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Acer Iconia W700
What's Hot: Great value for the money, very good full HD display, fast Core i5 and lots of bundled accessories including a dock.
What's Not: No digital pen option.
Reviewed April 16, 2013 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
You knew the MS Surface Pro wasn't the only Windows 8 tablet with a Core i5 in town, right? The Acer Iconia W700 is an 11.6" Windows 8 64 bit tablet with an 11.6" full HD IPS display and the same Intel Core i5 1.7GHz CPU, 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD as Surface Pro. It lists for $999, and for that price you get a dock that adds 3 USB ports, a very usable Bluetooth keyboard and a homely but functional case. And there's an HDMI to VGA adapter in the box too.
The Acer Iconia W700 has a USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack plus good stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater 4.0 audio. It weighs 2. 1 pounds and is 0.47" thick. Though Windows 8 touch screen convertibles and tablets with Intel Core CPUs haven't had the best battery life, the Acer manages to impress us with 6.5 to 7 hours of battery life with brightness at 50% and WiFi on. Since the IPS 1920 x 1080 display has 350 nits brightness, 50% is a perfectly reasonable and bright setting for indoor use. If you're gaming, expect shorter runtimes, but if you mainly use it for productivity (MS Office, web, social networking, email, music playback and some streaming video) it will currently outlast other Core i5 Windows tablets on the market.
Design and Ergonomics
Your call: is this a clean, minimalist design or an uninspired slab of aluminum. To my eye, the casing looks high quality enough, but it also resembles the design lab basic casing before a product goes through the style phase. The W700's casing is a single piece of aluminum and it feels and looks like a well made piece of hardware. There's a single USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio and surprisingly good stereo speakers. The tablet has volume controls, a display rotation lock slider, power button and a physical (moving) home button below the display. The back is brushed aluminum that's very similar to the 11.6" Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook, and it has no flex. The display bezel is relatively narrow and the included brown faux leather case acts as a stand. Though the bundled dock is truly bizarre and a little ugly, we love the added functionality.
Performance and Horsepower
We received the Core 1.7GHz i5-3317U (it's now available with the 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U) with Intel HD 4000 graphics, and it's available with your choice of a 64 or 128 gig SSD drive. There's a Core i3 model available for a little less, but we don't recommend it since the performance is significantly less than the Core i5 and the savings isn't that great. There is no Core i7 model. The tablet runs relatively quiet and cool compared to Ultrabooks and laptops. You'll hear an ever so quiet whisper of air most of the time and the fan only kicks up when stressing the system with tasks like demanding gaming and HD video export. The CPU does tend to throttle conservatively to keep temperatures down, but most users won't notice this unless they're processing HD video. Still, it's not completely silent like an iPad, nor is it both silent and chilly like Intel Atom fanless Windows 8 tablets such as the HP Envy x2. That said, the W700 doesn't get toastier than the iPad 3 or Retina iPad and is generally cooler than the Microsoft Surface Pro.
PCMark 7: 4357 (Intel Core i5-3317U)
Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9):
Desktop Graphics: 5.4
Gaming Graphics: 6.3
Primary Hard Disk: 8.1
Benchmark Comparison Table, Windows 8 ULV Notebooks and Tablets:
Full Windows 8 64: it Runs Everything Made for a PC
This is a full Windows 8 machine with Ultrabook internals, so you can run Adobe Photoshop, iTunes, Windows Media Player, software development tools and any other Windows 7 .exe app you desire. It's very quick and responsive, unlike Intel Atom tablets that are fine in the Windows 8 Live Tile environment but can be sluggish in desktop mode. It's as smart and spritely as any Ultrabook on the market.