Acer is looking to make a splash with its latest notebook offerings — and it sure appears to have succeeded. The tech world is abuzz about its new Aspire R7 laptop (pictured below), which features what the company calls an "Ezel Hinge" that literally provides a different view of a portable display.
The design allows you to use the Aspire R7 in a variety of modes, from a traditional laptop to tablet style with the screen laying flat to what Acer calls "Ezel" mode, where the hinge allows you to bring the display closer or even flip it around. Despite that flexibility, the company promises that you can use the 15.6-inch display's touchscreen capabilities without it moving all around, and, in theory, the Ezel mode makes using touchscreen features easier, as you can pull the screen closer to you.
As a notebook, the R7 includes an Intel Core i5 CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive with 24GB of solid-state storage for faster boot-ups, and Dolby Home Theater sound. But the unique design is the selling point here, and fortunately Acer has made buying the R7 not so difficult on the wallet. It will be available through Best Buy for $999, and start shipping on May 17.
While not as radical as the R7, the new Aspire P3 is a convertible ultrabook that's also moderately priced. The Windows 8 system will come with a choice of either Intel Core i3 or i5 CPUs, and its 11.6-inch IPS display detaches to function as a tablet. (You can also use it with an optional stylus.) The keyboard is tinier than a typical notebook sports, and it lacks a touchpad, though there's a USB 3.0 port that you can use to attach a mouse or other input device to. ZDNet's sister site CNET has listed some additional specs, including either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, and either 60GB or 120GB SSD.
Priced starting at $799.99 and available now, the P3 might be a better alternative for some users than dedicated Windows 8 tablets for a similar cost, as you essentially get a bigger screen and a keyboard and case/cover in a 3-pound package. If nothing else, it delivers on the promise of Windows 8 ushering in some different types of portable devices.