How many devices do we really need? A tablet, a laptop, a phone and a desktop PC? Gadgets like the Acer Aspire P3 want to reduce the amount of tech clutter in our lives. It’s a 11.6-inch Ultrabook-style laptop running Windows 8, and its screen part pops out to become a tablet.
The best bit is that the Acer Aspire P3 starts at £599 – which sounds cheap for an Ultrabook.
The hybrid tablet-laptop is one of the hottest tech trends of the moment, and the Acer Aspire P3 weds this style of device to 2011’s favourite technology buzzword – the Ultrabook. Acer claims that this device offers the best bits of a tablet and Ultrabook, but costs a good deal less than most of the Ultrabooks of old.
It’s a shade under 20mm thick and 1.39kg total, giving it Ultrabook-like dimensions. However, a key component of the success of any convertible is how its keyboard docks. And the Acer Aspire P3 doesn’t quite make an entirely convincing laptop replacement.
Its keyboard cover is just that – it doesn’t have a laptop-like hinge, but a less secure system that uses a faux-leather-topped semi-rigid fabric flap, while the tablet part slots into a groove in the keyboard base. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard case, essentially.
Acer’s referring to it as an Ultrabook shows quite how far the term has become confused since 2011. Its bodywork is very similar to the chunky Acer Iconia W700, reducing some of the excitement potential of something that claims to be brand new – as the first convertible Ultrabook.
Its keyboard base uses a traditional chiclet key style, and sacrifices a numerical pad in order to offer full-size keys for comfy typing. The key action is roughly comparable to one of Acer’s slimmest laptops – shallow but reasonably crisp.
However, as this is a “proper” PC, internal storage is decent. The Acer Aspire P3 has either a 60GB or 120GB hard drive, and there’s either 2GB or 4GB of RAM on-board - low-end specs for a laptop, however.
It uses Intel Core i3 and i5 processors, which are central to the device’s claim to the Ultrabook term. If you don’t use Intel Core i3/i5/i7 chips, you can’t call yourself an Ultrabook. The 5,280mAh battery will last for seven hours according to Acer.
However, the display is otherwise good with respectable colour reproduction and the usual strong viewing angles you get with an IPS panel.
Although it may technically be able to call itself an Ultrabook, calling the Acer Aspire P3 such a thing feels like a misrepresentation of sorts. It’s best thought-of as a convertible Windows 8 tablet. Ladling superlatives upon it may not do it any favours in the long run for what is essentially just a more powerful than average Windows tablet.