PROS / The screen can conveniently function as a standalone tablet.
CONS / The device is plagued with poor design; docking, undocking and closing the system can be difficult.
VERDICT / This tablet PC is only a good fit for people who are seeking a combination notebook and standalone tablet.
The Acer Iconia Tab W510-1837 is a combination notebook and tablet that is one of the lower-priced tablet PCs we reviewed. This device is sleek looking, boasts standalone tablet functionality and delivers good performance. However, an overall poor and frustrating design keep this otherwise good tablet PC from being a top contender.
Like many of the other tablet PCs we came across, the Iconia Tab W510-1837 is surprisingly easy to use for a Windows tablet. Windows 8 is designed for fingertip input, so using it on a tablet is perfection. As such, Acer includes its own user interface layer called TouchBrowser, which helps boost the usability of the device in tablet mode. The layer provides several custom one-touch apps that grant access to frequently used applications and functions.
The Iconia Tab W510 consists of a 10.1-inch touchscreen and a separate keyboard dock. This clever design allows you to conveniently detach the netbook-like screen to use as a standalone tablet or fold down over the keyboard. However, therein lies the device's most prominent drawbacks. Transitioning from one mode to another is not as seamless on this Iconia Tab as it is on competing tablet PCs. In fact, it's an awkward exercise that is cumbersome, time consuming and downright frustrating.
To close the system, you must pull the screen straight up, fully detach it from the keyboard and close a flap on the dock that covers the docking connection. Then you must place the screen face down on top of the keyboard, where a small magnet (barely) holds it in place. Lastly, you have to push a physical latch on the front of the dock in place. To convert the closed system back to a notebook, you must complete the same steps in reverse. If not done correctly, the two halves can easily dislodge and come apart.
While we like that you have the option to use a standalone tablet, the device's poor design completely countermands this convenient functionality. We'd prefer a rotating screen on a fixed hinge to such a cumbersome design.
Its design may utterly disappoint, but for those who can look past it, the Acer Iconia Tab W510-1837 has decent technical specifications. Its Intel Atom Z2760 processor is low power but still delivers good performance. You can watch videos and multitask with minimal stuttering.
The device is feature packed with an Ethernet port, a USB port, Bluetooth capability and a memory card reader. It also skips the standard VGA port and opts instead for a micro HDMI port. We also liked that the battery can last up to nine hours.
Aside from its design flaws, the most disappointing thing about this tablet PC is its scrawny hard drive. With only 64GB, the hard drive is definitely all tablet and no laptop. Competing systems have much larger hard drives.
The Acer Iconia Tab W510-1837 comes with a standard one-year warranty and all the support resources we expected, including telephone support and an online knowledgebase. The Acer website also provides appropriate driver software and FAQs for this particular product.
Under the hood, the Acer Iconia Tab W510-1837 is a decent tablet PC that performs well. It has good technical specifications and is easy to use. However, its inconvenient and cumbersome design leaves much to be desired and there are more user-friendly and better-designed convertible notebooks out there.