Predator gamers and powerful compacts headline Acer onslaught at IFA
IFA is underway in Berlin and Acer is among the consumer electronics brands looking to launch into Christmas with a serious bang. Its veritable onslaught of new products range from compact 360-degree cameras to high-end gaming laptops. Here's a closer look.
Holo360 and Vision360
IFA played host to two 360-degree cameras from Acer: the Holo360, designed for everyday use, and the in-car Vision360. The Holo360 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, and runs Android 7.1 through a 3-inch touchscreen. It has built-in LTE connectivity, and stitches videos together in real-time. That means users can share their images and 4K videos from the field, rather than having wait until they can hook into a computer. Because waiting is #lame, right? The videos can be recreated in VR, too.
Meanwhile, the Vision360 is designed to act as a crystal-clear dash-cam. When it's mounted on the windshield, the camera records to its internal memory in 4K. Users are able to use the camera for fun, recording road trips and sending that footage to their smartphone to share online, but the camera is also useful in an accident. When it detects a crash, the camera will upload the footage and GPS coordinates to the cloud. The video is also saved to the camera's internal memory.
The Holo360 will be available in November, priced from US$429. Pricing for the Vision360 is yet to be announced.
Acer has thrown its weight behind the Chromebook market, with a range of computers in a range of sizes, mostly aimed at college students and adults on the go. The new Chromebook 15 is aimed at a slightly different market with a big screen, loud speakers and a day-long battery life.
According to Acer, the Chromebook 15 will suit media-hungry families and work as a home computer, thanks to its 1920 x 1080 HD display and dual upward-facing speakers. As the name suggests, the screen measures 15.6-inches diagonally, making it more suitable for families who want to stream video at home than students or professionals on the move.
The webcam has an 88-degree field of view, and the in-built microphone is designed to deliver crisp audio for video calling. In other words, the in-laws will be able to see and hear you clearly when you call them at Christmas.
Power comes from an Intel Celeron or quad-core Pentium, with 4GB or 8GB of RAM depending on specification. Wireless connectivity comes courtesy of an Intel 802.11ac chip and Bluetooth 4.2 capability, wired connectivity is supplied by dual USB-C ports, dual USB 3.0 plugs, an HDMI connector and an SD card reader. The computer will be available with 32GB or 64GB of storage – not much compared to a regular laptop, but plenty when you consider Google wants people to rely on its online storage with Chromebook OS.
The Chromebook 15 will be offered as a touchscreen and a non-touchscreen unit, with prices starting at $399. It'll land in shops this October.
Swift, Spin and Switch
The new range of lightweight, portable Acer computers starts with the Spin 5. Available in 13- and 15-inch variants, it's powered by the latest Intel Core processors with an option for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete graphics on the high-end 15-inch models. Models can be specced with up to 16GB of DDR4 of RAM, and Acer is claiming battery life of around 13 hours – depending on what you're doing, of course.
The smaller Spin weighs in at 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) and the larger model tips the scales at just over 2 kg (4.4 lb). That is slightly chunkier than the latest, slimmest laptops, but none of have a screen that spins around or support a stylus like the Acer.
Speaking of lightweight laptops, the Swift 5 is aimed at people on the move. It weighs less than 1 kg (2.2 lb) thanks to magnesium-lithium alloys in the chassis, while power comes from a choice of Intel Core processors. Acer is claiming an eight-hour battery life.
Finally, the Switch 7 Black Edition launched at IFA is the first fanless two-in-one with discrete graphics. Acer says the computer, powered by an eight-generation Intel Core i7 processors backed by Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics, relies on a miniaturized liquid heat-pipe cooling system to make sure things don't get too hot without a fan on board.
The 13.5-inch touchscreen has a 2256 x 1504 resolution, and can be used with an embedded stylus developed by Wacom. The screen can be detached to create a 1.15 kg (2.5 lb) tablet, backed by an auto-extending kickstand that can be enacted with one hand.
The Switch 7 will cost $1,699 when it lands in December, the Swift 5 is worth $899 and the Spin 5 will start be available from September, priced from $799.
Unleash the Predators
Forget about the lightweight laptops for a moment, because IFA also played host to the launch of some serious gaming hardware. The Predator Orion 9000 is, according to Acer, the most powerful computer it has ever developed.
The Predator will be one of the first computers to run with AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics. The computer can support up to four RX Vega cards, along with two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti cards for virtual reality. Buyers will be able to spec an Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor with 18 cores and up to 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. Power users will be able to overclock the processors with a button, too.
The case of the computer itself has customizable lighting along the sides, and optional RGB fans can be used to put on a light show. It's outfitted with wheels and grab handles, making it easier to move around, while the side panels can be removed without tools for quicker, easier component swaps.
Connectivity is provided by two USB-C and eight USB 3.0 ports, along with two USB 2.0 ports. There are three M.2 slots for plug-and-lay upgrades, and four PCIe x16 slots for better video cards. Prices will start at $1,999 when the computer launches in December.
Such a powerful computer needs a powerful monitor to do it justice. The Predator X35 is a 35-inch display with a 3440 x 1440 WQHD resolution. Along with high contrast and dynamic range, Acer says it has a 4 ms response time and 200 Hz refresh rate for smooth gaming. Users are able to toggle through eight different modes for different types of game, and an optional BlueLightShield system is designed to reduce damaging blue light for gamers spending long nights at their desk.
If Acer has its way, the people buying the Predator computer and monitor will also lay down their hard earned on the new headset and mouse, also launched at IFA.
Aspire S24 AIO
Rounding out the Acer IFA assault is a slim, 24-inch all-in-one desktop computer. Power comes from a range of Intel Core processors, designed to make the computer work smoothly during the range of tasks generally thrown at the household desktop. It has dual-band Intel wireless internet connectivity for reliable streaming, and the 2.1-channel subwoofer should deliver decent sound.
The computer itself is the slimmest all-in-one to come from Acer, and has minimal bezels running around the edge of the HD IPS display. The base of the computer acts as a charging pad for Qi-enabled devices, and the hinge on the screen allows users to operate it across a range of angles from -5 to 30 degrees.
It'll be available with up to 256GB of SSD and 2 TB of HDD storage. Prices will start at $999 when it goes on sale in January next year.