The form factor of a laptop can’t change much – or so we thought. Acer’s Iconia Touchbook evidently turns laptop design on its head by skipping the physical keyboard and including two touchscreens.
The Touchbook has two 14-inch touchscreen displays – both have a resolution of 1366 x 768 with 10-finger multi-touch functionality and scratch resistant Gorilla Glass (the same tough glass found on many cellphones).
Acer has managed to make both displays accurate and responsive. The notebook has a matte metal finish on the top lid that gives it a premium look. Strangely, the bottom cover of the notebook is just fixed on with two locks on either side – like a cellphone battery cover. When opened, it bares the internal components of the notebook -RAM, harddrive and the battery. The cover could fall off if not fixed properly and we’re not too sure about how much extra dust and lint will make its way inside.
Another major problem with the Touchbook is that it’s very heavy for a 14-inch notebook. At over 2.8kg, it’s not exactly a laptop that everyone would like to carry around. For specs, it has the first generation Intel Core i5 processor running at 2.5Ghz with 4GB DDR3 RAM and Intel HD 3000 graphics. At this price, Intel HD 3000 graphics was a let down. Not only does it turn out to be a limiting factor in synthetic benchmarks, it spoils any chances of the Touchbook being used for gaming.
For ports and connectivity, there is USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI out, VGA out as well as a 1.3MP webcam with integrated mic. In the Windows Experience Index the notebook scored 3.9 with the graphics getting the lowest score.
Full HD videos ran smoothly, but gaming was limited to the basic Counter Strike CZ graphics. Coming to the usability, the Touchbook by default starts with an on screen keyboard with a touchpad on the bottom screen (resembling a normal notebook). The onscreen keyboard works surprisingly well, registering multiple button presses with ease and it just takes a few minutes to get used to. As the lower display is just an extended second display, it can be used to run select application (like one large single display). This is where Acer’s intuitive ring interface comes in handy. Simply by placing 5 fingers on the lower display, the Acer ring can be initiated, which includes various applications to enable better usage of the device – like a touch browser, and image editor.
These apps utilise both the displays to provide a larger working area. Since the touch keyboard will the most commonly used tool, there is a dedicated button on the left hinge to launch the keyboard.
Another issue that came up is the battery life. The Touchbook was able to provide just around 2 hours of backup – obviously because of the increased drain of dual touchscreens.
Acer should have worked to provide a better battery backup from this device. In the end, the Iconia Touchbook becomes more of a lifestyle & exclusivity statement.
It will surely grab eyeballs and will be a great conversation starter, but at `70,000 there won’t be many who would want a device like this just to show-off. It’s an interesting innovation, but we think the flaws outnumber the aesthetics & exclusivity.
Price: Rs 69,999
Features Rating: ***
Cons: Weak battery life, heavy, no dedicated graphics