Convertible Laptop: Acer Iconia W510 – 64 GB with Win8 – just arrived

Purpose of the hardware

On one hand, I am a geek. On the other, I do not have time to unlock, patch and prepare tablets the way some of our kind would do. For hanging on the sofa and for weekend travels, I wanted a convertible laptop with an Intel based Windows 8. I wanted it cheap, very portable and light weight! First I was waiting on the Lenovo Lynx, but that is yet not available in Germany. For extensive mobile work, I am currently using a VAIO Z model and at home, a Mac Mini and a Linux box.

My requirements were: Intel based (to run all tools I also have on the VAIO), Win 8 (not RT), very light, cheap, long battery life and usable as a tablet.

The final decision was influenced by the price. I wanted to stay below $600 or €500 and I found only the Acer Iconia W-510 to match these criteria.

The package

acer iconia w510

Unpacking the hardware is not an Apple experience, but not bad either. The box has some space overused with empty paper boxes, but that is fine by me. Acer supplies:

Box Contents

  • The power adapter with a Euro plug
  • micro to standard USB adapter (which you would need for tablet usage only)
  • Tablet computer
  • Docking station with keyboard

After removing the stickers and plastic wraps, I got it powered up quite quickly.

Preparation and using Windows 8 with it

Windows 8 Convertible Laptop

It is indeed a little laptop, that you can use as a netbook. So that goal was reached. The speed is OK and I got

  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Putty
  • Notepad++
  • Chrome
  • Filezilla
  • WinSCP
  • SSHfs

installed and running.

Undocking the tablet from the keyboard is working without hick-ups. The only thing that is obvious now, that we can watch Windows 8 in its habitat: the operating system is too young and use cases like mine are not really nicely covered by it: I fire up the system in “desktop mode” with the “classic shell“.

As soon as I unplug it, I would Win8 expect to recognize it and start new browsers as Apps, not as desktop applications. Means: I unplug and hit the Internet Explorer icon on the tile start screen, it should open the app as a full screen app. Instead, Windows 8 jumps back to the desktop and opens a classic window.

The positive things are:

  • very low price for an OK piece of plastic
  • speedy enough for your casual networking needs
  • the micro SD port can hold a 64 GB card for your movies, etc.
  • long battery life – very long battery life with the docking station (we talk 16 hours straight usage here)

the thing that annoys me the most is a missing RJ45 port of any kind and the missing display adapter. But I ordered that adapter: VGA to Micro HDMI port from Amazon and that should suffice for some presentations.


If you separate between your heavy duty, precious laptop and a casual thing that could drop to the floor any second and you would not really miss it – the Acer Iconia W510 is good enough and does the job for the low price. I am pleased with it, but not sure how often I will use it. The next weekend trip is coming up and it will need to proof itself on the road then!

If you want to work, I suggest the Lenovo Yoga 13, if you want to have a cheap and light computer with you, any time: I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it.

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