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Posted on May 3rd, 2013 by Jonathan Bray

Acer Aspire R7 review: first look

Acer Aspire R7

We’ve seen some wacky hybrids in recent months, but the recently launched Acer Aspire R7 has gone further out on a limb than most. Its hinge, dubbed the “Ezel”, resembles the central support strut of an all-in-one PC more than a laptop hinge, and it delivers a surprising amount of flexibility.

With the Aspire R7 fully closed, the strut is flush with the lid, with the hinge itself attached to the centre rear of the display. It looks odd, but this arrangement allows the screen to tilt back and forth, lift up above the keyboard so it’s floating like a desktop PC monitor, spin vertically to face away from you or fold flat, facing up.

Acer Aspire R7

It can, of course, be used as a standard laptop, and positioning the display “normally” like this reveals the Acer Aspire R7’s other party trick: its large, glass touchpad is positioned above the keyboard instead of below it.

In some ways this makes sense. It pushes the keyboard towards the front edge of the chassis, leaving room for the display to rest its chin just above, a position that makes reaching over to swipe, pinch and tap the screen that bit more comfortable.

It also gives you the luxury of  a large, usable touchpad for those occasions when more precision is needed – when you’re using video editing or high-end photo processing software, for instance.

Acer Aspire R7

On the other hand, we have concerns about the long-term practicality of this arrangement. While we were using it on the stand at Acer’s big launch event in New York, we found it difficult to mouse about without resting a palm on the keyboard, inadvertently pressing keys.

The position of the keyboard at the very front of the chassis also means there’s nowhere to rest your wrists while typing. On a hybrid, such as the Sony VAIO Duo 11, this isn’t a massive problem because the keyboard is so thin. On the Aspire R7, however, the front lip of the keyboard rises a centimetre or so above the desk, which makes typing feel distinctly odd.

Also, although this may not be immediately obvious from the photographs, the R7 is a very big machine. The Full HD IPS screen measures 15.6in from corner to corner, and the mechanics of that hinge means it’s a weighty piece of kit, too. Suffice it to say, it isn’t a laptop you’ll be wanting to lug around much and, perhaps in keeping with its all-in-one PC look, it’ll likely stay tethered to a desk.

Acer Aspire R7

That screen though, does look good: it’s as crisp and colourful as they come, and a few dabs and swipes confirm the touchscreen works well. Only the most effortless of flicks is required to move the Start screen around, and scroll, pan and zoom on web pages.

The R7’s not inconsiderable size also means there’s room for a full range of ports and sockets scattered around its edges, with twin USB 3 sockets and a full-size HDMI output on the left, and another USB 3 port plus an SD card slot on the right side. From a performance perspective, it ought to be on the money too, with a Core i5 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and the choice of either a 1TB hard disk or up to 256GB of SSD catering for storage.

The Acer Aspire R7 is certainly a striking machine. Whether it’s a practical one, and worth the rather high £900 asking price, remains to be seen. We’ll bring you a full review once we’ve had the opportunity to fully test one and, more importantly, tried to live with it for a while.

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5 Responses to “ Acer Aspire R7 review: first look ”

  1. Glenno Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    A little more information would be useful in reviews of touchscreens. First, does the unit have a screen digitiser and pen. If so, is it Wacom or another brand. Given that. 900 pound computer of this type is more likely to be purchased as a business investment, a screen digitiser for handwriting input would be useful. The second point is that on of the photos appears to show the screen folded back on top of the keyboard, but it does not appear to sit flat. As such, the photo is of limited value as it leaves one to wonder whether the screen will sit flush withe the keyboards, or proud of it. If the latter, then this would tend to make the unit more vulnerable to damage as well as limiting its value as a tablet.

     
  2. DavidK Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    @ Glenno

    The photos are quite clear in showing that the keyboard is recessed in the base section.

    Otherwise an interesting venture, my only concern: would this not be a better propostion at 11″ & 13″ screen sizes

     
  3. DavidK Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    @Glenno

    re read your comment, got wrong end of stick …oops

     
  4. George Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    @Glenno
    Looking at the curve in the hinge and the angle of the recess in the top of the lid I’d be inclined to think that it doesn’t fold completely flag, but with a 15″screen this may not be so important. At this size its unlikely anyone would want to use it as a tablet, but using it in touchscreen only mode at a desk would be easier with the slight incline left by the hinge design.

     
  5. Computers-ITPro Says:
    February 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Acer Touchscreen R7-571 review by Computers-ITPro

    Laptop has two Solid State hard drives and the hardware is indeed
    impressive, has no DVD burner or

    RJ45 outlet.

    OK, so I decided to see what make it tick like I do with everything I buy?

    (Note: Before I could do the following I had to go into the Bios and
    change to legacy boot in two places and turn off secure boot and
    create a password to get into the bios.)

    (There are three hidden screws and you need a T7 torx screw driver,
    the hidden screws are under the bottom rubber pads (little pad has one
    screw and the big one has two “just lift the ends of the tab slightly
    to expose”)

    1. Took it apart removed 2 GB stick and 500 GB spinning hard
    drive and installed a 4 GB stick of DDR 3 12800 ( since the other 4 GB
    is built into the motherboard) and a 120 GB SS Samsung hard drive.
    “Note: Tried a 8 GB stick but it only read it as 4 GB”

    2. I deleted the 7 GB and 14 GB partitions on the 25 GB cloud
    hard drive and formatted in NTFS and allocated 18 GB as virtual memory
    paging in the advanced settings part of the performance settings in
    system.

    3. I partitioned the 120 GB hard drive in half with Aomei
    partition manager and booted to the external DVD burner and installed
    Windows 8 then I booted to the external DVD burner and installed
    Windows 7.

    4. Windows creates the boot menu and gives you a choice to make
    up your mind in 25 seconds; at this point I always install Easy BCD
    and configure it to do what I want.

    5. Used the Windows partition as a source to find drivers for
    Windows 7 since Windows 8 found all

    Hardware drivers all by itself; all drivers were found except WiFi….so
    I used a fast very small USB

    half inch wireless adaptor; Graphics and sound are exceptional.

    The touchscreen seems to works great on both operating systems but
    seemed a little faster on

    Windows 7, both wireless adaptors are fast, and the laptop over all is
    really neat.

    The internal hardware construction looks like an Apple MacBook, ie
    battery long and flat panels and laptop is very thin.

    Unless you are high tech skill wise I don’t recommend doing what I did because
    when I review a computer; I experiment and try to kill it seeing what makes
    it tick; the R7 did everything I threw at it and then some.
    Replacing the slow 5400 500 GB legacy hard drive with a Sata III solid state
    hard drive and taking a 2 GB DDR 3 12800 out and putting a 4GB stick in put this
    laptop in the $1800 range and I will put it up against anything…
    It boots in 8 seconds, turns off in less than one second and everything is instant.
    I like the keyboard and love the mouse pad being out of the way and the turns and
    twists it does is marvelous.

     

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