Last month I got to sit down with two representatives from Acer who showed me their upcoming holiday product line. We saw a couple (fantastic-looking) laptops, both ultrabooks with 1080p touchscreens, and a couple Windows 8 slates.
Acer is announcing its first Windows 8-native slate, the Iconia W700, today, which will go on sale on October 26th — Windows 8 day — for $749. The lowest-cost variant has a 11.6-inch 1080p screen, a Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, a 64GB SSD, a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera, along with several accessories included for free.
Among them, a dock, lets you orient the hardware in either portrait or landscape mode, and provides three USB 3.0 ports for easy connectivity. It also comes with a Bluetooth keyboard, so, when docked, the slate can double as a fully-blown Ivy Bridge laptop. The hardware runs Windows 8, not RT, meaning that it is backwards-compatible, for better or worse, with existing Windows 7 apps. I tried using the touchscreen with my fingers, and while it was perfectly usable in Metro mode, changing to the legacy desktop proved difficult. Due to the high pixel density, instead of scaling the screen up with sharper images like the Retina MacBook Pro, the W700 instead displays icons and menus really, really small. For legacy desktop mode, we’d recommend using a mouse.
The Acer W700 boasts a cold boot time of six seconds, and a resume time of 1.5 seconds. The slate will also connect to previously-used WiFi networks within 2.5 seconds, so you don’t have to spend half a minute waiting to get back to work.
There are going to be several variants of the W700 when it comes out at the end of the month. For $999 you can upgrade the hardware to include a Core i5 processor and 128GB of SSD, bringing it to within Ultrabook specs (and price). Both models offer up to eight hours of battery life.
Also in the box is a HDMI-VGA adapter so people can hook up the slate to projectors. Acer is really thinking about every possible demographic here.
The Canadian MSRP is actually $50 cheaper at $749.99 than its American counterpart. Expect this in stores on October 26th.