Performance and Horsepower
This is one of the first Intel Y series CPUs we've tested in a product. This is a late third generation Ivy Bridge CPU meant to bridge the gap with Haswell in terms of power consumption. It's intended particularly for tablets and it runs at 13W max vs. 17 watts for ULV Ultrabook CPUs like that used in the Acer W700, Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch and Acer Aspire S7. It's designed to putter along at an even more power frugal 7W under light loads. As you might expect, performance is thus slightly lower, and our model scored 3954 on PCMark 7 vs. 4357 on our 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U Iconia W700. Still, it's responsive enough and is nearly 4 times faster than today's Intel Atom Windows 8 tablets. That means you won't suffer painful lag when running Windows Updates or multitasking. It's perfectly capable of handling standard productivity tasks, playing HD video and software development if you don't mind waiting a bit longer for compiles. It's not a great gaming machine if 3D games are your thing, but it's fine for casual games, Windows Store games and older 3D titles. Like nearly all Windows tablets on the market, it has Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. We noticed our Iconia W700 sometimes was overzealous with thermal throttling and that is less of a problem with the lower power and cooler Y series CPU in the P3.
The tablet has 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 120 gig mSATA SSD (ours was made by Intel). The SSD showed good read speeds and acceptable but not stellar write speeds. After installing Windows updates, our machine had 75 gigs of available space.
PCMark 7: 3954
wPrime: 32.05 seconds.
Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9)
Desktop Graphics: 4.7
Gaming Graphics: 6.1
Primary Hard Disk: 8.1
Benchmark Comparison Table, Windows 8 ULV Notebooks and Tablets:
CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results:
Acer understands the importance of a good display on their high line products, and though the Aspire P3 is a step down from the 1920 x 1080 Iconia W700, it nonetheless has a very sharp and bright IPS display that's easy on the eyes. Honestly, we don't lament the lack of a full HD display on an 11.6" tablet since desktop icons and text tend to be tiny unless you apply scaling, which can degrade text quality (Windows 8.1 will improve this somewhat). The 1366 x 768 display has wide viewing angles and it measured 422 nits of brightness, which is well ahead of the pack. Contrast is likewise high at 900:1 and black levels are decent. Though graphics professionals might wish for better, the Aspire P3 achieves a respectable 70% of sRGB, and an OK 54% of Adobe RGB. That translates into pleasing looking photos, colorful movies and text that's sharp enough to suit most eyes.
Sorry, there's no active digitizer option or digital pen, so this isn't the tablet for artists, avid note takers or vertical workers who require precise pen input or pressure sensitivity. You can use a capacitive stylus, but you won't get palm rejection or a high degree of accuracy.
The Aspire P3 has Bluetooth 4.0 (you knew it has Bluetooth since it ships with a Bluetooth keyboard) and dual band Atheros 802.11b/g/n WiFi. Wireless worked reliably in our tests and range was equivalent to notebooks: we had to move beyond 30 feet from our 802.11n 5GHz router to see any speed reductions.
Acer says to expect 5 hours of battery life, and that's exactly what we got with brightness at a very adequate 50% and both WiFi and Bluetooth on. In our tests we used the tablet in a mix of MS Office, web browsing, email and streaming an HD episode of Downton Abbey via Amazon Prime. That's not bad, though the Iconia W700 averaged 6 hours in the same tests. The compact white charger is the same one included with the Acer Aspire S7 and Acer Iconia W700.
We like the Acer Aspire P3: it's made with quality materials, the Bluetooth keyboard case is attractive and functional and the tablet has a lovely display. But it's hard to recommend over Acer's own Iconia W700 with a faster CPU, somewhat longer battery life and a full HD display for nearly the same price. The W700 is sometimes bundled with a dock and normal portable Bluetooth keyboard and that's a versatile option for those who plan to use it on the desk often. That said, the Aspire P3's keyboard dock's keyboard is very good as keyboard cases go, and you get a protective case in the deal. And let's face it; if you're looking for an 11.6" Windows 8 tablet with Intel Core CPUs, you're looking at a fairly small playing field. The Acer Aspire P3 is a bit less expensive than the MS Surface Pro and Samsung ATIV 700T (both of which come with digital pens), and wildly less expensive than the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix.
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