The Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 is no doubt a clone of Microsoft Surface Pro 4. That is as far as the look is concerned. It also became evident that there is a big price difference. Did the Switch Alpha 12 compromise its power for a cheaper price?
The Big Price Difference
A Switch Alpha 12 with way-above-average specs costs around $749. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 costs at least $500 more. Consumers with a bigger budget would not mind the price of Surface Pro 4. However, they could choose the cheaper alternative.
The above-mentioned price of Switch Alpha 12 includes a magnetically attached keyboard. However, it is not back-lit. When first purchasing a Surface Pro 4, it does not come with any keyboard at all. It has to be bought separately.
Surface Pro 4 vs Switch Alpha 12
According to CNET, the Switch Alpha 12 keyboard have great tactile feedback. The touchpad is appropriately responsive. It specifically has 1.4mm key travel compared to Surface Pro 4's 1.3mm, according to Love My Surface.
However, the placement of the Page Up and Page Down keys can be problematic. Unlike the Surface Pro 4, they are placed next to the arrow keys. According to The Verge, this might cause you to hit them whenever the cursor is moved. This seems to be a disadvantage for the Switch Alpha 12.
According to the Strait Times, the kickstand design works very well. It can be tilted to any angle up to 165 degrees. The Surface Pro 4 does not have a rubberized anti-slip coating at its base like the Switch Alpha 12. It keeps the device stable when placed on the lap or desk.
The Surface Pro 4 weighs 0.4 pounds less with the keyboard attached. It is also 0.4 inches thinner than that of Switch Alpha 12. Thus, making the Surface Pro 4 more portable to use.
The liquid cooling system of the Switch Alpha 12 is an asset. Acer has mentioned that it is the first 2-in-1 hybrid with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7. The Verge said that it's silent unlike than the usual cooling fan. It does not easily get warm. Though if it does, it can still be tolerable.
The Switch Alpha 12 has a lower resolution than the Surface Pro 4. It uses the IPS technology, not the OLED. Its brightness and contrast are manageable.
The biggest flaw of the Switch Alpha 12 is its battery life. Critics have been unanimous that it's probably one of the worst among the other 2-in-1 devices. The Surface Pro 4 has much longer battery life.
The performance is almost the same. However, the Switch Alpha 12 has a bit of advantage. But its stylus and the only 5-megapixel camera can be a drawback. The optional Active Stylus only has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. Thus, the device could lag when sketching. Though the stylus is well balanced.
A programmable switch is definitely misplaced. It also has poor tracking in case of fast writing. Though the switch could be programmed to display Acer's Hover utility. It a quick launcher for user-specified pen-savvy apps and erasing.
If you want a more affordable 2-in-1 device, the Switch Alpha 12 worth the price. Its power is decent enough. If you don't mind spending much, the Surface Pro 4 is still the best choice.