It is difficult to put into words the impact mobile technology has had on the computing industry so far. We are clearly in the midst of a tremendous shift from a time when desktop computers and notebooks dominated the landscape to what is commonly referred to as the post-PC era.
We're already seeing smartphones, tablets and hybrids flaking off in the once thriving PC business. Meanwhile, smartwatches and augmented reality visors signal an emerging trend towards wearable computing that could gain ground in the coming year. With new forms of mobile devices we haven't even thought of, many have dared to say that the days of the desktop PC are numbered.
Microsoft's answer to this changing landscape is Windows 8, an operating system that seeks to balance the demands of traditional productivity-centric desktops with the mobility of mobile devices. Results have been mixed so far as desktop users have complained about the “unnecessary” user interface (formerly the Metro user interface) while Microsoft's tablet-only implementation – Windows RT – is limited in the software that it can run .
While Windows 8 may fall short on these two platforms, there is a third category that it just seems to fit perfectly – hybrids. If you think about it, hybrids are the perfect home for Windows 8 because both aspects of the operating system are used and glow the way they were designed.
That brings us to today as we have the Acon Iconia W510 Hybrid for review. The system is officially marketed as a Net-Tablet, although the included keyboard dock (on select models) essentially turns the device into a full-fledged PC – no Windows RT here, folks. What you get here is the full Windows experience you would have on a traditional desktop or notebook.
The W510 from Acer consists of a 10.1-inch active matrix TFT color LCD with a size of 1,366 x 768 and full touchscreen support. It is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 dual core processor with four threads and 1.8 GHz, 2 GB DDR memory, 64 GB internal flash memory, 802.11 a / b / g / n WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 + HS driven. There's an 8-megapixel rear gunner with a flash, as well as a front-facing camera for video chatting. Our test device costs $ 649.99 and includes a full version of Windows 8 32-bit and the keyboard dock mentioned above.
My first impression of the Acer Iconia W5 was that it resembles a netbook in form and function, with the Atom processor inside and everything. Of course, this is not a fair estimate, as the Intel processor in this system is a fair bit more powerful than the low-level chips that became famous during the netbook's brief run.
The tablet itself is one of the more attractive devices I've come across. The slate measures 0.3 inches high, 6.6 inches wide, and 10.2 inches deep, and weighs approximately 1.28 pounds. The display of 1,366 x 768 is framed by a black bezel, which is then surrounded by a white bezel. When you hold the tablet in landscape orientation, the front-facing HD webcam will be centered over the screen and the Windows logo will be at the bottom.
Acer Iconia W510 – $ 650
- 10.1 "1366 x 768 Active Matrix TFT LCD
- Intel Atom Z2760 (1.8 GHz)
- PowerVR SGX 545 integrated graphics
- 2 GB LPDDR2 RAM
- 64 GB SSD
- 1 x microHDMI, 1 x microUSB, 1 x MicroSD
- 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0 + HS
- Gyroscope, e-compass, accelerometer, ambient light sensor
- 2MP front cameras, 8MP rear cameras
- Keyboard dock
- 10.18 x 6.60 x 0.35 inches, 1.3 pounds
The docking port and the latch connections are found on the bottom. On the left edge is one of two stereo speakers, and the name Iconia is engraved on the white plastic edge. The top edge has a headphone jack, lock alignment switch, and the power button. On the right side there is a microphone, a volume rocker, a microHDMI and a microUSB connection as well as a microSD card reader.
The back of the slate is made of aluminum, similar to Apple's iPad. At the top (in landscape format) is an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and microphone, presumably for video recordings. The name Acer is etched in chrome and you can find some of those pesky stickers too.
The included keyboard dock is made from the same silver aluminum that is on the back of the tablet. The chiclet-style buttons are white with gray and blue lettering. Acer even included a small trackpad just below the space bar. Advanced features like multi-touch are not supported, but this is a minor inconvenience as the tablet's display includes the same function.
The keyboard dock is more than just an input device, as it contains a battery that, along with the battery located in the slate, is designed to be used for up to 18 hours. In addition, the dock serves as a convenient stand for the display, as it can be tilted up to 295 degrees and there is a full-size USB port on the right edge.
I haven't had any issues with the layout of the keyboard, although it's a bit cramped due to its limited space. We can't blame Acer for this, but be aware that longer writing sessions can take some time to get used to.