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Summary:

Can a Windows 8 tablet running on Intel’s Atom be a good middle ground between Windows RT and more expensive devices? Take a look at Acer’s W510: great battery life and full Windows 8.

acer-w510-video

I mentioned previously that there’s a “middle ground” option when considering a Windows 8 mobile device and the Acer W510 is a perfect example. This 64 GB tablet with a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen gives you the Windows RT experience but with the added benefit of full Windows 8 compatibility at $599. For another $150, an optional keyboard dock provides a laptop form factor while nearly doubling its battery life.

As I note on camera, with the Intel Atom processor, the W510 won’t offer high performance. But it does offer stellar battery life, a touchscreen experience and a full Windows 8 desktop so you can install whatever software you’d like. The only full-sized USB port is on the keyboard dock, not on the tablet. The slate offers a micro USB port and microSD card slot for memory expansion.

I’ll follow up after a few more days of use. So far, I have more likes than dislikes — that trackpad isn’t the best, for example — and just don’t see why I’d bother with a Windows RT tablet after using this, especially when a comparable Surface RT in 64 GB with Touch Cover is $699. The 64 GB Acer W510 with keyboard dock has a $750 suggested price and I’ve seen it as low as $710 online; just a few dollars more with greater battery life and full Windows 8.

  1. I’m testing an HP Envy X2 at the moment, and my biggest complaint is that it’s so much like a more powerful PC that it’s kind of frustrating when it doesn’t act like one.

    As a tablet, it’s just fine (if overpriced). But it can also run full desktop apps — but once you start doing that you have to reign in your expectations. Even using a web browser with just a few tabs open can be frustrating.

    But the battery life is amazing.

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  2. So you are bashing RT and trying to push Win 8 but you take them out of context excluding all other platforms to make it look like Win 8 Atom based tablets are a viable choice.And you do it repeatedly.
    You can’t do any serious work, you can’t install any serious software on that tiny NAND and you can’t play games on an Atom tablet. You can get a decent laptop at 350-400, you can get far better tablets so ..is this a sponsored post ? Is Intel paying for the beer?

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    1. You CAN play games on this Acer Atom tablet. I know because I have one. I played RipTide GP and it runs fine with no stuttering. That’s a 3D Jet Ski racing game BTW. Sure, this tablet may not be suitable for high end 3D games, but that’s fine.

      I also managed to install and run Visual Studio on it. So I can confirm that you CAN install serious software. Obviously not all serious software will be suitable, but a lot of productivity software runs fine, Office included.

      @Kevin (author)

      Makes sure you install ALL the Windows updates, and use the Acer Live Update to install the Acer firmware updates. This will ensure performance is optimal.

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    2. You CAN play PC games on an Atom:

      http://lgponthemove.blogspot.com/2011/08/tech-tips-gaming-on-atom-n570.html

      I do video encoding/transcoding work with my netbook, run Cool Edit Pro, have full Office installed, use Streets & Trips with GPS… Please define “serious work”?

      Surface PRO runs Civilization V in DX10 mode on max settings.

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    3. So a couple of things realjjj.

      You’re correct, I didn’t discuss any other platforms but that shouldn’t surprise, based on the title of the post. This was simply to share my thoughts on an Intel Atom Windows 8 device that’s comparable in price to a Windows RT device. To me it’s about value.

      For roughly the same money, I can get past a big Windows RT limitation: Installing Windows apps. And with the same or better battery life; one of the big draws of Windows RT on ARM.

      Other commenters have dismissed your thoughts playing games, so I won’t go there except to say this device isn’t meant for high-end PC games. Nor is RT for that matter.

      As far as the sponsored post question: no, this is not a sponsored post. I’ve been reviewing devices publicly for a decade and all opinions are my own as an end user and consumer. This review device was loaned to me by Acer — Intel isn’t involved at all — and will go back to them when the review period is over.

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  3. As you comparing to RT – it is important to note that with RT you get two things that you do not get with this unit:

    1) Office
    2) Connected Standby

    You can always add Office at an additional cost – but it is fully baked into the cost of the Surface.

    Connected Standby gives your machine the ability to download and sync email, etc. while in the low power mode.

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    1. Actually, you get Connected Standby with Atom-based Win8 tablets, just not the Core-based ones.

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  4. Was there a real question in there somewhere? If you are trying to play desktop games on a tablet, you are missing the point. Talk about not taking things in context. It can run tablet games really well, actually. I own one and love mine. Occasional Atom driver issues aside, I love it. As a tablet+, it is a good device. The 32GB is the same price as the iPad or note 10.1, and I am very glad I picked it over them!!

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  5. I hate the new site ui, why couldn’t you keep the old ui for laptop/desktop users and roll out the new ui for tablet/mobile users?

    Anyhow does the tablet get warm and how well does the cameras perform?

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  6. A 64GB RT 64 GB with Black Touch Cover sold for $699 as a package at MS Store, Acer W510 64GB with Keyboard Dock as a package seels for $709 at Pro-vantage.
    At $10 more the acer has the following advantages:
    9 Hrs extra battery life, Can do everything the RT can do, while the RT can not all what the W510 can do.
    The RT on the other habd come pre-loaded with MS Office (The $100 suite) which the W510 does not come with.
    So, If we add comparable office suite to W510, the price comes to: $810, problem is, we can not upgrade RT with extra 9Hrs battery pack to match (if we make un-informed assumption that we can upgrade the RT’s battery pack, it will not cost less than consevative $100 which brings its proce to almost $800) and still the W510 can run absolutely everything that the RT can run, while the RT can not run tons of what the W510 can run.
    I will dare to say the W510 has better value than the RT (I am not saying the RT is a bad device in its own right, But comparatively between both of them, I’ll take the W510)

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    1. Bingo! That was the point I was trying to make but you did it better. ;)

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  7. Will the new Atom as powerful as the Core 2 Duo from a couple years ago?

    Also, has anyone tried the HP Elitepad 900?

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  8. i totally want that

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  9. I have an Asus Vivo Tab RT and with the free dock (I purchased mine for $499 in November) and I get 14+ hours with the dock. I also have an HP Pavillion DM1 that I use for the more serious work I need to do as well as gaming, but I find that the RT tablet handles most of everything. I am looking forward to buying a Pro tablet but waiting for something that has an AMD apu. The Atom is not enough to sway me towards the W510, and having a Core i5 or i7 but stuck with just as pathetic video performance as an Atom based tablet with worse battery life and the added cost is the main reason I use both. the Both are portable enough to fit in one bag is their only saving grace. Once a great AMD tablet with dock comes out I will then be glad to carry only one computer in my bag.

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