Review Acer Iconia Tab W510

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Performance Acer Iconia Tab W510 + Specs Price - The Acer Iconia Tab W510 is a 10.1", 1366 x 768 resolution Windows 8 tablet that runs on a dual core Intel Atom 1.8GHz CPU with 2 gigs of RAM. This is full Windows 8, and that means it can run Windows 7 programs (x.86 apps) just like your current laptop or desktop. But this is the Atom CPU of netbook fame (albeit a zippier Clover Trail Z2760 version), and that means it won't run applications as fast as a recent machine running on Intel Core i5 or non-netbook AMD CPUs.

Performance Acer Iconia Tab W510 + Specs Price

The small island style keys are surprisingly usable given the keyboard's small overall size, and the trackpad is small (to be fair how big a trackpad can you fit on a 10.1" device) and doesn't support multi-touch. Suffice it to say that we like the tablet much better than the dock, and have found greater joy and productivity using several of the many portable Bluetooth keyboards on the market. But the dock has its strong points: it protects the display, adds some serious battery power and has a full size USB 2.0 port so you can stop worrying about the micro USB to USB dongle that came in the box and has probably already gotten lost.

For those who love the detachable keyboard dock concept, there's a bundle that includes Acer's keyboard dock with island style keyboard, trackpad, USB port and secondary battery. That bundle starts at $750 to $799 and we haven't found the dock sold separately for those who buy just the tablet first. The dock is solidly made though like the tablet itself, it's made of plastic. While the tablet doesn't look cheap, the dock is futuristic yet a little Fisher Price looking. It makes the contraption look and feel more like a netbook than a $750 product. Honestly, you can find the HP Envy x2 with keyboard dock for the same price if you hunt for a sale, and though larger at 11.6", it has an excellent keyboard, all aluminum construction and feels like a laptop when docked.

Wireless and Camera

The Acer Iconia W510 has dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 +HS and NFC but no GPU. It does not have built-in 3G/4G data; though you can use it with your smartphone's mobile hotspot feature or a dedicated mobile hotspot.

Design and Ergonomics

The casing is made of plastic, but it doesn't look cheap or cheesy thanks to Acer's clean design. There's little flex and you have to press fairly hard to make it creak at the bezel edges. We have no complaints, especially given the price and features.

Display

There are some that might pine for a full HD display, but 1366 x 768 resolution is fine for a 10.1" display, and the only time I wished for a higher resolution was when reading Zinio magazines in full page (print layout) mode where the 5 pt. text was readable but not as sharp as on a 1080p display.

Performance and Horsepower

This is an Intel Atom dual core tablet, and that means it can't compete with Intel Core i5 tablets like Acer's own Iconia Tab W700 Windows 8 tablet. Demanding apps will run more slowly and though casual games play fine, forget about 3D games, including World of Warcraft.

The Atom chipset is limited to eMMC flash storage, much like Android tablets. That means you get good storage speeds, but they won't rival SSD drives on Intel Core machines. The 32 or 64 gigs of storage is soldered onto the motherboard and like RAM, isn't upgradeable. There's another reason to opt for the 64 gig model if you can afford it.

Performance Acer Iconia Tab W510 + Specs Price

Storage Space and Recovery

The 32 gig model has only 11-14 gigs free and the 64 gig has 35 gigs available for your use. You can remove the recovery partition on the 64 gig model to bring that up to 46 gigs available. The 64 gig tablet has an 11 gig recovery partition, and you can use Acer's recovery manager to create a recovery USB stick (an 8 gig will suffice), in fact it will prompt you to do so after a day or two.

Battery Life

This is the section where we get excited and praise the Acer Iconia Tab W510 to high heaven! Battery life rivals mobile OS tablets like the iPad with Retina Display and the Google Nexus 10. It runs for about 8 to 9 hours on a charge (that means actual use time) and standby can go for days and days with just a quick press of the power button to put it to sleep. There's really no need to completely shut down the tablet unless you know you won't be using it for a week.

The Acer has a 3650 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer battery, and while that might not sound like much compared to the 9,000 mAh batteries in some Android tablets, it manages equal runtimes. That means the Intel Atom Clovertrail chipset is extremely good at power management. The tablet comes with a compact wall wart adapter in matching white.

Conclusion

All told, the Acer Iconia Tab W510 is a very capable Windows 8 tablet that can handle light x86 Windows app use and is more than capable to run Live Tile apps that are built-in or downloaded from the MS app store. For those of you who love the MS Surface RT form factor and weight, the 1.3 lb., 0.35" thick Acer Iconia W510 adds the ability to run Windows 7 apps, and that's a key feature at this price range and size. For power users who are looking for a tablet that verges on notebook functionality, the Acer Iconia Tab W510 certainly is more capable than the iPad or Android tablets. We love the display quality, extreme portability and ability to run all Windows apps, though we'd lay off the heavy lifters and stick to lightweight Windows apps. If you don't want a notebook replacement, but instead care more about speedy turnkey operation and a large selection of quality games, then the iPad or even an Android tablet might be the better choice. But for those of you who expect tablets to run the same apps as your computer, the Acer W510 is worth a serious look.

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Price: Starting at $499 for the 32 gig model, $599 for 64 gig model, keyboard bundle ~ $750.
Website: www.acer.com
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Specs:

  • Display: 10.1", 1366 x 768 LED backlit display with wide viewing angles. 5 point multi-touch, 300 nits brightness display. Intel SGX545 Graphics Media Accelerator integrated graphics. Micro HDMI port. Has accelerometer, ambient light sensor and gyroscope.
  • Battery: 3650 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer 2 cell battery, sealed inside.
  • Performance: 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 dual core CPU with 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM (2 gigs is max RAM). 32 or 64 gig eMMC flash drive.
  • Size: 10.2 x 6.6 x 0.35 inches. Weight: 1.3 pounds.
  • Camera: 2MP front camera and 8MP rear camera with LED flash.
  • Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo-mic combo audio jack.
  • Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Software: Windows 8 32 bit.
  • Expansion and Ports: 1 SDXC microSD card slot, 1 micro USB 2.0 port (dongle adapter to full size USB included), 3.5mm combo audio jack.

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