portable computers. These, again are to capitalise on the Windows 8 platform with its touch-driven Modern user interface along with a lot of the software being offered with touch-optimised operation.
Acer Aspire R7 convertible laptop
They launched the Aspire R7 convertible laptop which uses a 15” screen and can appear on the desktop like an easel, a regular laptop or a tablet computer. Typically the convertible tablet computer was at 11” and had less specification, typically showing up in the secondary storage area with 64Gb or 128Gb solid-state storage.
As well as having the 15” (1080p) screen, this convertible uses an Intel i5 processor as its CPU and has 500Gb hard disk capacity along with 24Gb solid-state caching and 6Gb RAM. This can make it capable for use as a main or sole computer and it comes under US$1000 at Best Buy.
Some of us may think that the 15” convertible form factor may be too large for personal tablet use but it could come in handy for group activities. In the business sense, this could also extend to a group of a few viewing a PowerPoint presentation or a video, or participating in a videoconference.
But what I see of this is that the Acer Aspire R7 has shown that the 15” mainstream size can be kitted out with the full touchscreen options and be equipped with the expectations for a regular mainstream laptop that is to serve as a main or sole computer.
Acer Aspire P3 tablet
The Aspire P3 is a detachable-keyboard hybrid with a Bluetooth keyboard as part of case. This uses the typical laptop resolution of 1366×768 which isn’t necessarily HD, but isn’t necessarily a problem for text-driven work. As for the screen, it is typically an 11.6” touchscreen.
What is pleasing about this model is that the baseline variant would come with an Intel i3 CPU, 4Gb of RAM, and 60Gb solid-state storage as its specifications and the keyboard case would be considered a standard accessory. This is all for a reasonable price of US$799.
With these two machines and the previously-mentioned Dell laptop, could this legitimise the touchscreen as a valuable option for the Windows-driven “regular” computer? This is although I have been hearing a lot of talk panning this idea and the Windows 8 operating system.
As far as laptops, notebooks and similar computers are concerned, the touch user interface can provide a definite improvement over the trackpad as far as navigating the display as I had noticed with the recent crop of Windows 8 laptops that I had reviewed. The trackpad still serves as a “fine” “relative” navigation tool at a pinch while the touchscreen works well for requirements like quick coarse absolute navigation.
Once we see more 15” and 17” touchscreen laptops with mainstream credentials like at least a mid-tier CPU, at least 500Gb on the hard disk and a decent graphics subsystem, these computers could legitimise the concept of touchscreen computing in the home and small business rather than just with the iPad or Android tablets.