Acer Aspire Z3-600: another Windows all-in-one that dreams of being a tablet

The release of Windows 8 in 2012 has inspired many top PC makers to embrace a new form-factor - an all-in-one that can also be used away from a desk as a really large standalone tablet. It began with Sony and its Vaio Tap 20 for the launch of Windows 8 and since then Lenovo, Dell and HP have all introduced their own entries in this sub-genre of PCs.

Today, it's Acer's turn at bat as it announced plans to release the Aspire Z3-600. The 21.5-inch Windows 8.1 touchscreen PC has a 1080p display and a hinge in the back that allows it to stand up on its own for use on a desk or table. However, the hinge can be adjusted so that it retracts into the main body. This allows the Aspire Z3-600 to be used as a big tablet with a battery life of 2.5 hours. It also contains built-in gesture controls to let users control a number of common PC functions by moving their hands.

Inside, the Acer Aspire Z3-600 will have an Intel Pentium J2850 quad core processor, Intel HD Graphics and 4GB of DDR3 dual-channel memory. There will be storage options that go up to a 750GB hard drive. The PC will go on sale later in December with a starting price of $779.

Source: Acer | Image via Acer

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Apparently the point of the article (as opposed to the point of the hardware) is that any touch-screen device running Windows 8 is an attempt at a tablet because of the StartScreen. Never mind that the StartScreen can be used without one - or even without a pointing device at all; unless it includes a pointing device, it's an attempt at a tablet if it has any sort of GUI. However, what does it say about Android and iOS - a pair of operating systems that were decidedly designed around touch form-factors, but can be used without them? Or HP's TouchSmart series of touch-screen AIOs (which predate Windows 8) which include not just touch-screen displays, but wireless USB keyboards and pointing devices?

Sensationalism.

21.5 inch tablet LOL. May be then my 60 inch tv will be tablet too if it comes with a touchscreen. Personally never liked Acer. I liked ASUS better but I think they should change the brand name from ASUS to something else. ASUS seems awkward.

Auditor said,
21.5 inch tablet LOL. May be then my 60 inch tv will be tablet too if it comes with a touchscreen. Personally never liked Acer. I liked ASUS better but I think they should change the brand name from ASUS to something else. ASUS seems awkward.

If your TV had a built in battery, a touchscreen etc and a programmable OS then yes it could qualify as a tablet. Size is not a limiting factor for a tablet, all of those things your TV lacks are. Why even make that comparison? Its stupid.

McKay said,

If your TV had a built in battery, a touchscreen etc and a programmable OS then yes it could qualify as a tablet. Size is not a limiting factor for a tablet, all of those things your TV lacks are. Why even make that comparison? Its stupid.

There is no international standardization code for the definition of tablet. General understanding on the definition of tablet is that it is portable device with touch interface. Size is one of the limiting factor because that is how we distinguish between smartphone and tablet. I can say more to enlighten your knowledge about tablet but I am in no mood right now. You can live with your 60 inch tablet land LOL.

Auditor said,

There is no international standardization code for the definition of tablet. General understanding on the definition of tablet is that it is portable device with touch interface. Size is one of the limiting factor because that is how we distinguish between smartphone and tablet. I can say more to enlighten your knowledge about tablet but I am in no mood right now. You can live with your 60 inch tablet land LOL.

A tablet is a portable computer which accepts input through a touchscreen. This computer fits that bill, your TV does not.

How you distinguish between a tablet and a phone is one connects to a cell network and makes voice calls over the cellular network, a tablet does not. There is no rigid guideline stating a tablet computer may not exceed a certain screen size.

McKay said,

A tablet is a portable computer which accepts input through a touchscreen. This computer fits that bill, your TV does not.

How you distinguish between a tablet and a phone is one connects to a cell network and makes voice calls over the cellular network, a tablet does not. There is no rigid guideline stating a tablet computer may not exceed a certain screen size.

That was my point, portability. So do you think a 21.5 inch screen is portable enough to be called a tablet. You can certainly move it around if some one is determined, similar to you can move 60 inch TV around to classify it as portable.

