We'll keep our source anonymous here, but an Acer rep staffing the company's press event here at IFA just told us its funky Aspire R7 Ultrabook is "not selling so well." We're not sure if that's because it shipped with last-gen Ivy Bridge processors, or because the touchpad sits above the keyboard, but either way, Acer is trying to boost its chances of success. This week, the company announced the R7 is getting refreshed with Haswell CPUs (Core i5 and i7) and an optional active digitizer for proper pen input. That latter feature in particular addresses a chief complaint potential buyers had about the original, which could only be used with generic capacitive pens. After all, what fun is a 15-inch, 1080p display with an articulating hinge if you can't use it for the occasional doodle?
In particular, the laptop makes use of an N-Trig digitizer, allowing for hovering and pressure-sensitive pen input. And though there's no shortage of pen-optimized apps in the Windows Store, Acer is also bundling a few of its own, including MemoryBinder for drawing, Screen Grasp for taking screencaps (natch), and Scrapboard for cobbling together a mish-mash of photos, screenshots and other media. Across the board, you'll enjoy a straightforward UI that makes it easy to select and crop objects on screen, with options to either put a window around selected content, or "lasso" it using the pen or your finger. Even more than that, we were especially taken with the "AccuFinger," an onscreen, finger-friendly circle with a fine pointer attached, which you can use to select tiny items on screen even when you forgot to take the pen with you. (OK, you could use the touchpad too, but this is the decidedly cooler option. Plus, the touchpad drivers need fine-tuning anyway.)