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Acer Iconia W700 review

High-end 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet

Acer Iconia W700 review
The Acer Iconia W700 has been called the Iconia W7 in some announcements

The Acer Iconia W700 is certainly a step forward for full-fat Windows tablets, and one of the few we've seen that can genuinely offer the experience of a full laptop and a tablet as well.

Devices like the Sony Vaio Duo 11 or Toshiba Satellite U920T have erred too much towards the laptop form factor, while the current crop of Windows RT tablets suffer from usability issues, a limited ecosystem and are far too expensive.

The Acer W700 has found a useful niche, and we can genuinely imagine having it docked into a desktop type set up at work, before watching a movie and using the increasing amount of Windows 8 apps on the way home.

We liked

The dock setup works, as long as you don't want to take it with you, and the range of connectivity means it's easy to hook the tablet up to an HD screen. The pin-sharp screen is a joy to use when in the new Windows 8 UI mode, and it's just as good for media consumption as work.

The price is also exceptional, when you consider that the Samsung Ativ Tab, which runs Windows RT, comes in at £549/US$649.99 (around AU$836). For roughly the same price here you get full fat Windows, Intel Core power, the dock, a high quality leather case and a mobile keyboard.

We disliked

The docking system doesn't have the same quality feel as the rest of the Acer Iconia W700, and while it does make it lightweight for when you do need to travel, it ruins the premium experience. We also feel that very little thought as been put into the dock's design, and the bizarre design is a nightmare to carry.

Of course, for £590/US$799.99 you won't get high-end Ultrabook power, especially when Acer has been so generous with extras, build quality and that gorgeous 1080p screen. However, we have serious reservations about whether there's enough grunt here to future-proof the Acer W700 for all kinds of PC use, from graphics-heavy applications to multitasking large numbers of programs.

Finally, while we loved the usability of the Acer Iconia W700, we feel there's little flexibility in its use. It works if you're regularly in one place, such as your home or office, where the dock can be set up and left. Taking the whole package of dock, stand, case and charger will be a drag, so think about how you'd use it before buying it.

Final verdict

The Acer Iconia W700 comes the closest of all the tablets we've seen to being able to replicate the experience of a laptop, in a true tablet form.

While you certainly get a lot for your money here, we worry that the poor performance limits the life of this hybrid PC, and would push those looking for a rich Windows 8 experience to look at the Intel Core i5 version.