Friday

Acer Iconia W700 Review


Overview    Specifications   Price     

The Acer booth has been full of delights at IFA 2012 and top of our list is the Iconia 11.6-inch W700 Windows 8 tablet first announced at Computex back in June.
It slots into the range above the also-new Iconia W5 hybrid laptop/PC hybrid type thing.

Acer calls this an ultra-tablet and, while we're not sure what warrants that description, we guess we can't argue with the super power of this year's Ivy Bridge Core i3 and i5 processors inside the W700, which also features a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 display with 10 point touch.
The version of Windows 8 on the device wasn't really functional, so we couldn't see if there were any special apps included.


Iconia W700

It's notable how the traditional PC manufacturers (with the honorable exception of Dell's XPS 10) appear to be shunning Windows RT and sticking with long-term buddy Intel. We guess we shouldn't be too surprised, but it remains to see how successful Windows RT can be without the extra support.
The trump card the W700 holds is the charging dock. We hope it actually ships with the device rather than being an added extra.



It should really transform the W700 from being a basic (if attractive and powerful) Windows 8 tablet into a genuinely useful home tablet PC that could dock in the kitchen, lounge or hall. The cradle can be in landscape or portrait mode and includes three USB 3.0 ports.
Acer says that when used in landscape, it can sit either at 70 degrees or at 15 degrees for easier touch control.

It's hard to get away from the fact the dock is rather bulky, but we'd rather it was functional rather than flimsy. It is, however, quite difficult to move the tablet in and out. We'd expect this to be improved by the time of release.



As you can see, there's a Windows Start button on the bottom of the tablet which is exposed when you slot it into the tablet. We don't think this works too well - it should be more exposed as it can seem quite hard to press.
Note the dock also has slots so you can still hear the speakers when it's in situ.

The W700 features a grey and white design. We think it looks smart even if other tablets are made of more robust materials than the plastic used here. But we have to wonder about the white. Can it possibly stay pristine – surely it will easily discolour or mark?

For video and gaming, the W700 also makes a good stab of things. There's that HD res, Dolby Home Theater v4 and large stereo speakers. A Full HD webcam is also part of the package. You can also output the screen via Micro HDMI.



Here's the side, including a USB 3.0 port and Micro HDMI. As you might be able to make out here (and you'll certainly be able to in the dock picture above), the W700 also appears to have a Thunderbolt port; an unusual step - Acer is obviously confident of its future.

The other side features the standby button, volume rocker and headphone jack.
The device is described in the Acer bumph as being "ultra-thin". It is not at 11.9mm. It is, however, quite light for the size of the device; however it isn't part of the spec sheet as yet - we expect it to change before launch.

The top features a lock button as well as ventilation for the Core i3 or i5 processor.

Storage-wise, there's a 32 or 64GB SSD on board. You also get a 5MP front/1.3MP camera as well as Wi-Fi (of course) and Bluetooth.

Acer is citing 8 hours of battery life for the device, which is instant-on like many Windows 8 devices. If left, there's up to two weeks' standby time.

Verdict

We really liked the W700 and think the dock really makes it truly multipurpose – matching Microsoft's vision for Windows 8 tablets. However, we rather suspect that the Iconia W700 price will be expensive in line with other Intel-powered Windows 8 tablets. And that'll especially be the case for something so high spec - expect Ultrabook-level cost.
Expect the Acer Iconia W700 release date to be the end of October when Windows 8 is released.

Overview    Specifications   Price