Below you can find our latest smartphone reviews. Nearly all of the devices reviewed below are also available to buy on the Clove website. We do our best to review as much of our product range as possible so that we can give customers good advice about which device is best suited to them. We welcome discussion and feedback so please feel free to leave a comment on any blog post.

Sony Xperia M2 review

The lowdown on Sony’s new mid range M2 smartphone.

xperia-m2-black-duoThe Sony Xperia M2 is exactly what an increasing number of new smartphone buyers are looking for. It may not blow anyone away with it’s looks, specifications or feature set, however with the smartphone market maturing, it could be a very attractive prospect for anyone looking out for a great deal.

If you’re reading Clove’s blog then it’s odds-on you already own a smartphone. Where that device sits in the tiers of power & price may be a little difficult to guess though, with specifications rising and relative prices falling faster than ever before.

What’s even harder to gauge it was what you may need from a new handset. If you’re approaching an upgrade period at the end of a 24 month cycle, or perhaps just fancy a new phone after a year or so, then the market has changed drastically since your last look.

Smartphones in the M2’s SIM free price range of around £200 are no longer cheap, cheerful devices to turn your nose up at. They are in fact powerful, capable machines that may even outperform the 2 year old flagship in your hand that cost more than twice as much not too long ago.

I won’t be going into Clove’s usual deep longform detail in this mini review – that’s reserved for flagship handsets – although if you’re interested in the M2 and want to know a few more details then read on.

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Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review

Sony’s new premium mobile headset reviewed and rated.

SBH80-main-imageI’m an unabashed audiophile yet whilst I love listening to music in a huge array of varying genres, both live and recorded, I haven’t ever invested too much in portable audio technology. I have a decent home stereo system that has served me well for years, plus I can certainly tell the difference between a good club set up and a poor one, however I have always found music on the go to be somewhat disposable.

Cheap earbuds abound; coming packaged as standard with all manner of portable devices capable of music playback. These also suffice for the majority of people. I’ve never really bought into the idea of paying huge amounts of money on headphones, especially where the perceptible difference in quality is very arguable. The Sony SBH80 could though be one of those products that changes my mind a little in the mid-range though.

Priced at £74.99 including VAT, they’re just out of ‘pocket money’ territory, although we’re certainly not talking the kind of unjustifiably high prices the likes of Beats or Monster charge simply for branding. I reckon Sony have got the pricing spot on for the SBH80; they’re not up at the kind of quality a pricey set of Sennheiser or Pioneer speakers kick out, however they’re noticeably better than common kits on sale in the £20-40 range, and also offer a stylish, unique design and top build quality.

Read on for the full review

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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

The Xperia Z1 just got smaller.

Z1_Compact_Review_ImageSony has set a high standard with their Xperia Z range of phones. First the original waterproof Z, then the 20 MP camera in the updated Z1 and now the Z1 Compact.

As the name implies, the Compact is smaller in size than the Z1, but that is really where the differences end. The Compact has a smaller battery and a smaller lower resolution display but the same feature set.

The battery has dropped from 3,000 to 2,300 mAh and the screen is now 4.3” with a 1080 x 720 resolution, in comparison to the 5” 1920 x 1080 display of the Z1. Of course the physical size and weight has been affected too but more on that later.

Unlike HTC and Samsung’s Mini devices, Sony set out not to compromise on specification like their competition and the Z1 Compact really is a small version of its big brother.

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Review of Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520 Image 1The Nokia Lumia 1520 is Nokia’s first smartphone to be released with a 6 inch screen. It is intended as their attempt to compete with other large screen products in the relatively new ‘phablet’ category, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max. Nokia are highlighting the size of the screen as the main draw of this phone, however there are many other advantages.

Camera technology within smartphones is being continually improved and Nokia are at the cutting edge with their products. The Lumia 1520 is no exception. While it doesn’t have the 41 Megapixel Pureview camera we have recently been treated to on the Lumia 1020, it still has a very impressive 20 Megapixel sensor. This easily beats the majority of the competition, with only the Sony Xperia Z1 & Z1 Compact being comparable.

Nokia has also ensured that the 1520 is no slouch in processing power with a 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor being included along with a generous 2GB of RAM. You will also find 32 GB of on-board storage available and the ability to use microSD up to 64 GB cards. If this isn’t enough, there is also additional storage available by using Microsoft Skydrive service with a free 7 GB being provided.

