Acer's new laptop/tablet hybrid packs a detachable keyboard and decent power into an affordable Windows 8.1 device. For extended typing sessions, the 10-inch display links to a full-size keyboard dock using magnets. And when you want a more portable device, just give the display a firm tug to detach it and use it like a tablet.
The $429 hybrid isn't the fastest or longest-lasting device around, but it does offer midrange performance at a midrange price. It packs a 10-inch display with wide viewing angles, a reasonably speedy quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage. Check out a full review of the Acer Aspire Switch 10 at our sister site Laptop Mag, or read on for three features that make this device good for work.
Hybrid devices like the Aspire Switch 10 have obvious advantages over standalone tablets and laptops. Tablets are super-portable devices that are easy to carry on your commute. A laptop with a physical keyboards and touchpad is the more productive device, but laptops tend to be too bulky and heavy to carry with you. Acer's machine offers the best of both worlds, letting you choose between tablet and laptop mode on the fly.
Unlike many other hybrid devices, which link the display and keyboard via a mechanical hinge, the Aspire Switch 10 display attaches to the dock using a magnetic strip. That makes attaching and detaching the screen quick and easy. Meanwhile, the keyboard dock itself features well-spaced keys and a responsive, medium-sized touchpad.
For business users, Windows 8.1 devices like this one have big advantages over competing iPads and Android tablets. The Aspire Switch 10 can run any piece of Windows software, meaning it supports all the programs you already use at work, including the full desktop version of Microsoft Office and additional programs such as Photoshop. Other tablets force you to use mobile apps that may not be as functional as the software you're used to, but with a Windows 8.1 device like the Aspire Switch 10, you won't have to change your workflow when you're on the go.
The Aspire Switch 10 packs more ports than the average tablet. That includes a microSD card slot to expand the tablet's internal storage, a micro HDMI port for video and business presentations, and a full USB 2.0 port on the side of the keyboard dock so you can attach accessories such as a mouse or external hard drive.