Rushabh Mehta was looking for a middle ground between a tablet and laptop that would not only take care of his browsing and connectivity needs, but also give him the full range of applications needed for his office work. Even though he leans towards Apple, Rushabh turned to his school-time friend Abhishek Chaurasiya - who currently promotes Windows 8 and Windows 8 devices - for a hands-on experience of one of the new Windows 8 tabs.
Abhishek recommended Acer's Iconia W510 'laplet' - one of first few Windows 8 machines to launch in India. The W510 is a convertible laptop that turns into a tablet as soon as you pull the screen away from the keyboard dock. Perfect for Rushabh who can carry it around as a tablet or set it down on a table when he's browsing for long hours or using Microsoft Office. Its 10.1-inch screen size and the processing power provided by the dual core Intel Atom 1.8GHz CPU with 2GB RAM processor make it good enough to run heavy apps like Adobe Photoshop, even though the processing speeds are not as high as that of full-fledged laptops.
Keeping the wow factor of the W510's detachable screen aside, it is what Windows 8 brings to this hybrid tab that’s remarkable.
Take integration. Since he owns an iPhone and the iPad can interact with his phone using the iOS platform, Rushabh wonders whether the same interaction is possible between Windows 8 devices. And the answer is yes. He can access his settings from any Windows 8 device - phone, laptop, tablet - by simply logging in.
Then there’s the Charm menu bar, which is what the Start bar was to earlier Windows versions. What is different, however, is that this menu can be accessed from anywhere, no matter which application you are running. You just need to swipe your finger from the left edge and the menu appears giving you the options of Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings all at one place. The search itself is very broad-based; when you type in the name of a file you are looking for, the OS searches across apps, stores and even the Internet from just one search window, unlike earlier Windows versions.
Multi-tasking is another winning feature of the Windows 8 OS. You can open two apps at a time and get a split screen view of both together; you can even adjust the display size of both apps, or have both full-screen and toggle between them, as Abhishek demonstrates with the calendar and photos apps in the video.
Windows 8 Live Tiles is one of Abhishek's favourite features. Not only does he find them a refreshing change from the small static icons, but also more practical. As he says in the video, his news app tile auto updates on the home screen itself, so he does not have to actually click open the app unless there is something he wants to read in full; similarly with the weather app.
Further, Windows 8 clubs all messenger apps under one messaging tile from where you can access all chat windows on one screen.
Windows 8 also allows you to move tiles around as per priority. You can drag the frequently used apps towards the beginning and move the lesser used ones to the end. Similar apps can also be grouped and named.
The password protection on Windows 8 is also a notch above its competitors. It uses a picture password as opposed to numbers and alphabets. Here you set a combination of three photos to unlock your computer, but that's not all. You have to select pre-set 'points' on each of these three photos to successfully unlock the tablet.
Coming back to tab capabilities: the tab offers more memory space than most tabs with an inbuilt memory of 64 GB expandable via micro SD card. One can also plug in an external hard disk of even 1 TB memory. The Iconia W510 has a micro SD port, a mini USB port and an HDMI port. The charging port is on the detachable screen, so it can be carried for work or travel without the keyboard.
Product: Acer Iconia W510 Windows 8 Hybrid Tab
MRP on box: Rs. 43,000
Available at Croma and Reliance stores for around Rs. 36,000 (As on January).