We’ve seen other vendors such as Lenovo and ASUS make convertible laptops with non-removable screens that flip right over to turn into tablets. It's the type of design that can be of benefit when you want tablet or display functions from your single device, but don't want a hybrid design that calls for the screen to be separated from its base.
Acer’s Aspire R14 Playbook is the latest such fixed-screen convertible to emerge on the Australian market, offering a four-in-one experience, and a decent drop of power under its hood.
At 14 inches and 24mm thick, it’s a little larger than what most people would call the ideal size for a tablet device, but that is merely one of the functions that the Playbook R14 can supply. For the most part, it’s the type of laptop device that gives you the freedom to turn it into a tablet for some drawing or writing tasks whenever you please. But the real benefit is that the device can also be stood in ‘display’ and ‘tent’ modes, which can make watching videos more pleasant due to the keyboard not being in the way.
On the inside, the Aspire R14 Playbook features a configuration that is no slouch, including an ultra-low voltage fifth-generation Intel Core i7-5500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and relatively punchy graphics supplied by a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 820M discrete adapter. It’s this configuration that makes the Playbook a little chunky, with the overall weight of the unit being stated as 2.2kg.
The LCD panel is held to the chassis by two hinges with dual mounting points for each hinge, one mount for the base and the other mount for the screen, which is what allows the screen to tilt all the way over to the other side. Acer claims that the hinges are strong enough to stop the screen from wobbling when it is touched.
A screen resolution of 1366x768 is given to the LCD panel, which is not appealing given the $1499 price tag that Acer has attached to the unit, though the lower pixels per inch on the 14in touchscreen should make it more pleasant to use for touch-based tasks compared to a screen with smaller screen icons and text. Acer claims that the screen and touch panel are bonded, providing a ‘zero air gap’ that can reduce the impact of reflections.
The Acer Aspire R14 Playbook will be available from JB Hi-Fi.