The Acer Aspire Z3 is an odd device. On the surface it looks like a desktop computer, but it’s actually far more interesting.
Tucked inside the svelte body is a battery that Acer says should last for five hours. So, in fact, it’s more a gigantic tablet with a 17.3in FHD screen.
Acer is positioning the Z3-700 as an all-in-one, but a model that isn’t confined to a desk. You could move it downstairs to show off some pictures, or hand it over to the kids to watch a film without having to unplug it or mess about with wires.
Another suggested scenario is to use it in a cab on the way to work – a little ridiculous, maybe?.
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On the rear of the Z3-700 are two kickstands to keep the PC upright. While they stay in position well, they're a little flimsy.
Note that both will need to be in position for the Z3-700 to stand upright. With only one in place, the unit will just fall over – as I found out first hand.
Acer’s claim of five-hours' battery life seems impressive, especially when you consider that this device isn’t exactly thick at 15.6mm. However, that battery life is most likely achieved through the use of less power-hungry internals – either an Intel Pentium or Celeron processor, depending on where you buy it from.
Keeping that processor company is up to 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD graphics and a bevy of internal storage options ranging from a 32GB SSD to a 500GB HDD.
Even though the specs may not jump off the page, I found the Aspire Z3-700 to be a capable machine. It loaded web pages quickly and didn’t judder when scrolling through image-heavy sites.
The 17.3in, 1080p IPS panel offers detailed, sharp and colourful images. Viewing angles are pretty impressive, too – although I’ll have to spend much longer with it to come to a full conclusion.
In terms of connectivity, there's a couple of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, headphone jack, volume rocker and microSD card slot on one side, while on the other sits a holder for a stylus. Not that one is included, mind you.
Acer says it has worked directly with Microsoft to ensure that the Aspire Z3-700 is optimised for Windows 10. Take the dual-digital microphones, for example. These mics use digital signal processing to cancel out background noise and improve speech accuracy. This means that using Cortana in noisy environments won't be a problem.
I remain unconvinced by all of Acer's usage scenarios for the Aspire Z3-700, but I'm charmed by it nonetheless.
The idea of setting down a sizeable screen without having to worry about plugging it in is intriguing, and with prices starting from €599 (about £450) when it ships later in year, this capability comes at an attractive price too.