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Acer Iconia Tab W510

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What's hot: Affordable and highly portable tablet that runs x86 Windows 7 apps. Lovely display, excellent battery life. Lots of value for tablet's price (keyboard dock makes it somewhat pricey).

What's not: Modern UI runs fine, but the Windows 7 desktop mode and apps lag. Optional keyboard is cramped.


Reviewed January 5, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Windows 8 tablets that compete with the iPad and Android 10" tablets: where have you been? We had Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet and the not widely popular Asus Transformer RT and that was it for Windows RT and Windows 8's launch on October 26, 2012. We've seen touch screen Ultrabooks, full size laptops and convertibles that morph from tablet to Ultrabook like the Sony Vaio Duo 11, Dell XPS 12, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 and the somewhat larger Lenovo IdeaPad yoga 13, but 1.5 lbs. or under 10" to 11.6" pure slate tablets, not so much. Especially ones that play in the iPad and top tier Android tablets' starting price range of $499. After a delay for some bug fixes and driver tweaks, Intel Atom-based small tablets with lower price tags are finally on the market. Some, like the 11.6" Samung ATIV 500T are a bit pricey at $649 and up and also a bit larger than mobile OS tablets.

Acer Iconia Tab W510

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. It's more netbook than laptop. Still, you can run those precious apps like Adobe Photoshop, Windows Media Player and more as long as you don't mind some lag in those apps. You can also install drivers for USB peripherals like 3G/4G USB modems, printers and anything else you can think of. That's versatile!

The W510 starts at $499 for the 32 gig model, though we heartily suggest you get the $599 64 gig model because the 32 gig version has only 11 to 14 gigs of available space. That's not much if you plan to install Windows 7 apps. You can load multimedia files on a microSD card since the tablet has a microSD card slot. Though Acer doesn't list SDXC compatibility, our 64 gig SanDisk microSD card worked just fine.

The tablet also has a micro USB 2.0 port with dongle that adapts it to a full size USB port, a micro HDMI port and a combo 3.5mm audio jack.

Optional Keyboard Dock with Battery

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.

Acer Iconia Tab W510

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.

Acer Iconia Tab W510

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. We're thrilled to see dual band WiFi here when some competing Lenovo products are still shipping with single band 2.4GHz WiFi. NFC for file transfer is a nice touch even if there's not much else to use it for. There's a front 2MP video chat camera centered above the display that works well with Skype and a rear 8MP camera with LED flash that takes decent photos and 1080p video using Acer's Crystal Eye app and terrible photos with the included Microsoft camera app. Shutter lag is abysmal at 3-5 seconds in the otherwise capable Crystal Eye app.


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Acer Iconia Tab W510 Video Review

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. The tablet's back is silver and the front face is white, and it has straight sides that are easy to hold onto. The non-gloss finish is a godsend because it doesn't show fingerprints and unlike the Samsung ATIV 500T, doesn't slickly slip out of hand.

The power button is on the upper right corner (when held in landscape mode) and the volume buttons are beside it. Micro USB and micro HDMI ports are located on the sides and the charging connector is at the bottom edge. The charging connector doubles as the keyboard dock connector and there are two locator holes in the tablet to anchor the dock. The keyboard attachment is decently secure, though we'd never recommend picking up a transformer style product by just one half.


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. The Acer's Gorilla Glass-clad display has wonderful viewing angles, very good contrast, pleasing color saturation and more than adequate sharpness for viewing videos and reading web pages. Though Acer doesn't specify whether it's IPS, it definitely looks like an IPS panel. The display is bright enough for indoor use, but it's not a super high brightness display as are some Asus tablets like the more expensive Asus VivoTab TF810C. But at 300 nits, it's average for the tablet category and even at higher brightness settings battery life doesn't take a big hit. The display is a strong selling point for this tablet vs. Windows competitors and I doubt it will disappoint most folks.

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 32nm 1.8GHz dual core, four thread Clovertrail (1.5GHz with 1.8GHz burst) uses PowerVR SGX545 integrated graphics licensed from Imagination Technologies, and it ranks a bit under the SGX graphics used in the fourth generation iPad with Retina Display. It works well under the Windows 8 Live Tile UI, but we noticed frame drops scrolling through Control Panels under the desktop UI. There's no reason that graphics driver updates couldn't fix this, but we don't promise we'll get these fixes.

The Clovertrail works with DDR2 RAM and is a 32 bit CPU, so that means 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM is the best you'll get here and it's not upgradeable. Again, it's fine for the Modern UI with Live Tiles, but it won't make for fast response times under desktop mode or multi-tasking with several apps running under desktop mode. That's a little frustrating since the appeal of Atom tablets over ARM9 compatible Tegra 3 Windows RT tablets is their ability to run Windows 7 apps in desktop mode. As long as you keep expectations in check, and wish for Windows 7 app compatibility to run just one demanding app at a time (say Photoshop) and to install your favorite RSS reader, FTP client and cloud storage apps like Dropbox, you'll be fine.

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.

PCMark07: 1258

Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9):

Processor: 3.4
RAM: 4.6
Desktop Graphics: 3.6
Gaming Graphics: 3.3
Primary Hard Disk: 5.8

PC Mark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table, Windows 8 Intel Atom (unless otherwise noted) Tablets:

Acer Iconia W510 1258
Asus VivoTab TF810C 1256
HP Envy x2 1424
Samsung ATIV 500T 1273
Samsung ATIV 700T (Core i5) 4034
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 1425
Asus VivoBook X202 (Core i3) 2218
MS Surface Pro 4657
Sony Vaio Duo 11 (Core i5) 4772

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. Once you've made the recovery flash drive, it will offer to reclaim the space and increase your C drive's space by 11 gigs. The 32 gig model lacks a recovery drive but comes with recovery DVDs. In either case if you need to do a restore from USB, you'll need to enter the BIOS (press F2 on an external USB keyboard while booting to enter the BIOS) and set the USB HDD or DVD drive as the first boot option. Likewise, you'll need a USB hub so you can use your USB media and a USB keyboard to make selections during the recovery process. If you have a recovery partition and don't remove it, recovery is simpler (no need for a hub and external keyboard).

USB Port

Since this is Windows 8, you can install drivers for your USB peripherals and they'll work. That makes for a very capable tablet that can make use of 3G/4G LTE USB modems, weird old printers than Windows RT doesn't recognize, scanners and the usual keyboards, mice, game controllers, hard drives and flash drives. If you can use the USB peripheral with a Windows 8 (and generally speaking, Windows 7) laptop or desktop, you can use it here. Sweet! You will have to use the included micro USB to USB dongle adapter to plug in your USB peripherals, but we can live with that. If you bought the bundle that includes the keyboard dock, you can use the full size USB 2.0 port on the dock. The Intel Atom chipset supports USB 2.0 but not 3.0, and that means you'll only get USB 2.0 speeds with USB 3.0 hard drives and flash drives.

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.


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.

Price: Starting at $499 for the 32 gig model, $599 for 64 gig model, keyboard bundle ~ $750.



Acer Iconia Tab W510


Acer Iconia Tab W510


Acer Iconia Tab W510


Acer Iconia Tab W510


Acer Iconia Tab W510

Directly above: the Acer Iconia W510 and Acer Iconia W700.


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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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