The First Wave Of Touch-Centric Platform

3/19/2013 9:44:55 AM

The recently launched windows 8 OS ushered in a new era of mobile computing. Acer, ASUS, and Samsung were among the first to locally roll out their tablets based on this touch-centric platform. How do they fare? Let’s find out.

Acer Iconia W700

Acer made waves in the tech industry with the introduction of its Windows 8-equipped lineup, spearheaded by its flagship Ultrabook, the Aspire S7. The iconia W700follows in its footsteps, except it comes in a more portable tablet form factor.

Thanks to the Intel Core processor, you get USB 3.0 support right out of the box.

Acer Iconia W700

With Windows 8 as its one and only operating system, mobile productivity and entertainment is a sure deal. On the outside, the Iconia W700 is definitely a solid slate with its full aluminum body which has a solid build and premium feel. In turn, this 11.6-inch device leans a bit on the heavy side at 1043g. It also isn’t as thin as the other tablets with its 11.9mm thickness. However, it makes up for it by having specs beyond its price point, referring to its Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz processor.

Thanks to the Intel Core processor, you get USB 3.0 support right out of the box. Its lone USB 3.0 port can then become three USB ports via the included dock. Another feature you’ll get with the third-generation Intel Core processor is a capable internal GPU in the form of Intel’s HD 4000 Graphics. For better viewing, a micro-HDMI is available if you wish to outsource your display to a larger screen.

In general, you won’t have to worry about performance issues as you can multitask and quickly switch between apps without any serious lag. Yet, the processing power of the Core i3-3217U comes at a price, as the tablet heats up during long use, and the battery life is shortened by the increased power consumption.

The Full HD 1080p display of the Iconia W700 brings out amazing picture quality. The IPS technology used provides great viewing angles, eye-catching color quality, and a bright display. Still, having a Full HD display also has its drawbacks, requiring additional power and draining the battery even more. As for the camera, you get a 5-megapixel main shooter and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera capable of 1080p and 720p recording, respectively.

Acer’s 11.6-inch tablet is targeted towards users who are looking for a capable mobile workstation. Its Ultrabook like specifications gives it more than enough computing power to drive up power-hungry programs like Adobe Photoshop. With the included dock, it can act as a mini workstation, since you get access to three USB 3.0 ports for an extra mouse and keyboard, on top of the touch capability. Battery endurance is also much closer to a notebook rather than a tablet, as the Iconia W700 lasts up to five hours with continuous moderate usage.

ASUS ViVotab

Anyone familiar with the Transformer Pad Infinity T700 will feel a sense of nostalgia when taking a glance at the ASUS vivoTab. Yet despite the similar looks, this tablet instead takes full advantage of Windows 8.

ASUS ViVotab

ASUS ViVotab

The ViVoTab is a highly portable tablet, featuring ASUS’s well-known and attractive metallic design taken from its ZenBook and Transformer Pad series. The ViVoTab comes in an aluminum body and has an 11.6-inch display covered by Corning Fit Glass for improved scratch resistance. Adding to the excellent physique is its thin and light body that measures 8.7mm and weighs only 675g. For added connectivity, it comes with a microSD card reader, micro-HDMI, and a 2-in-1 audio jack.

The unit is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 clocked at 1.8GHz, which enables the tablet to multitask with lightweight applications. Being an Atom processor, it doesn’t get that hot and can sustain longer uptimes compared to the Acer tablet. Missing the traditional keyboard and touchpad combo? Fret not, as the VivoTab comes with a mobile dock. Not only does it feature a keyboard and touchpad, it also adds two USB 2.0 ports, as well as additional battery power. If you prefer the pen experience, you can make use of its bundLED Wacom Digitizer stylus.

Moving on to the multimedia side, the VivoTab’s Super IPS+ display provides ultra-wide viewing angles and incredibly bright, vibrant colors. The 1366 x 768-pixel resolution is certainly enough for most multimedia needs on an 11.6-inch form factor. As for speakers, you get four (two on the tablet and two on the dock) with Sonic Master audio technology.

Capturing great photos is another pleasure due its main 8-megapixel autofocus camera and built-in LED flash. As for shooting videos, you get 1080p recording that captures at approximately 30 frames per second.

