Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
Most powerful tablet weve tested; nice IPS screen; sturdy build.
High-res screen problematic for desktop use; no trackpad on the keyboard; heavy for a tablet.
When it comes to tablets, we’d wager that most Maximum PC readers lean toward the x86 variety—in theory, at least. Right? It’s the more capable, more flexible option—the natural fit for computer nerds. In fact, with specs that rival an Ultrabook ’s, an x86 tablet promises to serve as the ultimate production/consumption device, leveraging Windows 8 ’s dual persona to optimum effect. We haven’t had face-time with Microsoft’s x86-based Surface Pro standard-bearer—ironically, the company seems uninterested in getting its product in front of these power users—but we do have the Acer W700 , an extreme tablet in its own right and a worthy representative of what this new tablet category has to offer.
With its included cradle and Bluetooth keyboard, the W700-6465 tablet can almost pass as a laptop—but not quite.
Acer sent us its W700-6465 , a high-end model that comes with a cradle, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a faux-leather carrying case. The full assortment weighs a whopping six pounds, 6.25 ounces. You could minimize the load and carry just the tablet with its protective case and the keyboard, but that’s still weightier than many Ultrabooks at nearly four pounds. The 11.6-inch tablet all on its lonesome weighs a skosh north of two pounds. No matter how you slice it, it’s not a dainty package.
But, obviously, the flipside of this relative heft is the W700’s relative performance muscle. This model features a 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U processor, which can Turbo up to 2.6GHz; a 128GB SSD; 4GB of RAM; and the full version of Windows 8. You can literally run any program on this tablet that you can on a laptop—rightly so, since this device costs $1,000. And while the W700 lagged behind our Intel reference Ultrabook in all the benchmarks, save battery life, it still performed in the neighborhood of every Ultrabook we’ve tested in the last six months.
We’re much more put off by the impracticality of this tablet for desktop chores. The 11.6-inch IPS screen sports nice color, sufficient brightness, and wide viewing angles, but its 1920x1080 resolution makes everything on the desktop really small. Small enough that selecting items via touch will having you spewing more rage than Gordon Mah Ung. Why not use the Bluetooth keyboard’s integrated trackpad? It doesn’t bloody have one! (A capacitive stylus pen, for more precise action, can be purchased as an accessory for an additional $20.) We were also annoyed that the protective cover we received didn’t house the keyboard—you’d have to tote that separately—but Acer tells us that new covers do.
In tablet mode, the W700 works as expected. Navigating through the Modern UI is smooth and responsive, and content looks nice on the HD IPS screen. The .5-inch, 2.1 pound aluminum body feels good in the hands, albeit slightly heavy, and the device gets warm during use, but never uncomfortably so. We were pleasantly surprised by the W700’s battery life. Five hours of HD movie playback before conking out might fall short of an ARM tablet’s battery life, but it’s a good deal longer-lasting than a similarly spec’d Ultrabook.
In the final tally, though, we’re not convinced that this is the ultimate dual-purpose device. Instead it seems like it’s trying to be too much, and falling short in both of its purposes in the process.
|CPU ||1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U|
|RAM||4GB DDR3/1333 dual-channel|
|Display ||11.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS LCD|
|Storage||Toshiba 128GB SSD |
|Connectivity ||On tablet: USB 3.0, Micro-HDMI, headphone/mic, power. On cradle: 3x USB 3.0, power|
|Lap / Carry||2 lbs, 1.1 oz / 6 lbs, 6.25 oz (w/cradle); 3 lbs, 15.6 oz (w/o)|
|Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)||840||1,080 (-22.2%)|
|Photoshop CS3 (sec)||100||116.3 (-14%)|
|ProShow Producer (sec) ||1,122||1,432 (-21.6%)|
|MainConcept (sec) ||1,901||2,385 (20.3%)|
|Quake III (fps)||358.2||281.7 (-21.4%)|
|Quake 4 (fps)||76.1||65.5 (-13.9%)|
|Battery Life (min)||221||302|
Our zero-point ultraportable is an Intel reference Ultrabook with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U, 4GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, integrated graphics, a 240GB SSD, and Windows 8 64-bit.