Acer's Aspire R7 laptop/tablet hybrid insanely puts the trackpad behind the keyboard

Acer, Computers, Laptops / Notebooks, Tablet, Tech Digest news, Ultrabook

acer-aspire-r7.pngEither Acer have struck gold with their freshly-revealed Aspire R7 laptop / tablet hybrid, or they’ve gone crazy.

A drastic re-imagining of the laptop, it’s an ultrabook/tablet hybrid that features an incredibly flexible screen and an unusual trackpad placement, putting it behind rather than in-front of the keyboard.

“With the Aspire R7, Acer has redesigned the notebook with an approach that’s based on how people interact with their PCs and devices,” said Oliver Ahrens, president, Acer Europe.

“Its progressive design redefines the computing experience, so whether consumers are touching or typing, the R7 adapts to allow consumers to create, browse and share content in ways they never have before.”

It’s certainly a bold move. With a 15.6-inch touchscreen sitting on what Acer describe as an “Ezel Hinge”, the R7 can be used in four different ways. There’s the standard notebook set up, working like a clamshell laptop, a “Display mode” that sees the screen used like a standing tent for playing back movies and sharing presentations, a “Pad mode” that sees the touchscreen rotate so that it faces up when closed over the keyboard like a convertible laptop or tablet, and the unusual “Ezel Mode”.

When in Ezel Mode, the R7’s touchscreen controls are pushed to the fore, with the screen lurching over the keyboard on its arm-like hinge. Hence the unusual trackpad placement, with Acer believing you’ll more likely use the touchscreen controls (and by extension, this set-up) than the trackpad in a standard configuration, preferring to give unrestricted access to the entire keyboard.

The specs under the hood sound pretty impressive too. As well as that 15.6-inch Full HD touschscreen, you’ve got an Intel Core i5 processor, as much as 12GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive or an optional 256GB SSD. The keyboard is backlit, while the chassis hold a HDMI port, an SD card reader, audio jacks and three USB ports, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Sound is provided by four 8 watt speakers.

It’s definitely bonkers, and we’re a little bit in love as a result. Windows 8 really comes into its own when used with touch controls, but no PC manufacturer has come up with a satisfying way to make touchscreen controls comfortable on a laptop-like machines. This looks like it could be a really smart answer to the problem.

Hitting stores in June, you’ll be able to pick the Acer Aspire R7 up from a starting price of £899.

Gerald Lynch
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  • True insanity is having the trackpad below the keyboard, where your thumbs and/or wrists bump into it repeatedly as you type and interfere with your ability to do.. well, anything useful with the keyboard. More laptops should have the trackpad-above-keyboard design, for those of us who use a laptop’s keyboard for actual typing on a regular basis.

    • This is the correct answer, while the review author gives the incorrect answer. Moreover, it’s maddening that the reviewers who’ve scolded Acer for the “insane” track-pad placement arrogantly assume that the wrongness of this new track-pad placement is so obviously wrong that they need not bother giving a REASON for their griping. Well, excuse me, Mr. Reviewer, but you’re going to have to do better than that. If you want to persuade your readers at all then you’re going to have to tell us WHY you think the placement is wrong.

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