Windows 8 for the price of RT.
Price: $749 | From: Acer
It might not be quite as cheap as the most affordable Windows RT tablets, but Acer is definitely aiming for thinner wallets with this Windows 8-powered hybrid. Bought without the keyboard it’ll set you back around $700, putting it right in line with Apple’s iPad 4 and other Windows RT devices, with the cost rising slightly if you shell out for the extra keyboard. Doing so does deliver more than just a keyboard, however — you’ll also get incredible battery performance courtesy of the keyboard’s second battery.
We started our standard PowerMark test early in the afternoon and left it running overnight. The result was an astonishing 12:10hr, and the device still had so much juice left that the display was still active the next morning. This is simply incredible, bearing in mind that PowerMark puts devices through far more strain than most average users do in a standard day’s work. It’s not just the dual batteries that keep this tablet going when others have long since given up the ghost, with Intel’s Atom processor also responsible for the lengthy battery life. Our review unit included the Atom Z2760 version, a dual-core, Hyper-Threaded chip that runs at a maximum of 1.8GHz under load. It’s not in the same league as the Core i5 CPUs we’ve seen in more expensive tablets, as evidenced by the rather low PCMark 7 results. Yet performance when surfing the net or churning out Word documents was fine. It’s a full-blown x86 CPU, which means this tablet runs the full Windows 8 OS, which remained responsive even with multiple apps open.
In tablet form, the W510 looks like a standard 10.1-inch slate. The use of Gorilla Glass keeps the screen scratch-free and extends from edge to edge, like most other Windows 8 tablets. An aluminium rear further reinforces the sturdy construction, and also keeps the weight down at just 580g (without the docking keyboard). At this price you don’t get an HD display, although the 1,366 x 768 resolution is fine for most duties. It’s an IPS display, the norm in these form factor tablets, and image quality was decent if not dazzling. Touch response on the 10-point screen was lag-free and accurate. The screen clips into the keyboard dock via a very sturdy clamp, but there are no support struts, like those seen in the Sony Vaio Duo II (review to be posted this week), to stop the screen moving when it’s touched. As a result, using the touchscreen when it’s mounted on the base isn’t the best experience, as the display tends to bounce around a little. This issue isn’t unique to the W510, but it’s worth mentioning. The display can be rotated past the vertical, turning the keyboard into a base station — a handy feature for group presentations or watching movies.
The keyboard itself is a very petite unit, matching the same dimensions as the 10.1-inch display. The island keys felt a little small, but with practise are much more expedient than using a virtual keyboard on the touchscreen. Despite the smaller length and width, it’s quite deep to accommodate the extra battery, with the positive side effect of allowing extra I/O ports. There’s a microSD card reader, microHDMI port and two USB 2.0 ports, one of which is the micro format; sadly, USB 3.0 support is AWOL, as is a GPS unit. If there’s an Achilles’ heel, it’s the W510’s storage — 64GB of flash memory simply isn’t enough for many users, which will have to be alleviated with a microSD card, external drive or cloud storage.
Acer has delivered a very usable little Windows 8 tablet in the W510 and if your storage needs are slim, the sturdy construction, light weight and incredible battery life make this a tempting tablet hybrid.
Pros : Fantastic battery life, very portable, solid performance.
Cons : Not a lot of storage, screen bounces when docked, no GPS.
Rating : 8 out of 10. Highly recommended.