Trying to decide between a laptop or a tablet for Varsity?

When you do decide to make the upgrade between a campus laptop and a tablet, the options can be a little overwhelming.

Option one

The ease of a tablet works better so you can use it to access your textbooks in a manner similar to a textbook.  It can be very tempting but it can also be a pain in the butt when you attempt to write an assignment on it.

Option two

A laptop, so you can type your assignments and notes with ease while googling your various projects as you go. The downside is the keyboard and the bulk of a laptop makes it awkward to use the screen to read your textbook or notes easily.

What if

Could you get the best of both worlds at a fairly reasonable price? Acer recently launched the Switch Alpha 12 in South Africa and we got to test if for a while. It combines the ease of a tablet with the power of a laptop. Well, that is what they say anyway, we wanted to see if we agree.

How it works

The Alpha Switch is smaller than a standard laptop but slightly bigger than an iPad. It has a kickstand so it can be angled Making it easier to see the screen when you are using it as a laptop. Allows ease of use while typing assignments since you don’t have to fiddle around trying to get it to balance like one would an iPad or a tablet.

It has a full sized USB port so you can use standard USB port devices on it without having to worry about adapters and can also take a mini HDMI cable, so when you need to do a presentation at Varsity, you have the ease of using it.

The Alpha boasts a touch screen and a pen so you can draw and sign documents on the screen. It also features a standard laptop keyboard that looks similar to the ones that you can attach to an iPad but with of the perk of you don’t have to worry about connecting it to the laptop via Bluetooth or charging it as it is built in. This also has a built-in trackpad, you can use it as a mouse. While the keyboard is handy for when you are taking notes in class or in the library. I would recommend getting a full-sized keyboard for when you are typing assignments at home. Preferably a Bluetooth combo with a mouse and keyboard since it really does make a difference when working on a long article.

The screen on the Alpha is lovely and really a pleasure to work with whether it is watching videos for class or when you are playing with the stylus to draw illustrations for your assignment.

Performance wise

The laptop has quite a lot of kick for such a small device. Depending on your model, it can have either an i3, i5 or i7 processor in it. We found that it worked quickly, don’t get too hot, even when we were using multiple programs on it such as chrome and photoshop.

It is however not a gaming device and it struggled to keep up when we started playing games on it, but honestly, we didn’t expect it to be a gaming rig.

The battery on this is pretty decent for varsity. We found that the battery should last quite well for an average day at varsity from taking notes to working on assignments. If you throw a lot of multimedia at it, you would need to carry the charger with you to campus.

Would we recommend it to our younger sibling?

Yes. We really liked the Alpha, it handled all that we needed it too and did a better job than we expected. We weren’t too fond of the keyboard but found it worked quite well for the average user. We would just change the system when we needed to type quite a lot at a time.

Please note, this was sent to us to review but we weren’t paid for the review. This is our tech reviewers honest opinion. 

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