It's not the prettiest notebook on the market, but Acer's Aspire R 13 is a flexible, powerful 2-in-1 for business users. While other laptop makers are focusing on detachable displays or screens that fold back 360 degrees, Acer found another way to let you use your notebook like a tablet. The Aspire R 13 has a floating frame that holds the 13-inch display, so you can flip it over for better access to the touch screen. Plus, it packs a more powerful processor than rival notebooks and lasts longer on a charge.
While you wait for our full review, read on to see how the Acer Aspire R 13 stacks up as a work machine.
- Rotating display: It may seem like a gimmick, but the R 13's rotating display is actually pretty handy. The screen can be flipped into a variety of modes, including a tilted "easel" mode and a flat tablet mode. That functionality gives you better access to the touch screen, which could be useful in cramped quarters — for example, on a tray table during your next business flight. Plus, it gives you a good writing surface for taking notes right on the screen, especially when you're using Acer's pressure-sensitive active stylus — although that accessory is sold separately.
- Long battery life: The R 13 offers long battery life compared to competing machines, helping it last to the end of the workday and beyond. The notebook ran for 7 hours and 36 minutes in our battery test, topping the category average of 7:18. It also lasted longer than Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro (6:29) and Toshiba's Satellite Click 2 Pro (5:37).
- Fast performance: The Aspire R 13 is heavier than the Yoga 3 Pro, which has a fanless design, but the Acer is more powerful, thanks to its Intel Core i7 CPU and two superspeedy solid state drives, which are much faster than conventional spinning hard drives.
- Clunky design: Compared to the sleek Yoga 3 Pro, the Aspire R 13's design is downright clunky. The frame around the screen comes just halfway up the sides, which makes it look like it's missing parts. Plus, the black bezel around the screen is unusually thick, especially at the bottom.
- Shallow keyboard: The R 13 doesn't have the most comfortable keyboard, either. That's mostly because the keys are relatively shallow, with just 1.1 mm of travel. (The average is about 1.5 to 1.6 mm.)
- Heavy: Calling the R 13 "heavy" might be a stretch, but at 3.3 lbs., it's certainly heftier than the lightest competitors. For comparison, the Yoga 3 Pro weighs 2.6 lbs., and the MacBook Air weighs just 2.38 lbs. It's something to consider if you want a notebook that won't weigh you down on your daily commute.