Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Acer's Aspire P3 Ultrabook is an 11.6in tablet with a folio-style keyboard case

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Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook
  • Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook
  • Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook
  • Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5
  • User Rating

    5.00 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Solid tablet
  • Vibrant screen
  • Good performance

Cons

  • Feels a little clumsy with keyboard case attached
  • Keyboard case lacks a hole for the rear-facing camera

Bottom Line

Acer's Aspire P3 makes for a very good Windows 8 tablet on its own, but the keyboard case that turns it into an Ultrabook could use some refinement.

Would you buy this?

The Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 Ultrabook is predominantly a tablet that is slim, sturdy and feels good to hold. It's got a potent configuration packed in behind its screen, which includes an Intel Core i5 CPU and fast solid state storage. Basically, you can use this tablet for more than just basic content consumption tasks; you can use it as a content creation tool.

A solid tablet

The Aspire P3 is an 800-gram tablet with an 11.6in screen that supports a native resolution of 1366x768. This resolution, coupled with the default setting of 125 per cent magnification in Windows' Display Properties, makes icons and other features of the Windows Desktop look large and easy to tap on. The disadvantage of the default magnification is that it makes some application windows run off the bottom edge of the screen. Using 100 per cent magnification fixes this and it still keeps the screen touch-friendly, in our opinion.

We found the screen's touch-sensing capability to be accurate and responsive (it supports 10 simultaneous inputs), and we had no problems navigating around the Start screen or the Windows desktop with it. We were able to use the screen at any orientation without any issues; it has suitable brightness and contrast, and also wide viewing angles, making it a good screen for viewing photos.

Around the edges of the tablet, you don't get much, and this is perhaps understandable considering the tablet's slender 10mm thickness and small frame. You get one USB 3.0 port on the left side, in addition to a micro-HDMI port, and there is a headset port on the right side. Buttons include power, volume and screen rotation lock, and the power button is sometimes too easy to inadvertently press when manoeuvring the tablet. The build of the tablet is strong, and it's a unit that feels good to hold in the hand, mainly because it's not very thick.

The left side has the USB 3.0 port and the micro-HDMI port. An adapter for a VGA output is supplied in the box, and that can plug into the micro-HDMI port.
The left side has the USB 3.0 port and the micro-HDMI port. An adapter for a VGA output is supplied in the box, and that can plug into the micro-HDMI port.

The right side has the headset port, power button, rotatoin lock and volume controls.
The right side has the headset port, power button, rotatoin lock and volume controls.

The vents do a good job of keeping the tablet cool. It does get a little warm when the CPU is doing hard work, and some fan activity will be noticeable. You can't feel much warmth at all when the keyboard case is attached and folded over.
The vents do a good job of keeping the tablet cool. It does get a little warm when the CPU is doing hard work, and some fan activity will be noticeable. You can't feel much warmth at all when the keyboard case is attached and folded over.

The folio-style keyboard case

Acer actually calls this tablet an Ultrabook, and that's because it ships with a keyboard case that still keeps within the thickness specification for Ultrabooks when it's closed. Indeed, with the keyboard case attached and closed over the tablet screen, the thickness is only 14mm. It's not the best keyboard solution though. For starters, the tablet has both front and rear-facing cameras, yet the case, which clips onto the tablet, doesn't have a hole for the rear camera.

As far as the design of the keyboard case is concerned, it works in a similar fashion to the Kensington Keyboard Folio for the iPad. It folds in the same way to hide the keyboard behind the screen when you want to use the device purely as a tablet, and the tablet just rests in an upright position on the keyboard when you want to use it as a makeshift notebook. The keyboard feels good to type on thanks to large keys and adequate spacing, and it's much better to type on than devices such as LG's Tab-Book, for example, but it feels a lot more flimsy than that type of solution, which has the screen and keyboard parts attaches permanently.

The Aspire P3 sitting up in its folio-style case.
The Aspire P3 sitting up in its folio-style case.