Smartphone manufacturers have continued to cram more and more connectivity technology into their phones. As a premium product the Lumia 1520 has all the latest technology options; WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE are all included and can be taken advantage of if you have the necessary associated equipment or data contract.

Finally Nokia have included numerous apps, which means you can get started quickly without having to access the Store to download them. I will be looking at the pre-installed apps and providing details including functionality so you know what is included. Read on the full review.

 

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ASUS Transformer Pad TF701 Review

Your laptop alternative

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701

ASUS as a general rule are in my opinion a little underrated for the products that they make.

Those who are into their technology will know what things they make well, but in the smartphone/tablet arena the vast majority would likely be a little wary as they are not such a known brand, despite having some fairly popular products on the market over the last few years, most notable the Google Nexus 7 series.

The ASUS Transformer Pad is the latest in the line of the Transformer series, which has generally only been available through selected suppliers and is not something you would see on the high street very easily.

The Transformer series works on the basis of an Android powered tablet with a detachable keyboard, to turn it into a laptop-esque device.

Tablet adoption is growing at a phenomenal rate and I can see why, but for me personally, having owned a Nexus 7 for 18 months or so now, I rarely use it like I should.

I see a couple of reasons for this:

  • It’s not that much bigger than my phone screen
  • I can’t always comfortably do what I want on it

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701

Therefore I end up generally opting for a rather bulky Windows laptop as this gives me a larger screen and a productive keyboard which I can use whilst on the sofa.

Like most people I imagine when relaxing in the evenings and weekends is when you are most likely to reach for a tablet or indeed desire to own one (I know there are other times too). Whilst a tablet is good when browsing, when I need to type out an email, holding a tablet and using the on screen keyboard for me is a bit of a pain and I much prefer a physical keyboard for speed and comfort.

Fed up of using the larger laptop, I desired something that is an always-on device, which was more polite to use and easier to handle, so I started looking at the options. I could have gone for a tablet and a separate keyboard, but then you have to prop the tablet up on a stand or the keyboard is a really expensive accessory. I decided to go for the Transformer Pad as it offered the best of both worlds, as it was an all in one package and I could chop and change as I like just by clipping and unclipping the keyboard.

Unlike other reviews, this is a personal purchase so I am likely to be a little more biased, although I will try to remain fair throughout.

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Moto G Review

Hands on with Motorola’s new budget superstar

For a long time now, budget Android smartphones have generally been poorly received by both critics and consumers alike. Whilst the design and build quality can still be to an acceptable standard, it is the experience of using a budget handset for a lengthy time that causes problems. The two major problems with this type of device from any manufacturer have tended to be their installation of older versions of Android that don’t get updated, along with a slow and laggy experience in comparison to more feature filled phones.

Moto G Logo Rasberry

Google have long been aware of this issue as it is something that affects many of the millions of Android users around the globe. This is especially true in emerging markets where cheaper phones using older versions of Android (generally the stable but now years out of date 2.3 Gingerbread), proliferate due to their low cost. Google’s biggest issue with older Android on new phones is that it locks users out of using the updated Play Store and other new services that are not supported. Android also gets an unfairly bad reputation in certain circles based on these experiences too.

Since Google acquired Motorola in 2011, many have wondered in what direction new Motorola products would go, and how much influence Google would have on these proceedings. North America got a glimpse of things to come with the well-received Moto X, released in August, and now the rest of the world gets to play with the Moto G.

“What do you need from a sub £150 smartphone?”

The Moto G is the phone to change your perception of cheaper Android devices. If you had to answer the question “What do you need from a sub £150 smartphone?”, I’m quietly confident the Moto G would tick every box and more from all but the most niche use-cases. If you’re reading this review and looking at the Moto G as a first, new or replacement handset then the chances are you’re somewhat familiar with Android already and not too concerned about raw specifications. With that in mind I’ll try to steer clear of being too techy and focus on what’s important at this price point: functionality and performance.

Read on for the full review

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Nexus 5 Review

A month with Google’s KitKat contender leaves a sweet taste

It seemed that throughout September and early October, it was impossible to approachAll Posts a tech site, especially mobile oriented hubs, without a new ‘leak’ of the Nexus 5 appearing every other day. How much of this was an intentional marketing strategy and how much was individuals really digging up information we’ll never know. What is certain though, is that in certain circles the Nexus 5 was probably the most hyped phone I can remember launching in quite some time – all through the power of the Internet.

nexus 5 logo

Google didn’t plough millions into marketing like Samsung or try for Hollywood product placements like Nokia. Instead they let the collective corners of the Internet interested in their product snowball the desire and channel it into relevant sources of media. You might not have seen any adverts but you probably knew it was being released. The Nexus 5 was never going to be a flop; with its raw hardware specifications, screen and price combination, such a thing simply couldn’t happen. So if this phone was always going to be good, the question I’ll be answering in this review is how good?

