Acer Iconia W700 RT
The new Iconia is promising to be the best Windows 8 tablet yet. How close does it come close to challenging the iPad? Did it deliver? Let’s find out.
By Chris Messenger | Published 20/12/2012
Multipurpose with dock
Comes with a unique detachable dock
Long battery life
Powerful tablet with fast performance
The camera lacks flash
No GPS features
Metro apps only. No legacy support
Small amount of apps in marketplace
The new Iconia is promising to be the best Windows 8 tablet yet. Acer seem to have put an awful lot into this one and the results certainly look promising. With our hands shaking in nervous anticipation and a glint of insanity in our eyes, we raised our star reviewer out onto the roof and struck him with lightning repeatedly until he agreed to review the Iconia W700 for us...
With an 11.6 Inch full HD screen, 64 GB of storage space and a lightweight yet durable aluminium casing, the Iconia is a machine designed to impress. The Bluetooth keyboard (included in the price) is one of the best of its kind on the market, as are the Intel processors (Core i3 or i5). The gorilla glass screen and the seamless metal bodywork only add to the classy feel of this tablet. Every part of this model is top of the range. Outstanding.
At £710 (Core i5), or even at £600 (Core i3), this is one expensive gizmo. When you consider that you can get an iPad 4 for less than £600, or an iPad 3 (there isn’t much of a difference between them) for less than £400, you can’t help but re-assess your options.
Traditionally, Windows-ready software was compatible with everything and dirt cheap, which is the main reason it was so successful. Now, however, the Windows 8 tablets are just getting pricier and pricier all whilst using a new (and largely untested) operating system. To be frank, I have my doubts.
Although the design isn’t especially flashy, the Iconia W700 is a wonderfully put together tablet. This computer is a light metallic grey and somehow manages to look both futuristic and classic at the same time. It really feels as cool as it looks.
Annoyingly, the lack of a Micro SD slot means that although you get 64GB of memory, that really is all you get. On another low note, the charge dock is large and ungainly, however, I must say that it is included in the price and does, therefore, represent good value if not great design.
The screen, on the other hand, is a really great design. You can still make everything out from almost any angle and the colours are rich and vibrant.
We also get 3 USB (3.0) ports, (which is more than most tablets) and the nine-hour battery life is pretty good, but maybe not as good as it could be.
The Bluetooth keyboard works really well and is not only nice to look at, it is also comfortable and efficient to use. It isn’t very portable however and a smaller keyboard (or even integrated keyboard dock) would probably have been a better option (especially for commuters who might be interested in buying this tablet).
This is a computer that combines the best features of a laptop and a tablet. It is highly connective, attractive to look at and meticulously designed. So although it isn’t perfect, it is probably the best Windows 8 tablet we’ve seen so far.
However, there is a downside; the lack of SD card support hampers the storage space somewhat, which gives this tablet limited memory, (not helping smooth over one of the major complaints about tablets). Then there’s the keyboard and dock, both of which are larger than they need to be (which is one of the common complaints about laptops when compared with tablets). So although this tablet is a successful ‘hybrid’ (of sorts) it also suffers from a few inherited flaws from both sides.
Then there’s the issue of price. Although the Iconia is generally very well made, it is not cheap. This is a very pricey gadget and, frankly, for this sort of money, I’d expect no issues at all. As I’ve said many times, if you want to charge as much as the best, you need to offer a service that’s at least as good.
So, it could be better, but this is still a top-notch machine. Acer should be commended for their level of attention to detail here, as they have constructed a marvellous tablet. In addition, I have heard that there will be an SSD-friendly upgrade released sometime next year, which should boost the memory (and my opinion) of this tablet even higher.
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