Because the tablet just rests on the keyboard base and can't be secured to it when upright, you have to remember that you can't just pick up the Aspire P3 from the keyboard base when you want to move it. If you do, the whole tablet has the potential to just drop back or forward. We tried this a couple of times, and the case did manage to hold the tablet secure, even when we left it dangling upside-down, but it's not something you should willingly do.

What holds the tablet in the keyboard folio case is a rigid frame that has no easy-release mechanism, but a series of clips instead. It makes the case very hard to remove. Basically, it's a case that you need to put on and leave on. It's not designed to be attached and removed on a regular basis, and you'll find this out if you ever try to remove it. It's very difficult to do so and will most likely require the services of a strong, flat implement — don't use your fingers as you might get injured.

You can fold the tablet down over the keyboard when you want to use it as purely as a tablet, but the keyboard is not removable from the rest of the folio case and it's still active when used this way. If you press down on the screen too much, it can press a key and cause an inadvertent action to occur. It's a Bluetooth keyboard, and there is a power button for it, so you'll need to remember to switch it off when you want to use the Aspire P3 as a tablet. It has a USB port for charging.

When the keyboard case is attached, the Aspire P3 is a bit of clumsy-feeling tablet. Here you can see there is slot on the left side for an optional pen, too.
When the keyboard case is attached, the Aspire P3 is a bit of clumsy-feeling tablet. Here you can see there is slot on the left side for an optional pen, too.

When the case is attached, the tablet feels very clumsy and thick (and it's noticeably heavier at about 1.4kg), mainly because of the way it folds down over it and creates more space between the tablet and keyboard. It's not as elegant a solution as the Microsoft Surface, for example, which as a thinner keyboard that folds all the way around and a built-in kick-stand when you want to use it as a notebook, nor some of the other hybrid solutions we've seen, such as Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix, which has a removable keyboard base. Nevertheless, you get used to it; it just doesn't feel as agile as it should for a lightweight tablet.

Stand-out performance

The real stand-out feature of the Aspire P3 is its performance. The 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y CPU (third generation), 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and a 128GB solid state drive (SSD), ensure that the system is zippy and responsive. This was noticeable during our prolonged testing period. Web browsers and other applications launched quickly, especially regularly-used applications, and we were only sometimes left feeling frustrated when seldom-used applications took a few seconds to launch.

You can use this tablet effectively as a content creation tool, and its performance in our benchmarks backs this up. It recorded 1min 8sec in our Blender 3D rendering task, 1min 18sec in our iTunes MP3 encoding test, and 33min 16sec our Handbrake DVD-to-MP4 file conversion test. All of these times are a little slow compared to most conventional Ultrabooks, but they are still very good for such a mobile device.

In 3DMark06 it got 3219, while in the latest 3DMark it recorded 21595 for the Ice Storm test, 2390 for the Cloud Gate test and 317 for the Fire Strike test. While it can't be used to crunch 3D graphics in many modern desktop games, it will do just fine with many games downloaded from the Windows Store.

Storage is handled by a 128GB Toshiba SSD, which has a formatted capacity of 118GB. It produced good results in CrystalDiskMark: 501 megabytes per second (MBps) for reading data, and 315MBps for writing. This drive was a major contributor to the overall zippiness of the tablet during our everyday usage.

Battery life is a mixed bag. In our usual test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the tablet recorded 4hr 17min. For a tablet device, it seems like a short time. However, you have to take into account that it's basically a tablet with a notebook-like configuration that can be used for real work; comparatively speaking, it's a good time. You can always get more from it if you employ a power management plan and a lower screen brightness, but it will depend on what tasks you're running and how much of the CPU they consume, too.

Conclusion

Other features of the Acer Aspire P3 include dual-band Wi-Fi (an Atheros AR5BMD222 adapter is installed, which produced very fast results with our TP-Link N600 test router), and it also has Bluetooth.

