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 tw0 ACER TravelMate 4200 Series Laptop 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.