It's been just a few months since Acer introduced the R7, a Windows 8 laptop that seeks to stand out from the convertible or hybrid portable devices that have recently been proliferating. That's meant in a literal sense, too, as its unique feature is the Ezel-Hinge that allows you to move its touchscreen into a variety of positions.
But the company is ready to refresh the notebook, and the upgraded version is available immediately. The new Aspire R7-572 gets the usual Intel Haswell processor boost -- in this case, the Core i5-4200U -- to improve performance and extend battery life (to 6.5 hours, according to Acer). It's also going to take advantage of its 15.6-inch touchscreen and Ezel-Hinge by including a digitzer in the display. That inclusion lets you work with an optional Acer active stylus, which can work with stylus-friendly applications like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, along with the new set of Acer Touch Tool software.
Other specs include 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a multi-gesture touchpad, and Windows 8.1. That compares to 6 gigs of RAM and a hard drive half that size in the first-generation R7 that ZDNet's own James Kendrick reviewed back in June. He found the laptop "beautifully designed and well constructed." While the version he tested was listed for $999, the new R7-572, available exclusively at Best Buy, will cost $899.99, with the stylus an additional $49.