PDC Acer Aspire 1420P Convertible Tablet PC Review

Intro:

Those fortunate enough to attend last year’s Microsoft PDC conference had a really nice surprise waiting for them at the lobby in the second day. A free Acer Aspire 1420P Convertible Tablet PC for each PDC paying attendee. Happily I was among those fortunate and it soon become my favorite tablet, for the reasons I’ll detail below. After several months of heavy use my wife stole it from me and now it became HER favorite tablet :(.

Details:

I will not detail the aspects common to other devices in the same class, but focus on what make this convertible tablet unique. This model given to PDC attendees was customized specifically for them. Microsoft wanted to put a multi-touch device in the software developer’s hands and, as a result this convertible was specifically configured with features that won’t be available in the retail version. One of these features I assume is support for hardware virtualization.

Accelerometer: enables screen rotation depending in how you hold the tablet )portrait or landscape) in a manner similar with an iPhone.

Multi-touch screen: supports both finger touch and stylus. It doesn’t provide palm rejection technology unfortunately and in my experience, it isn’t very accurate, even after calibration.

Memory: supports up to 8GB RAM. I use mine with 4GB installed.

Battery Life: – 8 hours official, I got about 6-7 hours in practice reading eBooks or browsing the Internet.

Software Installed: Windows 7 ultimate 64bit, Corel Paint It! Touch, Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC,  Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Touch pack for Windows 7

Daily Usage Experience: While the Intel Celeron U2300 CPU included is rather weak, the machine is surprisingly responsive, especially with 4GB of RAM, partly I think due to the tweaks Microsoft guys included. The Windows score is at 3.2 lowered by the weak graphic card. The CPU scores 3.9, the memory 4.7, and the hard disk scores a very good 5.6. As a result, the device boots very quickly in Windows 7, around 40 seconds. The machine is fast enough for daily usage, and it even works really well considering its specs, compiling medium sized projects in Visual Studio 2010 beta.

Video: Even with the weak graphic chip, it manages to play 1080p content without any issues. Intel advertises the chipset as  HD video playback with full hardware decode from AVC/VC1/MPEG2. Improved HDTV connectivity with integrated HDMI and DisplayPort supporting up to 1080P.

Pros:/Cons:

Pros: Very light and surprisingly fast. Good quality display, multi-touch, 1080p h264 capability, really good battery life.

Cons: Lack of palm rejection technology when using stylus. Since it uses multi-touch technology, I wonder if this is something that can be fixed in software, in a driver update.

Gallery:

Specifications:

Operating system Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Platform Intel® Core2 Duo U2300 processor 

Mobile Intel® GS45 Express Chipset

System memory Dual-Channel SDRAM support 

•2GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory, upgradeable to 8 GB using two soDIMM modules – I  upgraded mine to 4GB

Display 11.6″ HD 1366 x 768 LED Convertible multi-touch (two points) Display
Graphics Mobile Intel® GS45 Express Chipset
Communication Integrated Acer Crystal Eye webcam 

WWAN: UMTS/HSPA at 850/900/1900/2100 MHz and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)

WLAN: Intel® WiFi Link 1000

WPAN: Bluetooth® 2.1+Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)

LAN: Gigabit Ethernet; Wake-on-LAN ready

Audio Optimized 2nd Generation Dolby® Sound Room® audio enhancement 

High-definition audio support

S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) support for digital speakers

Built-in microphone

Storage subsystem 2.5″ 250GB hard disk drive 

Multi-in-1 card reader

Privacy control BIOS user, supervisor, HDD passwords 

Kensington lock slot

Dimensions and weight 285 (W) 208.9 (D) 28.5/34.5 (H) mm (11.22 x 8.22 x 1.12/1.36 inches) 

1.72 kg (3.79 lbs.) (non-3G SKU)

I/O interface Multi-in-1 card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD), USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet

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  • Caunus

    Hi,
    I also got one at the PDC. After being back at home in Germany the touch screen was broken. I had nearly two weeks conversation with the US service. Got some dead numbers for international service. Finally I sent it to the German Acer Service end of december 2009. After waiting nearly 5 month (and making weekly calls) I got a new one last week. O.K. this was a special case (no bill, international warrenty). Never the less the service wasn’t responsive. In the meantime I got my iPad and this is more useful for touch. But the Acee is a very nice little machine.

  • ashley

    Where can I buy one. I have heard about them and was interested.But the problem is I can’t find one anywhere in the United States.

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