For those who want to watch and listen, please do so.  For those who wish to read on, scroll down to find out the story.

I’ve been running a Nexus 5 as my daily device for about a month now and have definitely got used to its quirks. I also come from using the Nexus 4 for most of the last year, although a couple of months prior to the Nexus 5 release I was changing through demo phones regularly to get a feel of what’s new. I’ll be drawing on experience of the Xperia Z1, LG G2, Galaxy S4 and Note 3 in my comparisons as well as the direct upgrade from last year’s Nexus.

Starting off with the design and feel of the Nexus 5, follow the break for my full thoughts.

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Nokia Lumia 625 Review

Read through our user review of the affordable new Lumia 625

Nokia Lumia 625 review shot 1

As a Nokia Lumia product the 625 is positioned towards the bottom of the range.  This means that you don’t have the superb camera optics which we see within other Nokia products.  The hardware specification as you would expect is also lower.  The first thing you will however notice when picking up a Nokia Lumia 625 is the size of its screen.  For a product which has been positioned towards the bottom of the Nokia range with a competitive price, the 4.7 inch screen is truly impressive.  The other feature that is likely to catch your attention is the inclusion of 4G/LTE.  It means that you are ready for when this type of high speed network is available in your area.  If you are like us and still waiting for the benefit of 4G/LTE, at least you can have the satisfaction knowing your phone will be compatible. What if you are one of the lucky ones who already live within an area which has 4G/LTE coverage? Well what are you waiting for?

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HTC One Mini review

image

What exactly have HTC crammed into the One Mini?

The smartphone market is an extremely fickle place, one day we’re having the largest smartphones to date shoved under our noses with slogans suggesting that we’re better off with a larger handset as they make for a better browsing experience etc. and the next we’re being told that the latest top end manufacturers are set to release a ‘mini’ variant of their flagship device as there’s a market for smaller handsets; Confusing eh?

Although we love getting our hands on smartphones with large high res displays, it has to be said that we’re also a fan of the smaller ones. Smaller displays naturally make for smaller handsets which in turn are generally more comfortable in the hand, easier to slip into your pocket and let’s face it; you don’t look like a complete idiot when holding it to your ear.

Mini handsets generally have to cut corners in terms of their specification which is to be expected, however; the HTC One Mini is carved from arguably the best Smartphone on the market in the HTC One, so what can we expect from the smaller sibling?

Design/Hardware

The One Mini is certainly a sleek looking handset taking almost identical characteristics from the HTC One. The One Mini features the same curved aluminium chassis that got everyone foaming at the mouth when the One was first announced. The only main difference is that the One Mini features an off white polycarbonate trim that runs around the edges of the handset. You can look at this as a slight drawback but it coincides nicely with the silver back in my opinion.

IMAG0691

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Acer Iconia W511 Review

Iconia W511. Tablet? Laptop? It’s a hybrid!

Acer_Iconia_Windows_TabletdWindows 8 has had its share of mixed reviews and bad press but its always worth remembering that this is, for all intents and purposes, the first real step in unifying mobile and desktop computing into one non-divisive entity. Windows Mobile may have had a number versions before Apple’s iPhone in 2007, however it was the Cupertino crew that really changed the way the masses saw a mobile phone as something that was also a ‘computer’. Since then though, mobile and desktop have still had definite division line, despite many attempts to converge. When stepping into Windows 8, it’s always worth remembering that this is Microsoft really trying to do something new.

Why am I talking about this concept at the start of a review about the Acer Iconia W511? Well this is just the kind of device that was hinted at when Windows 8 appeared; a new product category of ‘hybrids’ that merge mobile and desktop. The idea took off slightly with some Android 4.0 tablets, such as the excellent ASUS Transformer range, but inevitably stumbled due to the inherently mobile nature of that OS being restrictive as a true workstation.

