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Acer announces the Switch Alpha 12, world’s first liquid-cooled 2-in-1 laptop

Everyone is trying to banish the whirring fans from laptops and 2-in-1 hybrid computers these days, but that often means using a low-power chip like the Intel Core M. Acer has just announced the Switch Alpha 12, a new silent hybrid laptop that skips the modest, cooler chips and goes right for a 6th Generation Intel Core CPU (Skylake). Instead of noisy fans, this laptop uses a liquid-cooling system, a first for 2-in-1 hybrid laptops.

This isn’t the first time a liquid-cooled laptop has existed. Asus released a monstrous gaming laptop last year called the GX700, but it was only liquid-cooled when plugged into a giant desktop radiator attachment. It was a niche product that even gamers had little interest in. The Switch Alpha 12 is entirely self-contained, making it a much more desirable mainstream product. The user doesn’t have to know or care that the device is liquid-cooled. They just know it’s fast and doesn’t have fans.

The Switch Alpha 12 doesn’t need a heavy radiator or pump thanks to a design Acer calls Liquid Loop cooling. The liquid is contained in a closed pipe that uses the heat generated by the CPU to circulate through the pipe. This allows it to radiate heat before circling back to the CPU.

Being a hybrid laptop, all the hardware magic is happening in the “tablet” portion behind the 12-inch screen. The display resolution is a respectable 2160×1440, just shy of the MacBook’s Retina Display. The USB Type-C port includes the ability to drive up to two external 4K displays too.

There is a keyboard dock that bears a striking resemblance to the Microsoft Surface — there’s even a kickstand on the back of the tablet. The tablet by itself weighs 1.98 pounds and the keyboard dock brings that up to 2.76 pounds. The similarities with the Surface don’t end there. Acer also plans an active stylus for the Alpha 12 called the Active Pen. It will have 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, but there’s no word on price or availability.

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Most of the specs and configurations are still unknown, but we know the device will start at $599 when it launches in June. That will just be for the main tablet portion of the Switch Alpha 12. The keyboard dock will cost extra, but we don’t know how much. Similar accessories are usually $100-150. This one will come in backlit and non-backlit versions, so at least you’ll be able to save a little if you don’t need the LEDs.

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