Purely as a Windows 8 tablet, the Aspire P3 is a very good one. It felt comfortable to use, it was responsive to our touch inputs and its performance was swift. With the keyboard folio case attached, it can feel a little bit too heavy and clumsy to use as a tablet, but it does supply a more-than-decent typing experience when you rest it on a desk. We just wish the design of this folio case was a little different in order to make the P3 feel better when used as a tablet, and also that it had a hole to allow the main camera to be used.

Related Windows 8 laptop reviews:

HP Envy 17 notebook
Sony VAIO Pro Ultrabook
Sony VAIO S Series Ultrabook
Toshiba KIRA Ultrabook
Gigabyte U2442F Extreme Ultrabook
Toshiba Satellite P870 notebook
Medion Akoya E6232 (MD 99222) notebook
Dell Inspiron 17R notebook
Acer Aspire V5 touchscreen laptop
Toshiba Satellite P840 touchscreen notebook
MSI GT70 Dragon Edition gaming notebook
ASUS VivoBook S400C touchscreen Ultrabook
Samsung Ativ Smart PC 500T hybrid tablet
Venom Blackbook Windows 8 gaming notebook
Sony VAIO Duo 11 Windows 8 tablet
ASUS VivoTab 810 Windows 8 tablet
Lenovo ThinkPad Twist (3347-3EM)
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T (XE700T1C-A02AU)
HP Envy X2 hybrid PC
HP Envy Touchsmart 4 Ultrabook
Toshiba Satellite L850 Windows 8 laptop
ASUS Taichi 21 Windows 8 hybrid Ultrabook
Medion Akoya S4216 (MD 99081) Windows 8 Ultrabook
Toshiba Satellite U920T hybrid Ultrabook
Dell XPS 12 convertible Ultrabook
ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook
Acer Aspire S7 touchscreen Ultrabook

Alternative Windows tablet product reviews

LG Tab-Book Z160 hybrid tablet
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook
Acer Iconia W700 Windows 8 tablet
Microsoft Surface Pro tablet
ASUS Vivo Tab RT Windows Tablet
Microsoft Surface RT

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Read more on these topics: ultrabooks, tablets, acer

hungry joe

1

Of course, they won't even hint at the price, because of possible lawsuits from the families of those who may go into cardiac arrest.

charlie bagio

2

my problem is how to use the front camera of my aspirep3. the acer crytal eye work but in some activities the camera apps does'nt work? what should I do?

Bella

3

can I use this acer p3 while charging? Does it reduce the performance or will affect the battery life?

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Stan

5.0

1

Pros
The Screen size and brightnerss Price - 4gb ram -120gb ssd drive P3 171
Cons
Can not use the main camera when in case
• • •

Had the Acer P3 171 for about a month, For the Price ($650.oo Amazon) can not beat it. While other Tablet/Ultrabooks will have other options the P3 will do the Job and when considering you could get two for the price of one (surface pro 2 with 120gb ssd drive) what's to consider? Things I would have done would include a connector that would connect by itself when in the keyboard case.(you have to connect the tablet with the case\keyboard to charge the Bluetooth keyboard. But that's not a show stopper. As other reviews have noted an additional USB 3.0 would work better but again not a show stopper. Use a major credit card and you can get the 1 year warrenty entended to 2 years. (check with you card for this) All you need to do is visit Best Buy and find a tablet pc or Ultrabook with 4gigs of ram and a 120gb ssd drive with a case/keyboard and you will leave knowing the value of the Acer P3 for the price. Any of the Tablets/Ultrabooks will come with the own short commings and there price. For the price I'll give it 4.5 - 5 Stars

Dr. Suresh N. Kannan

4.5

2

Pros
Brilliant display, light in weight (without the keypad), slim in design
Cons
Difficult to remove the tablet from the keypad housing.
• • •

Works well for presentation purpose. The micro HDMI to VGA adapter does a good job (no loss in graphic quality). Ideal for those who have to be mobile and having to do presentation, e.g sales personnel, lecturers & trainers.

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