Windows 8 vs. Windows RT

Read carefully: this is not a Windows RT tablet. Microsoft recently made a rather muted statement that their naming convention and marketing of RT was ‘confusing’. The OS of choice on many early tablets running new Windows (as well as one version of Microsoft’s own Surface), RT is the locked down desktop OS, designed to work with ARM’s low power mobile processor technology. It has no true desktop mode and can only install apps from the Windows Store in the same way that an iPad works with iTunes / App Store. This wasn’t clear to many buyers of Windows RT devices and it has largely disappeared.

So the Acer Iconia W511 is in fact running a full desktop Windows 8 Pro. There are both pros and cons to this on a device of this nature, which I will be covering in more detail later. The basic tidbit to take before reading further is that you will most likely be able to run most of your current Win7 software without issue. Good times.

Hardware

The Acer Iconia W511 is running a full desktop version of Windows 8 Pro (albeit a 32-bit version), powered by an Intel Atom Z2760. The full spec list shows:

  • Windows 8 Pro (32-bit)
  • 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2760
  • 10.1″ 1366 x 768 multi-touch capacitive LCD
  • 8 MP rear camera & Full HD front facing Acer webcam
  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 64 GB solid state eMMC storage (approx 30 GB user accessible)
  • External micro SD card slot (up to 64 GB)
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual 2.4/5 GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE & NFC
  • GSM 3G 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

In order to hit this form factor, there simply have to be compromises. It was true of the briefly popular netbooks from a few years ago and remains indicative of pretty much every device in the new hybrid category.

Acer_Iconia_Windows_TableteFirst off is the use of the “Clover Trail” Atom range processor. Originally designed for low power consumption and less intensive computing, the Atom range has had its name a little unfairly tarnished over the years. Atoms are never going to be sitting anywhere near the top of the pile when it comes to raw power but they do generally manage to do what they were designed for and do it well.

One thing to remember when using an Atom powered device is not to multitask too heavily. Now no-one who regularly spends time with the likes of Photoshop and Assassins Creed on Steam running simultaneously is going to be looking at the W511 as a replacement main machine but you do still need to be careful. If you’re the kind of user who works with 30 browser tabs open, alongside 5 Word documents and half a dozen pdfs whilst you download stream the last season of Breaking Bad then don’t get annoyed when things slow down. You have been warned. Programs took longer to open and lagged a little more than I am used to but generally the situation was consistent as long as I didn’t push too hard.

The overall speed isn’t helped by there only being 2 GB RAM. This isn’t completely unavoidable, however mostly unchangeable due to the marriage of processor and 32-bit Windows. If you know your computing/binary then you know why you can’t have any more accessible then 4 GB RAM without a 64-bit capable processor/OS combo.  With on board graphics accelerators etc. it’s not generally worth installing 4GB RAM as not all of it will get accessed. Sadly Intel’s new 64-bit capable Atom processors (codenamed Bay Trail) won’t be consumer ready and in devices until Q1 of next year. Those of you looking for more power & speed from your Windows 8 tablet/hybrid will simply have to wait until the new year for 4 GB+ models.

Design

Acer have always been a company to try for a unique looking style with new ranges. I can remember from my days selling in retail stores that even Acer’s lower end laptops had a certain flair that set them apart from the homogeneous, repetitive ranges from the likes of HP and Dell. Then there were the high end beasts, awash with sci-fi-esque, blue LED underlit touch panels beneath the keyboard for volume and media control.

The Iconia W511 is a modern looking unit, with a rather utilitarian approach to its construction. It’s kind of pretty, with a non-assuming white and metallic silver plastic duo that’s partly minimalist and partly professional – but only just enough to avoid looking like a toy. Broadly speaking it’s functional. Which is another way of saying boring. In a world which contains Surface Pro and Nokia’s recently announced Lumia 2520, the W511 isn’t going to be winning design awards any time soon.

Acer_Iconia_Windows_Tablet

The actual 10.1 inch tablet is well put together, with enough bezel to hold comfortably and a thin white trim surrounding the face that offsets the ‘slab’ effect many other tablets suffer from. The silver plastic back has a matte finish that holds well, although a bit of light texturing as seen on recent Samsung and Nexus models would add to the grip. A few easily removable stickers on the back remind you of the connectivity options available including the location of the NFC chip (top-left quadrant with the tablet face down, if you didn’t know, and easy to forget).

