The hybrid tablet-laptop segment is getting more exciting by the day. Here’s a deal: If you find blowing up almost a lakh on a fancy high-end hybrid Windows 8 device ridiculous, how about a sweet-looking mainstream device for less than half the price? Rest assured it will run all the basic everyday applications without any hiccups and you’ll get at least nine hours of battery life—now that’s a real road warrior! We got our hands on the first such device, the Acer Iconia W510, which currently is the only option in its price band. Here’s what it has to offer.
Offers portability of a tablet and convenience of a laptop
Design and features
The Iconia W510 sports a detachable design, similar to that of the HP Envy x2. So, you get the portability of a tablet with the option to use it as a notebook when docked. Further, the screen can be swivelled back (similar to IdeaPad Yoga) should you want to keep the device standing like a photo frame on your desk. To dock the tablet, you simply have to place it over the keyboard dock and press it down gently until you hear the click sound of the lock. The tablet locks securely in place and the hinges of the holder are quite firm. However, we found the retention mechanism a bit flawed; if you hold the tablet and move it to and fro, you’ll find there’s too much play. It doesn’t wobble while you’re using the tablet docked on your desktop, but you wouldn’t want to use it while you’re on a bumpy ride.
Swivel the tablet behind to use the dock as a stand
At 570 grams, the Iconia W510 by itself is quite light and portable. The keyboard dock adds another 700 grams, which makes the total weight 1270 grams—quite light for an ultra-portable laptop. The keyboard dock isn’t just a keyboard and a touchpad; it packs an additional battery and has a USB 2.0 port on the side of the right hinge. If you check the Power Options in Windows while the tablet is docked, you see two batteries. When unplugged, the device first uses the battery in the dock. It switches to the built-in battery when the dock’s battery runs dry or when you detach it from the dock. This is a good thing as it helps conserve the battery life of the tablet.
More compact than many Ultrabooks
As for the core of the Iconia W510, it’s powered by the Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core processor that runs at 1.8GHz. At a TDP of 1.7 watts, it’s extremely power-friendly and doesn’t require active cooling. But that doesn’t mean the tablet doesn’t heat up. After prolonged use, especially when you’re gaming or running intensive applications, you can feel the heat build up behind the right side of the device. It feels uncomfortable when you’re using the device handheld as a tablet, but it doesn’t matter when you’re using it while it's docked.
Volume rocker, HDMI output, micro USB port and micro SD card slot
The Iconia W510 packs 2GB RAM and 64GB eSSD storage. Due to the limitation of the SoC, the tablet runs 32-bit version of Windows 8. Nevertheless, it gives you more flexibility than Windows 8 RT—you can install software and apps of your choice so long as they are 32-bit. Being a very capable Windows 8 device, a raft of IO is placed on the side. The top right corner has the power button and a switch to toggle auto-rotation. The right side has the volume rocker, HDMI output (micro type), a micro USB port and a microSD card slot. The device’s slim form restricts the addition of larger ports such as a regular USB port and VGA output. Hence, Acer has included adapters for the same to be used with the port. The top of the frame houses an almost invisible 2MP camera and an 8 MP camera with LED flash is placed on the rear. The bottom side has a proprietary connector for dock/charger and notches for retention when docked.
8 MP camera with LED flash on the rear
USB 2.0 port on the side of the keyboard dock
Unlike larger hybrids with 11.6-inch and 12-inch displays with full HD resolution, the Iconia W510 sports a 10-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It isn’t as crisp, but not too bad either thanks to the smaller display. On the connectivity front, you get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. The bundled leatherette case comes as a bonus. It takes the tablet with the dock and is lined with felt-type material from inside to keep scratches at bay.
The leatherette case looks elegant and is of very good quality
Build quality and ergonomics
The Iconia W510 won’t turn heads, but it looks very elegant. It sports a silver back panel with matte finish and the side is white. The keyboard dock follows the same colour scheme to go with the tablet. The white chiclet-type keys and holder with diamond-like texture lend a good contrast. The build quality of the tablet is very good. It feels quite firm when held and you can at once say that the material used in construction is of good quality. However, the same can’t be felt with the keyboard dock—you’ll feel there’s room for improvement. Also, the charger’s connector feels like it’s clumsily designed. The wire flexes awkwardly near the joint where it meets the connector. This could have easily been avoided had the joint been on the longer side of the connector.
The keyboard is compact, but the keys are a bit tiny
The connector could have been designed better
The keyboard dock does make typing much more comfortable than using the on-screen keyboard. You may not complain if you have small hands, but the small closely-packed keys would be a problem if you have large hands or stubby fingers. The touchpad is relatively smaller than the ones you find in regular laptops. It would have been nice if it was slightly larger, but the 10.1-inch form factor restricts that.
With the Intel Atom Z2760 at the core, it would be unfair to expect wonders from this tablet. It can’t be compared even to the most entry-level laptop. The Iconia W510 is most ideal for running basic everyday apps, including web browsing, social networking, image viewing, music listening and playing up to full HD videos. You can multitask with a few of these applications running together, but that could be a bit taxing for the processor.
Moving on to the scores, the Iconia W510 performs at par with the HP Envy x2 and Dell Latitude 10-ST that run the same hardware. It took 4 minutes and 45 seconds to compress 100MB multiple files to 7.zip format (Ultra preset), and a little over 5 minutes to encode a 1 minute MPEG video clip to H.264 format. The overall PCMark 7 score was a meagre 1289 points. High-end hybrids such as the Sony Vaio Duo and Samsung ATIV Smart PC are three times faster, but as we’ve already mentioned, this tablet is apt only for basic tasks. With less processing power and low power consumption comes marathon battery life.
With the batteries of both the tablet and the dock completely charged, the Iconia W10 logged a whopping 9 hours and 40 minutes of battery life in Battery Eater Pro. High-end hybrids and entry-level laptops don’t last for more than 1 hour and 30 minutes in this test. You should easily get more than 15 hours of battery life with light to medium load. Play three full length movies back-to-back and you’ll still have some battery life remaining.
Verdict and Price in India
The Acer Iconia W510 retails for Rs 46,349 with the keyboard dock. If that’s too expensive for you or if you don’t need the dock, you can opt for only the tablet, which costs Rs 35,019. That’s a very good price considering high-end hybrids cost thrice as much and the premium ones such as the HP Envy x2 (which also comes with a keyboard dock) cost around Rs 14,000 more.
Quite slim and compact
It’s the first time we’re seeing a Windows 8 tablet selling for the price of a mainstream laptop or the iPad 4. Of course, the iPad is more intuitive and fluid, not to mention the awesome Retina display. But if you’re specifically looking for a Windows 8 device without having to break the bank, the Iconia W510 is for you.
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Oct 26, 2016
Oct 26, 2016