Acer effort at tablet/laptop hybrid falls a little short with Aspire P3

Acer Aspire P3 tries to be both a tablet and laptop - but sadly it does not live up to the expectations of either.

Acer’s Aspire P3, taken as a complete package, underwhelms. Acer
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So you want a new tablet but can’t bear to say goodbye to your laptop? Well, now you can have both. At least that’s the pitch for the Acer’s Aspire P3, a Windows 8 tablet bundled with a Bluetooth keyboard case that offers the best of both worlds.

The P3 joins the ranks of a growing number of “convertible” Windows 8 devices that attempt to build on the tablet experience by offering the functionality of a traditional laptop. Such attempts have over the years largely fallen flat, with most failing to offer a compelling user experience in one or both functions.

There is stuff to like about the P3; it has a USB port and HDMI video output, which you won’t find on iPads, and offers a generous 120GB of internal storage (60GB is also available) for all your gaming and video needs.

With a bit of acclimatisation, the Windows 8 interface works just fine, although it's still playing catch-up to Android and Apple in terms of available apps.

But taken as a complete package, however, the P3 underwhelms; video on its 10.6-inch display is disappointing, with its 1366 x 768 resolution far below that of its high-end competitors. It’s pretty heavy too. The tablet on its own weighs 790 grams, compared with 652g for a standard iPad (and the even lighter iPad Air). The keyboard case, part of the P3’s raison d’être, takes the total weight to a whopping 1.3 kilograms.

Used as a laptop, the P3 is let down by its Bluetooth keyboard, which feels cheap and flimsy and has a noticeable lag. There’s no trackpad on the keyboard, so you’re obliged to rely on the touch-screen, which takes some getting used to, or a USB mouse.

While it’s nice that the keyboard and tablet connect wirelessly rather than via a docking mechanism, it means the keyboard needs to be separately charged, using a different cable to the one used to charge the main tablet.

It’s hard to recommend the P3 as a straight laptop replacement, unless you’re only going to use a keyboard on an occasional basis. And while the large storage capacity and external ports are nice to have in a tablet, its unremarkable display and the fact that it’s so darn heavy in its case does not make the P3 the perfect tablet solution either.

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