The Liquid-cooled face off: Acer Switch Alpha 12 vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The battle of two-in-ones has been raging for a while with Apple and Microsoft pitching their iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 tablets with some crazy features. But things took a turn last night when Acer launched the Switch Alpha 12, a sleek new two-in-one priced at just €699.

The first thing that Acer talked about when it launched the two-in-one was LiquidLoop™, a lovely little technology that keeps the device cool no matter how long you make it run.

We took a look at Acer's new liquid cooling technology and wondered if it really matched up with a similarly-named one in Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 tablet.

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To begin with, let's understand how the liquid cooling feature works in the Surface Pro 4 two-in-one. The technology lets the device concentrate liquid in a metal tube and then heats it up and vapourises it. The vapour then travels to the fan as well as the area near the kickstand. Once the vapour reaches these sweet spots, it condenses back into a liquid form and keeps these areas cool.

The Surface Pro 4 fan doesn't bother when you are using it for everyday activities. But if you feel like using the two-in-one for an entire day of gaming, the fan will begin rumbling. Once it does, it will distribute the heat further, keeping the device surprisingly cool for long periods.

In Acer's Switch Alpha 12, the LiquidLoop™ technology is theoretically so good that Acer decided not to install a fan within the device. This in turn keeps the device quiet when it is being used for energy-sapping activities.

The technology allows the device to use the vapour pressure inside cooling tubes to distribute the heat across its structure, thereby keeping the temperature stable and reducing the chances of a stuttering performance owing to overheating.

Microsoft recalls overheating power cords of older Surface Pro tablets

Unlike the Surface Pro 4, Switch Alpha 12 doesn't need air vents to let the heat escape or to let in cold, fresh air. This will keep the device dust-free in its entire lifespan.

"The silent LiquidLoop Cooling System keeps the Switch Alpha 12 at a stable temperature and running efficiently without fan noise. The device is the industry’s first 2-in-1 with a 6th Generation Intel Core processor to use a fanless design; this combination contributes to the system’s excellent performance and all-day 8-hour battery life," said Acer in a statement.

"The LiquidLoop cooling system also provides improved reliability; since no fan is present, the Switch Alpha 12 doesn’t require venting that can be compromised by airflow issues and dust accumulation," it added.

Since the Switch Alpha 12 is yet to be tested by individual users, we have to go by what Acer says until the device is reviewed or enters the market. On the other hand, Microsoft's Surface Pro range of two-in-ones have been around for a while and have had their brushes with controversy.

In January, Microsoft initiated a voluntary recall of a large number of power cords of older Surface Pro tablets citing over heating issues, promising to supply owners with new ones. The recall includes power cords of Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 tablets.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4: More is better

“As a result of damage caused by AC power cords being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time, a very small proportion of Surface Pro customers have reported issues with their AC power cord. We will be releasing details of how customers can obtain a free replacement cable shortly,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

In December, a large number of Surface Pro 4 users also complained that Surface Pro 4 batteries lost their juice even when their tablets were kept in sleep mode, thus ruining their plans of working outdoor for long hours. A user claimed that the battery charge in his Surface Pro 4 went down from 100% to 72% in just three hours when the tablet was kept in sleep mode!

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  1. Guest
    Guest10th May 2016

    A faster, fan-less, pen-capable, USB-C, WiGig competitor at hundreds of dollars less than Surface Pro and other low-end product offerings in this segm...

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