The 11.6-inch Acer Aspire R 11 series is a new contender in the small and affordable 2-in-1 hybrid PC arena. As same as other similar devices, such as the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 3147, Lenovo Flex 3 11, HP Pavilion x360 11 or Toshiba Radius 11 L15, the 400-dollar Aspire R 11 features a fully rotating hinge, which allows the device to transform from a traditional laptop to tablet or multimedia / presentation stand or tent.
There aren’t many R 11 configurations available on the market currently. The most represented in the US stores are the Acer Aspire R 11 R3-131T-P344 and R3-131T-P7HA Signature Edition. These laptops are identical, with exception of preloaded third-party software. In fact, the Signature Edition R3-131T-P7HA doesn’t have any, thus having a cleaner Windows 10 installation. These two “sky blue” models are accompanied by a white non-Signature Aspire R3-131T-P3BM version with the same hardware specs, but it is offered only by a few sellers.
All of the mentioned models are based on the Intel Pentium N3700 entry-level quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM memory. They are satisfactory for productivity work in Office applications, surfing the web, email communication, audio and video playback, casual gaming, and other light tasks, as well as medium-level multitasking. The 2-in-1 PCs have a 500GB hard disk drive, which is a standard size with plenty of space for users’ files, but keep in mind that it is the slowest kind of computer storage, especially considering its slow 5,400 rpm rotational speed.
As for the display, it doesn’t impress either. The 11.6-inch multi-touch panel has a standard but mediocre 1366-by-768-pixel count. A potentially major disadvantage is absence of IPS technology. Because of that, viewing angles are not so great. We got our hands on one of the Acer Aspire R11 configurations and found that the display suffers from either washed out or inverted colors if you skew your viewing angle up or down from straight looking at the screen in the landscape laptop / stand / tent modes or left and right in the portrait / tablet mode. If it’s any consolation, other similarly priced and specced models don’t have IPS screens either. To have that feature, you’ll have to get the Dell’s aforementioned Inspiron 3147 or upgrade to one of the pricier 2-in-1s starting at more than $600 (such as the Lenovo Yoga 3 11).
In accordance to its budget nature, the Acer Aspire R 11 and the R3-131T-P344 and R3-131T-P7HA Signature Edition models don’t provide keyboard backlight. On the positive side, the keyboard’s tactile feedback is better than average, thanks to a bit longer key travel and overall minimal flex on the typing area. The trackpad is precise and comfortably spacious, but our opinion is that physical buttons for “mouse” click actions are a better solution than the integrated ones like on this model. However, physical click buttons are a rarity on today’s market and none of the Acer Asire R 11’s competitor don’t feature them.
The rest of the specs sheet is a non-surprising story. The 2-in-1 doesn’t feature the latest perks such as USB-C port nor RealSense 3D camera for secure face-recognition-based logins, but all the old necessary stuff is included. The laptop has stereo speakers, a web camera, 802.11AC and Bluetooth wireless interfaces, an Ethernet LAN port, one USB 3,0 and one USB 2.0 port, HDMI video output connector, a combo audio jack. If you’re wondering where the SD card slot is located, since it isn’t visible on usual right and left sides of the laptop, the answer is: on the rear of the keyboard base.
According to Acer, the battery life on the R 11 lasts “up to 8 hours”. That’s a very optimistic estimation, since the battery capacity of 3,220 mAh is quite low.
Although it has a relatively small display, the Aspire R 11 isn’t overly portable. The convertible notebook weighs in at 3.5 pounds. It is however a thin notebook and not-so-thin tablet, with a profile of 0.8″ high. On the positive side, plastics covering the device feels quite sturdy, on both black keyboard deck and blue textured lid.