Windows 8 is designed at least as much for tablets as for notebook or desktop computers. So it’s no surprise that PC makers are delivering Windows 8 computers in a variety of form factors. We’ve seen laptops with touchscreens, slate computers, and convertible tablets.
The Acer Iconia W700 is something different. It’s a tablet with a laptop-class processor and a docking station that lets you use the system like a desktop.
The Iconia W700 is available for about $800 and up, and the first reviews are starting to show up.
Reviewers seem to have been sent a $1000 model with a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and an 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display.
You can read some of the first reviews from these sites:
The tablet itself weighs about 2 pounds and appears to get roughly all-day battery life of around 7 hours or so. That gives it better battery life than most laptops, but it falls a bit short of what you’d expect from an iPad or high-end Android tablet. Still, it’s pretty impressive for a tablet with a laptop chip and laptop-class performance.
Acer’s included dock and wireless mouse and keyboard mean that you can use the system as your primary computer. Just place it on a desk and work as if you were using a full-fledged laptop or desktop. You can even plug in an external display if you want a larger monitor.
But the touchscreen and battery means you can also pick up the tablet and use it on the go. When using Windows 8-style apps, the 11.6 inch full HD screen reportedly looks great. But as I noted the first time I got to spend a few moments with the W700 and Acer’s new touchscreen laptops, things are a little trickier if you’re using traditional desktop-style apps.
Those apps (and the desktop view in general) don’t scale well to small, high-resolution displays. Text and graphics look sharp… and tiny. This makes hitting them with your fingertip difficult, and can make reading text tough unless you plug in an external display.
Some reviewers were also unconvinced that the Acer Iconia W700 makes a good laptop replacement — because while the dock works well on a desk, there’s no way to use it while on your lap. Acer doesn’t offer an Asus Transformer-style keyboard dock for this tablet at all, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see third party companies step up and fill that gap if Iconia W700 sales take off.