The Aspire R 13 has great performance and is perfectly suited for use at home or in the office
There are a lot of convertible (laptop-tablet hybrids) notebooks available in the market these days, but if you are looking for a computer which has a judicious mix of performance, good looks and enough juice to last you through an entire workday—the Aspire R13 from Taiwan-based device maker Acer can be a good option. Among its key highlights, the new Acer machine makes the combination of touch-screen and keyboard typing more intuitive and natural. It features an innovative hinge design that effortlessly transitions the notebook into numerous modes for a variety of uses. It can also be used with the optional Acer Active Pen. Price wise, the R13 with Windows 8 retails for R83,999, while the Windows 10-equipped version carries a price tag of Rs 93,999. We got the Windows 8 version for a test evaluation, hence we’ll talk about about it here.
The Aspire R13 includes numerous high-end features such as a full high definition display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, solid state drives and support for an optional Acer Active Pen. It can smoothly transition between various notebook and tablet style modes of operation. There is a unique Ezel Aero hinge with a U-frame structure that lets users fold it into six usage modes quickly and smoothly. More on it later.
In my opinion, the Aspire R13 is designed for those who don’t want to give up a traditional notebook design, but want more options and flexibility. While smartphones are very personal and laptops are predominantly viewed as work devices, 2-in-1s such as the Aspire R13 offer the flexibility of having both the efficiency and productivity of a PC and the ease and mobility of a tablet. Put simply, the Aspire R13 is a device that is portable and capable of efficient productivity, and something that sits in the middle of your mobile world.
Probing further, the Aspire R 13 is less than 17.95 mm thin and just over 1.5 kg. The 13.3-inch display is affixed to the unique Acer Ezel Aero hinge at the sides, which allows the screen to rotate 180-degrees so it can be used in six different ways. I tried it in many modes and this quick and effortless way to transition between various modes gives it the productivity features of a traditional clamshell notebook with the convenience of a tablet. Acer officials inform that the company’s patented dual-torque system hinge keeps the display stable and in place when touch navigation is used. It is attached to a forged U frame which also helps to enhance stiffness while maintaining the notebook’s slim design.
On to the various modes—the notebook mode provides a precise and spacious keyboard for maximum productivity; Ezel mode brings the display close for convenient reading and web browsing; Stand mode makes it easy to draw a flow chart, take notes, brainstorm with others or edit artwork; Pad mode enables the Aspire R13 to be used as a tablet for web browsing, playing games or watching videos; Tent mode is the ideal position when space is limited, such as an airplane’s seat-back tray or a small kitchen for easy viewing of online recipes; Display mode is good for viewing photos.
A close physical inspection revealed that the touchscreen and outer lid are both encased in a slim, but strong, sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, making them tough yet beautiful. The device offers premium touch screen displays with super crisp images and fine detail. Available in full high-definition (1920 x 1080), photos and videos are strikingly vivid and detailed; text is sharp and crystal clear. It also includes Zero Air Gap technology, which ensures vivid, lifelike visuals and reduces reflections, heightens contrast, creates bright and crisp images and improves readability in sunlight.
In addition, anti-fingerprint technology helps eliminate smudges and makes the displays easier to clean, while Corning’s newly developed AR/ETC technology minimises reflections and improves the display’s contrast. A built-in light sensor automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to enhance the screen image, making it easier to see and read based on the ambient lighting in the room.
Moving on to the pen, the Aspire R13 can be used with an optional Acer Active Pen for drawing, creating and collaborating. The pen comes with a pressure sensor for professional drawing and a hover sensor for easy access to functions. It also supports palm rejection so users can write on the screen comfortably. This pen works with Acer’s pen-enabled software, Acer Hover Access, which is pre-installed on all models, and features applications for work or play that works in 3 easy steps: Hold the Acer Active Pen above the screen and the Acer Hover Access software will automatically detect the pen; click the button on the side of the pen; launch apps to write notes, paint or edit.
The Aspire R13 also features the Acer Touch Tools app, which includes Acer Screen Grasp. This allows any image to be easily captured, personalised and shared to social networks or pasted to documents. Then there is Acer AccuFinger which helps accurately place the cursor in text documents and acquire tiny items on the screen when using fingers.
Probing the innards, the Aspire R13 includes powerful technologies, making them fast and responsive for a wide variety of work and entertainment uses. For maximum performance, the device is powered by 4th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, has up to 512 GB of Solid State Drive with RAID-0 support and up to 8 GB of memory. This Windows 8.1 convertible is also Skype certified, which ensures webcam/video chats, conference calls, VoIP calls and voice commands.
Audio features include Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre for cinematic surround sound, and Acer Purified Voice, a combination of hardware (dual-array mic) and software (voice recognition and audio processing). To keep the powerful Aspire R 13 running cool and quiet, it boasts of an advanced dual air-intake design for comfortable and noise-free computing. For all day computing, the Aspire R13 can deliver up to 8 hours of battery life.
Overall, the Aspire R 13 is a satisfying convertible. Its build is solid and it is a good looking piece of hardware. It is light, easy to carry and allows fast multitasking at a nice speed. In other words, a good machine for mobile workers and perfectly suited for use at home or in the office.
* Dimensions: 343.8 x 230.35 x 17.95 mm (W x D x H)
* Display: 13.3 inch display with IPS technology
* Operating system: Windows 8.1
* CPU & chipsets: Intel Core i7 – 5500U, i5 5200U processor
* Memory: Up to 8 GB of onboard LPDDR3 system memory
* Webcam: Acer Crystal Eye HD webcam
* Weight: 1.5 kg
** Estimated street price: Rs 83,999