Do you know Playbook tablet, 7 inch screen, also comes in 4G cellular connection. Will you call it a smartphone or tablet? As per your definition it will be smartphone.

I like the idea of a portable AIO but they're a bit ahead of their time. Every single one of these "portable" AIOs have two things in common. They're heavy and they have terrible battery life. Something like this needs a mobile chip so it can be lightweight and actually portable. Furthermore, the price of SSDs need to come down dramatically so people can afford more storage. Sure Bay Trail can power a 1080p machine like this, but anyone spending $779 for an AIO will likely use it as their main machine, then Bay Trail falls way short of being a true desktop replacement.

Figure 8 Dash has a point. Current AIO's are big and relatively heavy. Should OLED's come down in cost, with processors getting thinner and more powerful (a 5 watt AMD A10 would be nice), and 500-GB Samsung 840 EVO's weighing 50 grams the total weight could drop to under 5 pounds within a few years. Of course, the first truly thin and light AIO's are likely to be quite pricey.

Figure 8 Dash said,
I like the idea of a portable AIO but they're a bit ahead of their time. Every single one of these "portable" AIOs have two things in common. They're heavy and they have terrible battery life. Something like this needs a mobile chip so it can be lightweight and actually portable. Furthermore, the price of SSDs need to come down dramatically so people can afford more storage. Sure Bay Trail can power a 1080p machine like this, but anyone spending $779 for an AIO will likely use it as their main machine, then Bay Trail falls way short of being a true desktop replacement.

Hence why ARM processors were invented.

chrisj1968 said,

Hence why ARM processors were invented.

ARM was NOT invented for low power devices.

It is worth noting that ARM may or may not continue to be the low power leading architecture.

ARM has been hitting walls with regard to performance vs power in the last couple of years, hence the introduction of ARMv8 which gives up a more pure RISC design by adding in CISC.

The AMD APU and Intel Atom line of processors are not yet as efficient as ARM, but they are still faster when dealing with more complex software. AMD and Intel can yet bridge this power consumption gap and still retain their performance advantage.


However, it does appear that ARM is willing to move forward to remain competitive. With ARMv8 they were able to break from their purist ideals in providing the technology necessary to confront walls their RISC design was hitting.

How do these Pentium processors compare to Baytrail Atom and Haswell Core processors? I'm waiting for Dell to refresh the XPS 18 with haswell and hdmi output.

Mortis said,
A 21.5'' tablet? You must be joking. Yes, this looks like a nice all-in-one, but a tablet... hell, no.

How about thinking of it like a family all-in-one PC, that you can place on a coffee table to play games with your family.

These devices can fill new areas of computing that don't fit old models. Think of puzzles or board games where several users can participate.

Yeah, with a 2.5 hour battery life it's kind of impractical as a tablet. I wouldn't mind having a huge tablet for around the house, but more like 14" or 16" and at least 4-5 hours of battery life.

It is more like a PC that is just really easy to move around the house for varied purposes.

thomastmc said,
Yeah, with a 2.5 hour battery life it's kind of impractical as a tablet. I wouldn't mind having a huge tablet for around the house, but more like 14" or 16" and at least 4-5 hours of battery life.

It is more like a PC that is just really easy to move around the house for varied purposes.

The key is 'around the house'. If someone wanted to use this on a coffee table as a family device, finding 'power' in a 'house' should not be an issue.

There are people that would love to have an original 'surface' type device that is the size of a table, that is what these 'tablets' are offering, yet with mobility to be used anywhere in the house.

If this was released as much 'bigger' device that wasn't easy to move around, people would complain as well.

This type of 'tablet' is more the form factor of how it is used with ease of portability, it is not designed to be held in one hand and browse the web.

apart from the sub-par processor, this looks right to me. 1080p, win8.1, touch screen, portable, big (I'm getting tired of small tablets - I have a 5in smartphone; why would I want a 7in tablet?) and the price seems reasonable for what it is. I just hope their QC went up over the years cuz last time I checked, they made horrible stuff hardware-wise.