Acer Aspire R7 with Haswell and Active Digitizer--first impressions and discussion

Discussion in 'Acer (Gateway)' started by Doggie, Nov 25, 2013.

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  1. Doggie

    Doggie Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My Best Buy had two of the new refresh of the Acer R7. They did not have the pen yet but it uses N-Trip Duo Sense 2 so the pen from my Sony Duo 13 works perfectly. First I want to say that I love the pen--have been using tablet pcs since they first came out and find the pen essential for notetaking and paper mark-up (am a professor). I am impressed with how the easel hinge seems to be absolutely ideal for using the pen both in lap and on a table. I also have never had such a large writing space and am enjoying it. I have only had it for one evening but am impressed and would be glad to answer questions.

    Also note that I find the newest N-Trig stuff (as with the sony duo 13) to be on par with Wacom----maybe it gets a small stray mark once in a while and also won't work on same electric plug as a halogen lamp but it actually does better in corners than many Wacom.

    This might be a keeper for me, I will post more as I have more experience, feel free to chime in.
     
    thatcomicsguy, Steve B, JoeS and 2 others like this.
  2. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Great to hear. I wonder why it's been so quiet around this model. Was it just not available yet?
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Thatcomicsguy is going to be very excited to see someone has this device in their hands. It's the other one he's been looking at, besides the Flip15. I also have to admit that of all of the "BIG" desktop-style devices coming out, this is the one I'm now most curious about. And curious is probably the optimal word- it seems like it answers some of the issues I've had running Win 8.1 on a regular style laptop, but that it may introduce new issues in the process. So hearing some real user reviews would be nice.

    For the past 3 weeks or so, I've been using a t902 with Win 8.1, and have run into a number of issues using a normal-style laptop with it. Firstly, I find the tiny trackpad difficult to use in Windows 8, as I find it more important than ever with all the gestures, etc. I keep on making mistaken swipes an what not, even 3 weeks on. One of the thing I decided was that if I get a new Win8 tablet, it's going to have a big trackpad.... OR it was going to have a screen that got closer to me, so that it was more comfortable to use with touch. This was my other design gripe with a normal style laptop. Essentially, I wanted to use the touchscreen, it makes so much sense, but it's really far from me. I was having to extend my arm fully to do swipe and gestures, tapping, etc. That got old quick. Additionally, it was clear that the screen was never really designed to be a touch screen-- it was far too wobbly for my tastes when I tapped stuff, etc. I want a firm response from the device when I tap the screen. So, I've ended up using the touchscreen less than I expected... But I found the trackpad so small that I wanted to use the screen instead. Argh! Besides all that, there are a number of pleasant UI things you can't do on the trackpad, but that can only be done on the screen-- like swiping from left to right to go backwards in IE 11, or swiping from top to bottom to close an app, etc. Basically, using the trackpad didnt work as well as I needed, and using the touchscreen was difficult because it was too far away. Clearly, the R7 floating hinge design solves a lot of this.

    Still, I'm curious to find out what the experience is like trying to navigate the desktop and menus on a big screen, using touch-- is it unergonomic to touch the screen if it's that big (as in, the corners are far away, etc), or just a smooth, wonderful experience because the screen is so much close? Can you easily switch between the trackpad for some things (small menus and such) and the screen for other input? Is typing without a palm rest difficult? or does it not really matter anyways, because you tend not to place your wrist there unless using the trackpad (basically, I type with my hands floating)?

    Also, I found out that Acer is providing their own pen, and I read that it's supposed to have different kinds of tips and programmable buttons. Is this true? That would be a very helpful thing! It's one of my gripes about Ntrig.

    I've heard that touch is super smooth on it, from the reviews I read, but I'm curious how it works with the pen input. Are you getting errant marks? Are the pen and touch fighting a lot? Can you transition easily/ smoothly/ quickly from using one to the other? or do you have to do some sort of obnoxious double tap process? I was quite annoyed at not being able to smoothly use multi-touch on the t902 in art programs, given the price and power of the device-- it's a bit glitchy at times, with errant touch "marks" and whatnot. I had a smoother touch/ pen experience in art programs on my cheap ntrig q552, and am hoping that the R7 duplicates (and exceeds) that smooth experience. However, I've also heard that Ntrig doesn't transition as smoothly between touch and pen in Windows 8, so that's a concern as well.

    Finally, I'm curious to find out how easily upgradeable the R7 is. I don't need an Nvidia card, but I would like to use a SSD that I already have, or perhaps to upgrade the Ram for cheap. Is the laptop openable? or is the tear down really difficult?

    From the reviews, it sounds like it's already got a gorgeous screen and a helluva sound system, so that's good on that. It's these other, more personal, user experience-based details that I'm curious about.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
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  4. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Also, gotta say-- 900$ for this is fantastically cheap. A great deal.

