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Acer's Aspire Switch 12 S tablet packs 4K screen, 3D camera, Thunderbolt 3 port

Acer's Aspire Switch 12 S tablet packs 4K screen, 3D camera, Thunderbolt 3 port

Acer's technology-loaded Aspire Switch 12 S will ship next month starting at $999

Are you looking for a 4K screen, 3D camera and Thunderbolt 3 port in one tablet? If so, Acer's latest 12.5-inch Switch 12 S hybrid could be for you.

The hybrid is essentially a tablet that ships with a secondary keyboard attachment for laptop usage. The 800-gram device is packed with some of the latest technologies available today, and is a major upgrade from other Switch models.

The 4K screen, which will display images at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, is optional. Standard features in the tablet include 802.11ac wireless and USB-C port (which supports the Thunderbolt 3 technology). The Gorilla Glass 4 screen is rugged and doesn't crack upon short drops.

The tablet is 7.85 millimeters thick, has Intel's Skylake-based Core M processor and supports up to 256GB of storage. One cutting edge technology left out by Acer from the Switch 12 S is WiGig wireless, which can transfer data at much faster rates than Wi-Fi.

A base model will be priced at US$999 with a full high-definition screen (1920 x 1280-pixel resolution) and 128GB of storage. The price for a 4K model wasn't immediately available. The device will be available in North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and China next month.

The 4K screen will bring crisp video to the tablet, though the merits of such a deep resolution on a 12.5-inch screen are questionable. Discerning every small visual detail on that screen could be difficult, though the story is different on larger TVs and monitors. The USB-C port will charge the device and also support the Thunderbolt 3 protocol, through which separate 4K monitors could be attached. With Thunderbolt, the tablet will move data to peripherals like external storage at unprecedented speeds of 40Gbps (bits per second).

The Intel RealSense 3D camera could make Skype chats more fun. Microsoft and Intel are also working together to enable users to log in to Windows 10 computers through the 3D camera. The 3D camera could allow tablets to recognize faces so users can log in to computers, thus reducing the need to remember passwords.

Acer is among the first of the major PC makers to bring 4K screens to tablets, jumping ahead of major rivals Dell, HP, Microsoft, Lenovo and Asus. More 4K tablet and laptop announcements are expected this week at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

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