The VivoTab is good for entertainment while still leaving room for productivity. One minor gripe is that the audio lacks power when not docked, as it loses two of its four speakers. Using the tablet in portrait mode can also be a bit uncomfortable for some, as it feels too tall and narrow. Still, It handles very well if you use two hands during landscape mode – one holding the tablet and the other using the on-screen keyboard. As for its longevity, typical usage leads up to seven hours (435 minutes) without the dock. With the dock, you can expect double the amount, which is great during long trips.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC

Like the ASUS offering, the Samsung ATIV smart Pc takes a page from its Android tablet siblings in terms of aesthetic looks and the bund LED stylus. The difference, however, is the integration of Windows 8, effectively combining the power of a notebook and the convenience of a tablet.

The ATIV Smart PC is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760.

The ATIV Smart PC is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760.

The ATIV Smart PC looks and feels like a Galaxy Note 10.1, except this Windows 8-equipped tablet has a larger 11.6-inch display. Due to its plastic body, it remains lightweight and portable at 744g. It’s almost as thin as the VivoTab, coming in at 9.9mm. For connectivity, it has USB 2.0 and micro-HDMI ports, a microSD card reader, and a 2-in-1 audio jack.

The ATIV Smart PC is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760. Thanks to this, the tablet can easily handle simple multitasking and won’t get that hot while doing so.

Productivity and entertainment go hand-in-hand with the ATIV Smart PC. The packaged keyboard dock transforms it into a capable notebook for typing, while the S Pen stylus and S Note software work great for quick note-taking. Of course, all your trusty Windows productivity applications such as MS Word and excel, are all natively supported on its Windows 8 OS.

Its 11.6-inch capacitive touch display has a pixel resolution of 1366 x 768, which is just right for the screen size, in our opinion. Thanks to the Super PLS technology used on the LCD, it has a brighter display compared to the VivoTab. Superb viewing angles and accurate colors are other contributing factors to the strengths of the Samsung screen. The two speakers are conveniently located on the front and provide enough power even in an open environment. The 8-megapixel camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording is also readily available whenever you need it.

The Samsung ATIV Smart PC will definitely be popular among those who’re looking for a tablet which allows for lightweight productivity. As for entertainment, it’s more than capable of extended play, having a battery capacity that lasts more than seven hours (448 minutes). Like the ASUS tablet, holding it in portrait mode felt a bit awkward due to its overly narrow and long shape. But other than that, this tablet performed well enough on all other fronts.

It’s also worth mentioning that this tablet has a bigger brother, the ATIV Smart PC Pro, which is built for power users who need a better CPU for speedier performance and heavier workloads.

And The Best Windows 8 Tablets Are...

Acer Iconia W700

Pound-for-pound, the Acer Iconia W700 is definitely the best among the three Windows 8 tablets in terms of raw performance. This relatively heavyweight tablet is the obvious choice for those looking for better compute performance than most tablets available today, due primarily to its Intel core i3-3217uprocessor. in addition, its dock allows for greater connectivity and convenient use on a table, essentially turning the tablet into a mini workstation wherever you bring it.

Pound-for-pound, the Acer Iconia W700 is definitely the best among the three Windows 8 tablets in terms of raw performance.

Pound-for-pound, the Acer Iconia W700 is definitely the best among the three Windows 8 tablets in terms of raw performance.

With an $980, you can’t go wrong with the Acer offering. You’ll surely get your money’s worth in terms of performance and a solid build quality.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC

Priced at $884, the Samsung ATIV smart Pics the least expensive of the three tablets that we tested. However, the lower price doesn’t mean that Samsung left out some features or downgraded the tablet’s overall performance.

For the price, you get a fully functional slate with enough performance to multitask between lightweight apps on its Intel atom Z2760.The 11.6-inch display also happens to be the brightest of the ones we tested and comes with great viewing angles, add a keyboard dock and Samsung’s sPen to the mix, on top of its already great value, and you get the best possible deal.

ASUS ViVotab

The ASUS ViVoTab might not be the best in terms of performance nor value, but it’s still a viable option in other aspects. its aluminum body and great finish make it the most attractive of the bunch. in our imaging tests, the ViVoTab’s rear camera came out on top. it produced the most impressive shots in both indoor and outdoor environments, displaying good dynamic range and sharp details. You also get a handy keyboard dock and digitizer stylus in the package.

You’d have to shell out $1,056 for the ViVoTab, which makes it the priciest in the group. But for the premium build and top-notch camera, it’s hard to go wrong with this offering either.

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