    I think I read that the last R7 was some sort of SSD/ HD hybrid. Is that true on this as well? Are there options for SSD only models?
     
  5. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I am indeed excited to learn about this.

    The official launch is supposed to be in early December according to the press releases, but the rumor was that some Best Buy locations had them in stock already. It's cool to hear that this is true and that a forum member has found one.

    Having not yet had the opportunity to really experiment with the joys/defeats of the capacitive touch screen to manipulate a canvas, I don't know what to look for in a tablet wrt this aspect. My primary questions revolve around the stylus and its ability to work in art software.

    My question list for the new R7 is quite short. . .

    -Can it run Photoshop? (I suspect that if it can, it will only be the most recent Adobe release).
    -Is the action in pressure-activated art programs on par with Wacom? Will it be comfortable to draw with?
    -Can I open it up easily and tinker? (The older R7 opens fairly easily from the scattered reports I've seen, and the parts inside are user-replaceable.)

    That's it.

    Out of all the regular site members here, I believe I may be using some of the oldest hardware available. I have done well considering, but there are basic limitations I'd like to get beyond, (memory cap, processor speeds), and any extra physical inches of high-resolution canvas I can get would be very welcome. I've been considering getting a used Cintiq 21" and a modern PC to plug it into. At best, this looks like a $1200 purchase. I'd rather have a portable, so if the Flip or R7 can do the jobs I need done, then I'd pick one of those up as they're in the same relative price range.

    Is there any chance you can test out Photoshop? I realize that falls outside your area of expertise, but if you could run the trial versions of both the latest Photoshop and one of the older ones, (I'm using CS4), then I'd be very interested in hearing your experiences with them.

    Cheers!
     
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    I'm also interested in fan noise. How quiet is this thing? Does the fan turn on a lot? Or is it pretty much silent? Obviously, the Flip series is having fan problems, so of course I'd like this to work properly, but even so, beyond that a silent computer is a wonderful thing.
     
  7. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I'm also really interested to see how this the N-Trig stylus performs in MS Ink enabled applications like Sketchbook Pro, ArtRage, Manga Studio, etc...

    I find Photoshop doesn't fit into my workflow all that well for sketching since its interface is, quite frankly, pretty bad for tablet users. Though maybe with the easel hinge and the ability to use the keyboard shortcuts underneath the screen it might be much better.

    In any case, thanks for the feedback!
     
  8. AndroidPCguy

    AndroidPCguy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    You won't notice the fan at all. I would have to put my ear to the fan to hear it

    NO ssd
    Wifi is fixed
    Getting an extra 2 hours with Haswell (I had the 571 too)
     
  9. Doggie

    Doggie Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Not sure why it's been quiet. Perhaps it's considered too big for many users on the site. I would have thought so too except that the hinge design I think might end up being the best thing I have had for positioning a devise on a table or lap for using the stylus. I still think that though I have only had it for 24 hours.

    The keyboard on this thing is really nice.

     
  10. Doggie

    Doggie Scribbler - Standard Member

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    There no doubt in my mind after using just a day that the ergonomics for a touchscreen on this is exceptional---The range of ways to set it up is great and I find it the most useful touchscreen position I have seen. I have not used the trackpad so much because of that but when I need it----and have needed it like the drag the corner of the reply box here to make it bigger or some such---it seems to work well. It is probably average size for a 15 inch laptop. I don't use trackpad gestures much, so can't comment on that. Touch seems smooth, probably on par with sony duo 13 or asus zenbook or maybe a bit better than the zenbook.You can switch easily between touchscreen and trackpad if you have the hinge in a configuration that allows that---and there are countless variations that do so. For inking a lot though I probably will end up mostly using a configuration that blocks off the trackpad. I have had laptops with no wrist rest before---I feel no problem with them at all. I read somewhere that it might be better ergonomically to not have one?? They give you this leather like thingy that I am assuming is a palm rest. Have not used it and probably won't.

    I am using the sony duo2 sense stylus for the duo 13 and it is pretty flawless--just like on the duo 13. Stray marks are few and far between. I am really really happy with the pen but please note that all I do in note-taking and marking up papers, making lists etc. I do not use for artwork, so really cannot comment on comparing to wacom for that. For note taking and handwritten notes--I think the n-trip is now pretty much on par with wacom (still clacks a bit). Transition from touch to pen and back is smooth in onenote, does not work even with wacom in windows journal, is smooth in bluebeam revu once you get the correct setting for what touch can do.

    I don't know anything about the acer pen--I can find no information on it anyplace. Anyone else know anything?

    I don't know anything about the upgrade stuff, as much as I work with tablets, I seldom do that. It does not have a SSD and that shows up a bit in boot times and opening programs and definitely when installing programs---I wish it had a SSD but having such a huge drive will allow me to get all my pictures on here as well as desktop--something I have not done before.


     
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