Considering we’re dealing with the exact-same innards as the HP Envy x2, it’s hardly surprising that the Acer Iconia W510 performs almost identically: well enough for tablet apps, HD video and light workloads, but not so hot for intensive multi-tasking, demanding programs and 3D gaming.
The inevitable Intel ‘Clover Trail’ 1.8GHz dual core Atom Z2760 takes care of CPU/GPU duties. It’s backed by 2GB of RAM, which is the maximum the platform supports. On our review sample there’s 64GB for storage, of which a little over 33GB remains free after Windows 8 and essentials like Office are installed. This might not seem a lot but do keep in mind that – unlike the iPad 4 or Google’s Nexus tablets - you can store media on a microSD card of up to another 64GB.
A 32GB version of the W510 is also available, but we do wonder how many apps that configuration will let you install as you’ll likely only get around 14GB free on a bare install without extras. Considering the 64GB edition will only set you back around £50 more, we would consider that money well spent unless you don’t plan on installing many apps/games.
The single weakest aspect of the new Atom architecture is still its graphics. Most 3D games won’t even run, regardless of the sacrifices in detail and resolution you’re willing to make. Even casual gamers should beware, since titles as old and undemanding as TrackMania Nations Forever refused to proceed past the menus.
The W510’s solid state storage, while not up to the performance you’d get from a laptop/desktop SSD, still means these latest Atom convertibles can match a Core i3 with traditional hard drive in some scenarios, but overall this is still Atom we’re dealing with. As we said in the Envy x2 review, as a tablet this convertible will perform admirably, but as a laptop-replacement you have to be prepared to put up with its limitations.
While the new Atom architecture might not make a splash when it comes to performance, you do get passive cooling and simply superb battery life. Dual 2-cell 3540mAh batteries let this Windows 8 hybrid live up to Acer’s claims of 18 hours in our tests, with the tablet managing just under 9 hours.
Battery (40 percent screen brightness, mixed productivity and web-browsing)
8 hours 56 minutes (tablet only)
18 hours 01 minutes (tablet plus dock)
Basically, the Acer Iconia W510 will last you all day on a charge without any problems. Its 18hr run time is doubly impressive when you consider that the larger, heavier HP Envy x2 only manages 14 hours…
The value situation for the Acer Iconia W510 is quite simple: at around £490 for the 32GB edition (£530 for the 64GB), it’s the cheapest proper Windows 8 convertible tablet/laptop available.
Of course, one could also argue it’s the least well-featured. It doesn’t offer a pressure-sensitive Wacom stylus like the Asus Vivo Tab and Samsung Ativ Smart PC, nor even the option of an alternative pen like the HP Envy x2. It also doesn’t quite match up to the connectivity of its bigger 11.6-inch brethren.
However, it’s smaller, lighter and more flexible, and offers longer battery life than any but the Asus Vivo Tab which it nearly matches. In fact we would be lauding this as our favourite little convertible, were it not for the issues with its keyboard and touchpad. Even so, considering rivals start at £700, a £170 saving makes the 64GB Acer Iconia W510 well worth considering.
The 10-inch Acer Iconia W510 comes very close to being our favourite Windows 8 convertible tablet/laptop with Atom inside. It’s smaller and lighter than 11.6-inch rivals, but doesn’t compromise on resolution, connectivity or battery life to get there. It also sports a unique (at least for a detachable convertible) rotating hinge that genuinely expands it usability, while its screen and speakers more than hold their own.
Unfortunately, the keyboard won’t be for everyone due to its poor layout, and the touchpad is rather stiff. If you can live with these flaws and don’t mind the absence of a Wacom stylus, this hybrid comes recommended.