These New Acer Laptops Are Wild, Man

Say what you will about Windows 8. If it's done anything, it's gotten hardware manufacturers to rethink the tried-and-true laptop design. Case in point: two new machines from Acer.

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Say what you will about Windows 8. If it’s done anything, it’s gotten hardware manufacturers to rethink the tried-and-true laptop design.

Case in point: two new machines from Acer – the 15.6-inch Aspire R7 and the 11.6-inch Aspire P3.

Let’s start with the Aspire R7, as it’s the wildest of the pair:

side rail exposure.  Possible exposure for metal surface as well.  To be composited with screen

Where in the name of all that’s sensible in this world is the trackpad? Ah, here it is behind the keyboard:

master Helicon

Why, why, why? To make you touch the screen is why. The screen is “mounted on Acer’s ‘Ezel Hinge’,” according to the company, so it “can flip, reverse, lie flat or float.” Acer’s angle is that the closer the screen is to you, the less cumbersome it is to touch it while using it in laptop mode.

As you can see in the above video, the screen can be flipped backward to show something to someone sitting across the table from you. Or you can fold it down flat to use the R7 like a tablet. The whole thing tips the scales at over five pounds, however, so this is a computer first and a tablet second.

It’ll be available May 17 from Best Buy, with a suggested retail price of $1,000.

Then there’s the Aspire P3. It’s a trackpad-less touchscreen Ultrabook wherein the 11.6-inch screen detaches from the included keyboard cover for use as a tablet:

Acer Aspire P3 ultrabook with keyboard left angle

We’ve seen similar designs from the likes of the Microsoft Surface tablets, the Lenovo Helix getup we saw at CES, and a handful of Android tablet combos. This one’s got some decent oomph under the hood, Acer’s promising “up to six hours” of battery life, and when folded into its keyboard case, it looks like it’d be easy to tote around:

Acer Aspire P3 ultrabook closed

Undocked as a tablet, the P3 weighs a wee bit over three pounds and measures a little over three-quarters of an inch thick. It’s available “immediately” for $800, according to Acer, though I’m not able to find a place to buy it quite yet.

More info:

Photos of the devices (click to enlarge):