Today Acer held a press conference in New York to announce a variety of new products. Given the timing, it’s no surprise that Intel 4th Generation CPUs aren’t specifically listed, though we expect additional updates in the coming months. What we have in the meantime are a few interesting takes on where computing and touchscreen interfaces are headed. We’ll start with the Aspire R7, which is the most unusual of the new offerings.

Equipped with a 1080p IPS touchscreen, Acer has decided to try a different approach to the touchscreen laptop. Now, instead of having the touchpad in front of the keyboard, it’s located above the keyboard and the display hinge can shift forward to bring the touchscreen experience closer to the user. The screen can also flip 180 degrees for easy sharing of content, it can lie (mostly) flat against the chassis, or it can even rest in an elevated “table” position.

The core hardware for the R7 is standard Ultrabook fare (though the R7 isn’t and Ultrabook), with an optional GeForce GT 750M available. That means processor choices consist of the i5-3337U and the i7-3537U, both slightly faster versions of the 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge CPUs we’ve had for a year or so now. There will be models with HDDs as well as SSD equipped options, and in addition to the usual WiFi and Bluetooth you get two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, four stereo speakers, and dual array microphone, webcam, HDMI, and SD car ports. Battery life is rated at 4.5 hours (53Wh battery), which is on the low side for a 5.3 pound laptop.

The idea of a 15.6” convertible laptop/tablet/thingy is interesting, though not necessarily something we’ve seen a lot of users clamoring for. I suspect this may turn into one of those love-it or hate-it affairs, depending on the user. Acer also notes that they’ve created a very durable "Ezel" hinge so that the screen will stay in place wherever you put it, though as I wasn’t at the launch party I can’t provide any specific comments on how it feels in practice right now.

Pricing is listed as $1000 for the “Best Buy model” that will include a free copy of Star Trek: The Video Game and will come with a Core i5 CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, and a 24GB caching SSD. The R7-571-6858 will be available at Best Buy on May 17th and is available for pre-order now; other models will follow.

POST A COMMENT

16 Comments

View All Comments

  • Tams80 - Saturday, May 04, 2013 - link

    It's a very interesting design. The choice of display positions is great and I even think the inclusion of the trackpad is a plus.

    I've been hoping for 15.6" convertible for years (and with a dGPU), but unfortunately this doesn't have an AD (not that is Acer's fault as I don't think anyone makes them above 14").

    It does seem odd that their using a ULV part though.
    Reply
  • gxtoast - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I really like the hinge and the way the screen can be positioned. I think the touchpad could be quite usable in this position and maybe even better than in the usual place in front of the keyboard. However, my main concern is that there is no place to rest your palms when typing.

    It's amazing that this laptop doesn't have a powerful quad-core i7 and the option for 16GB RAM. I would also want to option in a 500GB SSD. Haswell is almost upon us and I don't think it could come too soon.
    Reply
  • Frances Wartnaby - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    This is exactly what I have been looking for. I do a lot of accounts on my laptop and prefer the high res screen. My current 17" laptop is on the way out and I need to replace. The fact that the keyboard is at the front is great. I have often wished I didn't have to sit with my arms stretched and resting on the laptop in order to reach the key pad. To get something that will operate as a proper laptop AND have the touch screen/tablet possibilities is brilliant. As for the position of the touch pad - I foresee no problems. If you are typng you will have to reach only to the same extent as you now have to for the keyboard on all the current laptops. As soon as the i7 version comes out with the more powerful graphics card, I will be out to buy. Does anyone know if it has a DVD? Well done Acer. Reply
  • tytung - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    This is a very cool and innovative concept. I must confess that I am biased to this design because I came up with a similar one two years ago: http://goo.gl/1IJW2
    In another design I also put a touchpad above the keyboard, and I don't think this will render the design a failure, as some reader commented.
    Reply
  • Devyn - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - link

    I have been looking for a tablet/notebook hybrid to handle work when I need a tablet for stylus input and a keyboard for Word Processing. The Surface Pro was too small, as was the Asus TaiChi 11 dual screen ultrabook. I am looking forward to seeing this one, and hope it does work out. Reply
  • 1d107 - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    Saw this laptop in person in Best Buy yesterday. The only thing that stopped me from immediately buying was the imminent release of Haswell. When this baby comes out with Haswell I'll be the first to buy.

    The screen is just the right size 15.6". It is 1080p, wide color gamut. It looks laminated: I haven't noticed any air gap between the front glass and the panel.

    Possibly one thing the may work on is the keyboard: it looks like it was taken from one of an older Acre's 14" laptops. It is not bad: there is a column of home/end, etc keys and the arrow keys are sufficiently large and separated. However the keys on the left hand side are cut too small, most likely to fit older 14" designs. This laptop deserves truly full sized keyboard. If Acer could manage to put the tenkeyless keyboard layout there (like Filco tenkeyless), I'd buy two of them. Just don't put cramped num pad or make different keyboard layouts an option.

    Apart from tiny keyboard layout issue, everything else looks extremely well designer and solidly built. The body is magnesium alloy and the hinge is forged aluminum.

    I do like the fact that the track pad is out of the way. Most of the time I use a mouse anyway. The ability to mov the screen forward must be handy on an airplane.

    Did I mention I loved the gorgeous full color 15.6" IPS screen? Acer did extremely well with this laptop!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now