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Acer unveils a liquid-cooled laptop, simplified UI tablet for “super-seniors”

NEW YORK—Acer has been busy, and the company showed off some of its latest work at an event in New York City today. Acer announced a slew of new laptops and PCs, many of which build upon some of its other recently released products.

The Switch Alpha 12 laptop is the juiced-up version of its Aspire Switch 12 S that was announced back at CES. Instead of the Switch 12 S's Core M processor, the Alpha 12 supports sixth-generation Core i3U, i5, and i7 processors.

But Acer is pushing this device as an efficient and cool laptop above anything else. Engineers built the Switch Alpha 12 with a liquid cooling system and a fanless design. The heat created from the device powers the cooling system, keeping temperatures down. And since it lacks a fan altogether, operating sounds are kept quiet.

The Alpha 12 design is slightly different from the Aspire Switch 12 S as well: the new 2-in-1 has a kickstand on the back of the tablet for better support. Acer wants this 2-in-1 to be just as good as a regular notebook, so it has a 12-inch 2160 x 1440 resolution display, a USB Type-C port along with HDMI, USB 3.0, USB A, and DisplayPort connectivity, and it supports Acer's Active Pen stylus. In terms of memory and storage, it will come with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. Most of the notebooks Acer debuted are quite affordable, and the Switch Alpha 12 is one of them. The base model starts at $599, which is cheaper than its $999 Switch 12 S.

Acer got the thin-and-trim memo, too. Its new Acer Aspire S 13 ultra-thin notebook is direct competition for HP's recently announced, copper-clad Spectre laptop. The S 13 measures .57 inches at its widest point and weighs 3.13 pounds, which is larger than the .4-inch Spectre and also heavier than that notebook's 2.45 pounds. The S 13 is literally day to the Spectre's night, featuring a pearly white aluminum chassis with diamond edges and a metallic coating on its hinge. Its 13-inch IPS display will be available in a touchscreen option, and the notebook will support up to Core i7 CPUs, up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and USB Type-C.

However, where the Spectre wows with design, Acer's S 13 wows with price: the S 13 will start at just $699, making it much more affordable than the premium $1,169 Spectre. The only other factor to consider is battery life—while HP expects its Spectre to get at least 9.5 hours of life, Acer expects the non-touch version of the S 13 to get up to 11 hours of running time.

Last month, Acer announced its first all-metal Chromebook 14, and now it's coming out with a similar Chromebook 14 for Work. At the event, Acer boasted about its ability to create durable Chromebooks for the education sector, and this Chromebook 14 is built even stronger than its prior offerings. It has a Vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass casing (making it almost too shiny) and a spill-resistant keyboard. It adheres to Military Standard (MIL-STND 810G), meaning you can drop it off your desk without worry (it passed a 48-inch drop test), and it's protected from extreme environmental factors like sand and dust. Depending on the model you get, you'll be able to work for 10 or 12 hours with the Chromebook 14 for Work's battery.

Acer also showed off a very niche product developed by a relatively new partner. The Grandpad is a tablet for senior citizens, particularly what Acer called "super-seniors" over the age of 75. It's a tiny tablet with a super simple interface, featuring large circular icons for phone, text, games, music, and more. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for elderly people to communicate with friends and family. It's implied that kids or other family members will be buying this for their elderly parents or loved ones, so they'll be the ones fronting the money for it. The tablet itself is free, but it's powered by LTE rather than Wi-Fi, so you'll pay a monthly subscription fee for the service.

All of Acer's products—including the Switch Alpha 12, the Aspire S 13, and the Chromebook 14 for Work—will be available for preorder on Acer's website soon.

Tags: 12 s acer switch 13

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