Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate

Ultrabook by name, tablet by nature


Acer's recent tablet bash in London not only showcased its latest A1 Iconia Android fondleslab but also on display was its forthcoming Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate.

This model exists in the convertible-cum-tablet twilight zone, as it comes with a keyboard cover as standard. Yet Acer really wants you to forget it's a tablet and think of it as an Ultrabook and goes so far as to call it one.

Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Acer's Aspire P3 touch the Ultrabook moniker, yet relies on a strap on keyboard

To some degree, Acer has a point. The Aspire P3 is just under 10mm thick and fairly light at 790g (without the 600g cover) and the pre-production sample I've been given features a 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y processor.

There's a 128GB Micron C400 flash drive on-board and although it should have 4GB RAM, this sample has only 2GB; not that you'd notice in everyday use. Indeed, the boot time to login is among the swiftest I've experienced, at about four seconds.

The 11.6in IPS touchscreen isn't full HD, at 1366 x 768, but even though it may not suit everyone, a lower resolution can be an advantage when it comes to tapping: small full HD screens can be imprecise, making small checkboxes almost impossible to prod.

This fondleslab's screen itself is sharp, bright and surprisingly unreflective. It cleans up quite easily too, which certainly isn't a given on all tablet touchscreens.

Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

You can fold back the keyboard, but it's not the most elegant arrangement

Still, if you fancy viewing on a bigger display, there's micro HDMI connectivity next to the solitary full-size USB 3.0 port. Apart from the mains adapter, the only other interface is the mic-headphone combo jack. It's a shame there's no SD slot of any description as well though; even Atom tablets manage that one.

OK, the 128GB SSD is bigger than most Atom slates afford, but, aside from its superior performance over Atom chips, Acer is touting this for entertainment too; thus it's included Dolby Home Theatre v4 to spruce up the sound. Once you've installed the usual slew of Windows updates and loaded up a bunch of workaday apps, storage space can rapidly disappear, so having an SD slot to offload your music and movie fest is always going to be handy. There’s always the USB stick option as a last resort, albeit a tad inelegant.

Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Open and shut case

Talking of USB sticks, I managed to get the Aspire P3 to acknowledge Ubuntu Linux on a pen-drive boot installation. When I say “acknowledge” it’s because I couldn’t get past the install options screen. The problem here was that I had no way of pressing an Enter key. At this low-level boot stage, neither the touchscreen nor the Bluetooth keyboard are functional.

Next page: Making connections

Other stories you might like

  • Intel is running rings around AMD and Arm at the edge
    What will it take to loosen the x86 giant's edge stranglehold?

    Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.

    So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?

    A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.

    Continue reading
  • TSMC may surpass Intel in quarterly revenue for first time
    Fab frenemies: x86 giant set to give Taiwanese chipmaker more money as it revitalizes foundry business

    In yet another sign of how fortunes have changed in the semiconductor industry, Taiwanese foundry giant TSMC is expected to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue for the first time.

    Wall Street analysts estimate TSMC will grow second-quarter revenue 43 percent quarter-over-quarter to $18.1 billion. Intel, on the other hand, is expected to see sales decline 2 percent sequentially to $17.98 billion in the same period, according to estimates collected by Yahoo Finance.

    The potential for TSMC to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue is indicative of how demand has grown for contract chip manufacturing, fueled by companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and Apple who design their own chips and outsource manufacturing to foundries like TSMC.

    Continue reading
  • Intel withholds Ohio fab ceremony over US chip subsidies inaction
    $20b factory construction start date unchanged – but the x86 giant is not happy

    Intel has found a new way to voice its displeasure over Congress' inability to pass $52 billion in subsidies to expand US semiconductor manufacturing: withholding a planned groundbreaking ceremony for its $20 billion fab mega-site in Ohio that stands to benefit from the federal funding.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel was tentatively scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ohio manufacturing site with state and federal bigwigs on July 22. But, in an email seen by the newspaper, the x86 giant told officials Wednesday it was indefinitely delaying the festivities "due in part to uncertainty around" the stalled Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.

    That proposed law authorizes the aforementioned subsidies for Intel and others, and so its delay is holding back funding for the chipmakers.

    Continue reading
  • Intel ships crypto-mining ASIC at the worst possible time
    Chipmaker finally ahead of schedule only to find it arrived too late

    Comment Intel has begun shipping its cryptocurrency-mining "Blockscale" ASIC slightly ahead of schedule, and the timing could not be more unfortunate as digital currency values continue to plummet.

    Raja Koduri, the head of Intel's Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics group, tweeted Wednesday the company has started initial shipments of the Blockscale ASIC to crypto-mining firms Argo Blockchain, Hive Blockchain and Griid:

    Continue reading
  • Intel demos multi-wavelength laser array integrated on silicon wafer
    Next stop – on-chip optical interconnects?

    Intel is claiming a significant advancement in its photonics research with an eight-wavelength laser array that is integrated on a silicon wafer, marking another step on the road to on-chip optical interconnects.

    This development from Intel Labs will enable the production of an optical source with the required performance for future high-volume applications, the chip giant claimed. These include co-packaged optics, where the optical components are combined in the same chip package as other components such as network switch silicon, and optical interconnects between processors.

    According to Intel Labs, its demonstration laser array was built using the company's "300-millimetre silicon photonics manufacturing process," which is already used to make optical transceivers, paving the way for high-volume manufacturing in future. The eight-wavelength array uses distributed feedback (DFB) laser diodes, which apparently refers to the use of a periodically structured element or diffraction grating inside the laser to generate a single frequency output.

    Continue reading
  • Intel to sell Massachusetts R&D site, once home to its only New England fab
    End of another era as former DEC facility faces demolition

    As Intel gets ready to build fabs in Arizona and Ohio, the x86 giant is planning to offload a 149-acre historic research and development site in Massachusetts that was once home to the company's only chip manufacturing plant in New England.

    An Intel spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday to The Register it plans to sell the property. The company expects to transfer the site to a new owner, a real-estate developer, next summer, whereupon it'll be torn down completely.

    The site is located at 75 Reed Rd in Hudson, Massachusetts, between Boston and Worcester. It has been home to more than 800 R&D employees, according to Intel. The spokesperson told us the US giant will move its Hudson employees to a facility it's leasing in Harvard, Massachusetts, about 13 miles away.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022