Windows 8 has seen a host of fresh designs for tablets and laptops, with many manufacturers trying their hardest to build a device that's capable of doing both jobs. That has led to some innovative thinking, such as the screen-spinning Dell XPS 12 and the Microsoft Surface and its detachable keyboard. However, the Acer Iconia W700 has a slightly simpler take on the hybrid design.
The Iconia W700 differs from other hybrid tablets by not having a keyboard that attaches to the body of the tablet to create a laptop-style device. Instead it looks like any normal tablet, albeit bulkier and 11.6 inches across. It docks into a stand that props it up at a usable angle and acts as a charging stand and USB hub.
The idea is that you keep the dock and keyboard at work or in your home, and use it like a full PC. The added HDMI means you can connect it to an external monitor so you'd have no idea you were using a tablet at all. When you leave, just pull the tablet out from the dock, for games, apps and browsing on the move.
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We actually prefer this set up to the jack-of-all-trades and master of none form factors of some other Windows 8 hybrids, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 and Toshiba Satellite U920T, which are too large to be used as tablets yet suffer from reduced usability in 'laptop-mode.'
However, don't think you'll get the same svelte stylings as those of the Apple iPad. When you pack a laptop-grade processor into a tablet, you have the same thermal headaches as laptop makers have, but the added issue of how to dissipate it.
The Acer Iconia W700 measures 11.9 x 295 x 191mm (0.5 x 11.6 x 7.5 inches) and weighs 925g (33oz), making it one slab of slate.
The only problem with the Acer's way of working is that when you do need to take the dock on the move with you, it's one of the most awkward pieces of equipment to transport.
The square dock is made from flimsy white plastic and is propped up by a white plastic stand, which is a single piece of angled plastic that slots in the back.
It seems as if it's designed to take up the maximum room in your bag, and due to the plastic, feels that it could emerge in two pieces after you've shoved something on top of it. Add the power supply and any extra peripherals and your bag will be filled to the brim.
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The plastic flimsiness of the dock is completely at odds with the tablet itself, which is adorned in aluminium, which along with Microsoft Surface, is easily one of the best-built tablets on the market.
Acer has seriously upped its game in terms of build quality, and along with the Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook, is producing some seriously covetable kit.
Priced at around £590/US$799.99 (64GB, Core i3 version, not available in Australia) or £740/US$999.99/AU$1,299 (128GB, Core i5 version) the Acer Iconia W700 does represent decent value, when you consider that you're getting dual functionality, top specs and Ultrabook power. However, how does it fare in use? Read our review to find out.