Ever since the first tablets hit the scene several years ago, I have fantasized of ditching my laptop and traveling with one, but alas it has remained just a dream. However, with Intel’s introduction of its new Atom processors that dream may have just become a reality.
I’ve only had the Acer Iconia W510 for a week, so I’m not going to make any bold predictions yet. However, I do plan to put it to the test on some of our upcoming adventures to see how this Windows 8 tablet can handle the road. Until then, I’m going to be posting my experiences with the W510 as well as sharing tips and tricks for the tablet and Windows 8 that I discover along the way.
Thus far, I’m really impressed with the power that this extremely lightweight tablet wields. At 1.37 pounds, the W510 is lighter than the new iPad (1.40 pounds) and nearly identical in thickness. However, unlike the latter tablet, the Acer can run Windows 8 in all its glory thanks to Intel’s new Atom processor.
You probably remember Intel’s Atom chip from those light duty netbooks, which seemed to be all the rage a few years ago. Well, as a former netbook owner (I recently just upgraded from an Acer), I am here to tell you that the name is the only similarity between the old and next-gen Atom processors (also known by the code name Clover Trail). On my netbook, I could barely browse the internet–opening a new tab was tedious process, and I learned early on that multitasking between a web browser and a word document would cripple the system for minutes if not crash one of the programs entirely.
The W510 on the other hand has no problems at multitasking. For example, today I had a handful of tabs open in Google Chrome (including a YouTube video) as well as Internet Explorer and I had no problems at all. Ironically, just before Christmas I upgraded to a new Windows 8 11.6 Touchscreen laptop that has an Intel i3 processor, and I’ve got to say the new Atom chip can really hold its own. While my laptop is snappier when it comes to opening apps and running desktop programs, the tablet does a fantastic job of doing exactly what it is supposed to do–surfing the internet, casual gaming, word processing, productivity, etc. And when it comes to battery life, the W510 completely trumps my laptop. I’ve been getting approximately nine hours out of the tablet, while my laptop only lasts four hours or so. Plus, I find the colors on the display to better on the tablet than on my laptop.
Because the tablet runs the full version of Windows 8, I can install all my favorite legacy programs on it–iTunes, Tweet Deck, Google Chrome–which is a plus when it comes to taking the tablet on the road. No doubt the Apple and Android operating systems have come a long way and are getting better with each release, but they are still not there yet in terms of being functional for full time use. For instance, using WordPress on mobile browsers–even when I switch to desktop mode–is still too quirky to use on a regular basis, and its app is only really good for quick edits. The inconsistency with WordPress on iOS and Android has always played a large part of why I never felt comfortable ditching my laptop for a tablet.
Another advantage to running Windows 8 is that I can easily attach a hard drive to the tablet or a DVD drive–this afternoon I burned a CD into iTunes on the tablet. The W510 features Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, and a microSD card slot. It ships with a USB adapter cord. And in the coming weeks, I’ll be setting up the tablet to act as a screen for my Windows 8 laptop. I may also splurge for the detachable keyboard (sold separately or as a package deal from Acer) or a bluetooth keyboard.
I am really excited to dig deeper into the W510 and see if it’s worthy of the road. Along the way, we’d love to hear your own tips and tricks for getting the most out of Windows 8 with an Intel tablet.
Do you use a tablet for your travels?
*Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel. While the Intel Smart Squad sent us the Acer Iconia W510 to sample and review, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.
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