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Acer Iconia W700 review: Windows at your palm

Acer Iconia W700
The Acer Iconia W700 is a 11.6in tablet running Windows 8, but unlike some other tablets the W700 runs the full version of Microsoft's latest OS rather than the cut-down RT edition. This means you can
install any Windows application and control it using the touchscreen. You aren't limited to using apps downloaded from the Windows store. The front may be dominated by a touchscreen and a reasonably slim black bezel, but it's the aluminium frame that catches the eye.

The W700 has curved edges, speaker grilles and connection ports that have been machine-cut with precision, giving it a real high-end appearance. It's sleek, despite being 13mm thick, and it's comfortable to hold. It weighs just over 900g, but it's still light enough to use as a tablet. It has a single USB3 port, along with a 3.5mm headset audio jack and a Micro HDMI port, but there's no card reader for adding extra storage beyond the internal 64GB solid state disk. If you want to use extra connections you must dock the tablet to its bundled cradle.

Disappointingly, the cradle is built entirely out of plastic and has none of the tablet's premium feel. The stand on the back can be adjusted to change orientation and the dock has three USB3 ports, but
it's a fairly tacky addition considering how good the tablet itself feels. The keys are Chiclet-style and have very limited travel, although they spring back into place quickly. We preferred a combined keyboard dock, such as those produced by Asus and Dell rather than have a separate keyboard. It's a shame, as the W700 is otherwise a great Windows 8 tablet.The 1,920x1,080 resolution display is ideally suited to watching Full HD video or editing high-resolution photos, and you'll be able to use powerful photo-editing applications because it runs Windows 8.

The W700's low-voltage Core i3 processor might be a Sandy Bridge model from 2011, but it still completed our multimedia benchmarks with an overall score of 24. The dual-core i3-2365M runs at
1.4GHz, supports Hyper-Threading and is paired with 4GB of RAM, so even though it was never going to compare well to the desktop-class Ivy Bridge chip used in our reference PC, it can still handle everyday tasks such as web browsing and word processing. The i3-2367M uses HD 3000 graphics. As you might expect, this means the W700 isn't suited to gaming; it failed Dirt Showdown test with a jerky average frame rate of 12.1fps. You'll be able to play Flash games and older, less
demanding titles, but this tablet's best suited to multimedia playback.

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