Acer's W510 In Practice
I was most impressed with the W510's battery life. It was no surprise that Intel wanted reviewers to use the W510 as their reference platform for Atom Z2760. Using a 720p-based video of the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover's landing animation playing in a continuous loop (at 100% brightness and 100% volume), I took a full-charged Canon EOS 5D Mark II in tethered mode (with no LCD review) and recorded a time-lapse video with one frame every 15 seconds. The camera ran out of batteries before the tablet, and I was able to get more than seven hours from the W510.
We've seen this already, but Acer's W510 demonstrates again that x86 works for tablets. Beyond my seven-plus hours of video playback, I attached the optional keyboard dock and extended battery, and played a 1080p H.264-encoded video non-stop for 15 hours and 37 minutes.
Next, I took the W510 through a set of Web browsing benchmarks, where processor performance proved to be top-tier. There are large differences between IE10 and Chrome performance. Given full x86 support, it was trivial to try out different browsers (although the best user experience is with the IE10 Touch mode).
With Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4 both around the corner, there's no doubt that Intel's Atom Z2760 will face fierce competition very soon. Still, though, Intel's touch optimizations and the Z2760's performance make basic Web-based functionality fluid on Acer's W510.
I have performance numbers for an overclocked six-core PC in there just to remind everyone that the death of the desktop is still a premature proclamation.
Reveling In x86 Compatibility
It goes without saying that support for traditionally desktop-oriented applications is a major advantage that Windows 8 enjoys over Android, iOS, and even Windows RT. There are two obvious wins that I encountered during my first week with the W510. The first was full Adobe Flash support. The second was TV shows only approved for Hulu desktop viewing were available to the W510, whereas they aren't for the Android and iOS platforms.
If you need the full Microsoft Office experience, and not just Office RT, you'll also appreciate x86 support. Windows RT's version of Office doesn't support macros or add-ins like Endnote, possibly the most popular plug-in for Office. Finally, you get HDMI and full USB support (although you need the included accessory cable to go from Mini-B to Type A connectors), making file transfers easier.
The Subjective Good: A High-Contrast IPS Screen
Acer arms the W510 with an IPS display. Apple's Retina screens and the Nexus 10's high-res panel both offer better resolution for photos. Moreover, Microsoft's Surface seems to have better contrast. But the W510 still looks good, supporting the argument that resolution alone does not dictate image quality.
So, we have a fast tablet with a sharp-looking display that's wonderfully responsive, great battery life, and full Windows 8 support. It's like a McLaren MP4-12C that doesn't ask you to choose between performance or comfort; you get both.