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Laptops

Acer upgrades the Switch hybrid with a new look

Full HD displays, new colors and screen sizes, plus a smaller version of the R-series hybrid for back-to-school.

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The Acer Switch line of hybrids was one of our favorites early on in the Windows 8 era, because this low-cost line kept its screen and keyboard connected via a magnetic hinge, which was much easier to use than the physical latches many of the early Windows 8 hybrids used.

The new versions of the Switch use a similar magnetic connection, which Acer calls the Snap Hinge, and the 10-inch model, called the Switch 10 E, now comes in six colors, with a soft textured finish. The Atom-powered Switch 10 has a 1,280x800 display, and will be available in July in the US, starting at $279 (or €299; no pricing yet announced for the UK or Australia for this or any of the other devices announced).

The new Acer Switch 10. Sarah Tew/CNET

A higher-end variant of the Switch 10 echoes the look of the Acer Aspire S7 laptop , one of our favorite designs, with a Gorilla Glass layer over the back of the lid for a slick, sophisticated effect, and a 1,920x1,200 display. That model will be available in August in the US for $399 (or €449).

The Switch 11 is a slightly larger version, with a full HD display and Intel's Core M processor, built into a chassis that's partly brushed aluminum. Also briefly mentioned by Acer was an even larger Switch 12 model, which could stand as a direct competitor to Apple's 12-inch MacBook , Samsung's 12-inch Ativ Book 9 , and the Asus T300 Chi . The price and release dates for those two models are still unknown.

The premium Switch 11. Sarah Tew/CNET

Also new in the hybrid category is the Aspire R11, which uses a fold-back hinge similar to that of the Lenovo Yoga line and many other 360-degree hybrids. It's a change in design for this line, as the previous R13 used a display with a rotating hinge in the center of the lid, allowing the entire screen to flip over within a slim frame.

The R11 will come with either Intel Pentium or Celeron processors, and only a 1,366x768 resolution display. With lower-end specs like that, it's not surprising that it only cost $249 to start when it's released in July in the US (or €349 in Europe in June).

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