As the tablet is sold separately in some areas and is designed as a truly mobile computer, most of the ports are on the tablet body, accessible from the edges. A surprisingly large amount of slots and buttons are found around the sides and disappear when viewed face on, props to the design team for that. The physical buttons include the power button, volume rocker and screen rotation lock slider, all present around the top right corner and easily accessible.

Keyboard Dock / Typing

The keyboard dock is what makes or breaks a device in this category and for the most part the Iconia W511 does a decent job. It always takes time to adjust to the slimmed down and squeezed together keys on smaller device, although the transition is made easier on the Iconia due its overall size. The bezel on the tablet makes for a screen that appears large than the 10.1″ netbooks of old. This translates to the keyboard dock as well, meaning the keys are slightly spaced apart in chiclet fashion, a godsend compared to the cramped netbooks of past days, where hitting the wrong letter was a regular occurrence even after several hours of use.

The extra space makes for an almost standardised layout which is only ever a bonus on small keyboards. The enter button is well sized, taking up two rows along with a full complement of Shift, Alt, Caps Lock, function & arrow keys. Only page down/up & home/end require a function button shift.

Acer_Iconia_Windows_Tableta

The one thing that really puts a downer on the docking station is the track pad. The form factor makes the small size inevitable and Acer have done the best they could, however disappointment resides in the poor response it provides, often feeling like it was not registering correctly and providing somewhat erratic cursor movement. Finally the track pad brings the whole dock’s build quality into question. Whilst typing feels solid, a firm push on the pad or lower half of the dock will cause the whole thing to bend and creak.

If the plastic base is a little flimsy, the locking mechanism for the tablet is anything but. A chunky white connector with almost 300 degree rotation, the lock is solid, although the tablet has a bit of wobble when docked. A slider releases the tablet swiftly for when you need to remove it. The rotation is a nice touch also, allowing you to flip the keyboard round and rest the whole unit on it face down, providing a decent viewing angle for the touchscreen. The keys are recessed into the dock so none of them are pressed when the unit is oriented this way on a flat surface.

Software

The Windows 8 Live Tile interface is being readily updated with plenty of new features, some of the most accessible of which are the hubs.  Taking a page from the Windows Phone book, the people hub will store contact details backed up in your Microsoft account. If you happen to have a Windows Phone then all of these are backed up automatically for you and will appear. The same goes for Facebook and Twitter.

You’ll find Microsoft’s Bing branding permeates through Windows 8 so you’ll find News, Sports and Bing Search powering Internet Explorer 10. If you haven’t used Internet Explorer 10, or have a deep seated aversion to Microsoft’s browser from bygone years then be prepared for a smooth, clean interface and a truly modern browser. IE10 provides both a standard desktop experience with traditional tabbed browsing as well as a an optimised mobile mode for browsing on the go. Compared to Chrome, Safari et al that have separate mobile versions of their browsers, Microsoft have championed a proper responsive design in a single application.

The upsides of  running a full Windows desktop are also a possible downer as well though. Stickig with browsers for the minute, if you have built up a browsing experience and history using say Chrome, then you may want to install Chrome and get synchronising. There’s nothing stopping you doing this although you’re stuck with the desktop version and by extension, desktop rendering. Mobile Chrome is only available on supposedly mobile only devices. Where the Iconia blurs the lines creates an issue. It’s not Acer’s fault or really Microsoft’s, it’s simply indicative of the way computing has converged over the last few years. As the web evolves and browsers/websites adapt and get recoded, dynamic rendering based on screen size rather browser type will develop. Until then

Similarly, desktop apps suffer from high resolution on a small screen. The Live Tile interface is of course designed to work around this, full screening style-guidelined apps installed from the Microsoft Store but for legacy apps or other software launched in desktop mode, anything more than a short burst of work can end up with you squinting at the screen.

Camera

Tablets are generally regarded as having poor camera modules so I had low expectations of the W511. I was then pleasantly rewarded by the results of the 8MP main camera. Many tablets stick with a basic 5 MP module, so the extra resolution is a bonus for added detail. Colour representation and depth of field was generally good compared to many other tablets I’ve tried in the past, although there was a fair bit of noise when zooming in on the final images.

The white balance is a bit off though sadly, so outdoor shots tend to be overexposed, as does bright light indoors, which is evident in the sample images below.

It’s more a criticism of the screen and camera app that when viewing before taking a shot, the representation is also quite grainy. The final image is much sharper than what you see on screen beforehand, which is worth bearing in mind. A single tap of the screen takes an image rather than the tap-to-focus option available in many smartphones. There is also noticeable lag in trying to get a good focus, not helped by the grainy image.

