Acer Aspire P3 hybrid: best of two worlds

Acer has come up with an interesting hybrid in the Aspire P3, combining the lightweight but sturdy features of an Ultrabook with the advantages of a tablet -- a useful combo for those who both creators and consumers of content.

At 1.3 kilograms and 0.77-inches thickness combined with the battery friendly performance that was the USP of the Ultrabook design ( with an Intel Core i5 processor), the P3 allows you to do all the usual PC-centric tasks of a Windows 8 machine. Software add-ons include Skype, Amazon Kindle, and Acer Cloud and Nero Backitup as well as trail versions of MS Office and McAfee Internet Security Suite.

The 11.6-inch touch screen has a maximum resolution of 1366-by-768 which means 720p HD and not full HD -- something of a disappointment and rather surprising considering what contemporary machines in this category offer. I own Acer's Aspire One Netbook -- a two year old machine -- and am used to full HD even in this cheaper, smaller product

There is a 720p HD camera at the top of the screen plus a rear-facing five-megapixel camera -- which is useful -- and the two small speakers with the Dolby Home Theatre software belt out an agreeably loud sound.

The keyboard for those who want to be faster, more productive than the tablet-style virtual keys will allow, is wirelessly connected via Bluetooth -- and it locks into the display module instantly -- saving at least one messy USB wired connection. However I would have liked a touchpad with the keypad. I am always surprised when manufacturers go to the trouble of providing a keypad for those who don't want to navigate via touch, but forget that you usually use a mouse with a keyboard on desktops.

If you want to use the P3 in its tablet avatar, you just slide the display section out of the holder -- I think this is a good design feature compared to some competitor hybrids where you need to swivel back the keyboard. Acer's documentation claims that the display is a 10-point touch screen, but I encountered some minor touch insensitivity -- possibly this would have been solved if I had done a little calibration to my touch.

The Aspire P3 starts from Rs 67,999, which you may consider worth your while for the option of two distinct user modes.

-- Anand Parthasarathy/ December 27 2013