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A kickstand is the most interesting feature on Acer’s new 2-in-1

Of all the new Switch laptops and convertibles that Acer unveiled today, the most eye-catching is the Switch 5. It’s a slick 12-inch Windows 10 hybrid with what the company calls an "auto-retractable" kickstand that lets you adjust the angle at which it’s propped up by pushing it with one finger. At the crowded demo area, I was taken by how easy it is to do just that on a Switch 5.

Acer has done a good job balancing the kickstand’s resistance here. It doesn’t take too much force to push the Switch down to a lower angle, nor is it too easy to move out of place by accident. It’s reminiscent of the Surface Studio’s adjustable hinge, although Acer’s offering is less sophisticated. In line with the company’s previous superthin Switch 7 laptop, though, the new device has a pleasantly slim profile and a premium build.

The new Switch convertibles come with a companion keyboard that connect magnetically to the tablet via a POGO connection. I enjoyed typing brief sentences on my demo unit, as the keys were comfortable and springy. There’s also a trackpad below the keyboard, which was responsive during my brief time with it. On the sheltered rooftop where we checked out these devices, the Switch 5’s 2K display was crisp, colorful and bright enough to easily navigate the Windows 10 Home system.

One thing I found jarring was the way the kickstand snaps into the tablet’s back when you don’t need it anymore. It requires a very deliberate push to merge into the device’s frame, and about half an inch of the stand’s base sticks out, which would make storing or carrying the Switch complicated. I imagine it would frequently get stuck in my backpack from getting caught on a random pocket or lining.

We don’t know much else about the Switch 5, except that it will be ready for back-to-school season this year for an undisclosed price. Depending on the region, a stylus may be included with the convertible and keyboard. Acer is also promising up to 10.5 hours of battery life, and the device’s seventh-generation Intel Core i7 or i5 CPUs should provide ample power for multitasking. We’ll have to wait till the Switch 5 is ready for testing to see if that holds true.