If you’re comfortable taking pictures on the Iconia though, and battle through the camera interface, then the final results are pretty pleasing. A selection are below:

Decent depth of field with a close up subject

Acer Iconia W511 image 1

White balance is off however smooth transition through the reds

Acer Iconia W511 image 2

Completely overexposed sky, but otherwise good detail and colour depth

Acer Iconia W511 image 3
All shots taken at 8.0 MP (4:3).

Also available 4.9 MP (4:3), 2.1 MP (16:9), 1.9 MP (4:3), 1.2 MP (4:3), 0.9 MP (16:9), 0.3 MP (4:3)

Full HD 1080p 16:9 video recording is present too. Again results are what you would expect, although the microphone makes for quite a tinny sound.  Other recording resolutions 720p (16:9), 540p (16:9), 480p (4:3), 360p (16:9), 252p (16:9).

Connectivity

There’s a host of options in the Iconia W511, befitting a truly mobile device. Alongside the expected dual frequency a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, you can also find an up to date Bluetooth 4.0 LE stack and NFC for all the one touch pairing accessories which are being released in force from a number of manufacturers.

The W511 also includes an embedded GSM module so you can utilise mobile data at 3G speeds. The slot takes a full size SIM card and supports the 850/900/1800/1900 frequency bands.

Next to the SIM slot you’ll also find a micro SD card slot for up to 64 GB expandable storage as well as a micro HDMI connector (cable not included) and a micro USB 2.0 port. Acer include a short micro USB (male) to USB (female) in the box so you can use standard USB peripherals easily. A hassle perhaps to keep with you all the time if you need the USB connectivity on the go but a small compromise to keep the tablet streamlined. If you have the keyboard dock with you then an extra full size USB is present here; the only extra port added by the accessory.

Battery

Battery life is simply fantastic, a combination of the generous cell included in the tablet (and the dock) as well as low power consumption of the Atom chipset. The main battery is a 3580 mAh cell which easily provides around 7-9 hours depending on your usage. That’s decent by itself and is extended to effectively double with a fully charged docking station. Acer’s factory sticker on the front boasts 18 hours and with moderate use that’s a fairly accurate estimate.

Unlock most higher powered laptops, you shouldn’t need to be taking the charger out and about with you in case you get caught short during the day. Speaking of the charger – it looks more like a phone charger than a laptop, a single mains adapter with a hardwire into a proprietary connector. It delivers 1.5 A of current which is enough power to charge the device at a decent rate when idle.

Annoyingly though when you’re actually using the device, this relatively low power output means the device barely registers any charge at all, simply drinking most of the power as it comes in. You can play with your brightness settings etc. to compensate but really the point of plugging in other than to charge is so you’ve got a power boost and don’t have to worry about such things. Also, unless I had a faulty charger, this thing gets seriously hot after being plugged in a for any length of time. If this is indicative of all W511 chargers then it’s likely due to the huge power drain relative to what the charger provides. It’s not dangerously hot but it was cause for concern.

Acer_Iconia_Windows_Tabletc

Conclusion

With emerging product categories you always have to be wary drawing total conclusions as there is generally little else to provide a firm comparison. That said, Microsoft’s own Surface Pro was the original device in this sector and is now onto to its second generation. Hybrids aren’t yet mature but I think they can safely be called established now, so where does the Iconia W511 sit amongst it’s peers?

Without wanting to sit on the fence too much, the answer is smack bang in the middle, especially priced at about £600 inc. VAT. A 64 GB Surface Pro and Type Cover 2 will set you back about £100-150 more but is netting you significantly more power with a Core i5 processor and 4 GB RAM. A customised Dell Latitude 10 with Windows 8 Pro has the same processor / RAM configuration for £540 – but no option for a dedicated dock meaning you have to depend on USB/Bluetooth accessories for a keyboard/mouse.

Considering the inclusion of the dock then, the price point is very reasonable and attractive in comparison to the likes of Surface Pro. If you’re a light browser and worker looking for something more portable than a traditional laptop, whilst still helping productivity then the Iconia W511 might just fit your niche. For most though, this will be one to pass over for either a more capable standard laptop, or a hybrid with more oomph either now or in the New Year.

The Acer Iconia is available to order from Clove Technology HERE 

This review is based on using the ICONIA_W511P-27602G06iss model number

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