Hands on with Acer's crazy liquid-cooled Switch Alpha 2-in-1

Acer's latest 2-in-1 has no fan; instead, a liquid cooling system inside the chassis helps disperse heat caused by the latest-generation Intel Core processors.

But technology alone cannot spur sales for Acer's newest convertible. A tablet sometimes and a laptop others, the design is obviously inspired by Microsoft's own Surface which, back when it was released in 2012, was accused of competing with the very OEM partners that kept the Redmond-based company afloat for so many years.

But the Surface line has been nothing but positive for partners like Acer, inspiring them to think differently about the portable computers they create — especially as Windows 8 gave way to Windows 10, which excels with both touch and traditional forms of input.

Equipped with a 12-inch 2160x1440 pixel IPS touch display, the aforementioned Skylake-based Intel Core i3/i5/i7 chip, either 4GB of 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage, the Switch Alpha 12 is a fairly rudimentary laptop for mid-2016.

When it debuts in June for $599 USD (or May in Europe for €699), it will have to stand on the benefits of its industrial design. An aluminum chassis houses all the requisite ports, from DisplayPort to USB 3.1 Type-C and HDMI, while the included attachable keyboard is both appropriately clicky and thin. Together, the keyboard and tablet are just over 2.75 pounds and 0.62-inches thick, which makes it comparable to the Surface Pro 4.

How it works together, especially compared to Microsoft's more expensive professional 2-in-1 remains to be seen, but as of today Acer has one of the more compelling competitors on the market.

Daniel Bader