Acer W510. Is Clovertrail Enough for Mobile Content Creation? [Updated]

Posted on 20 February 2013 by



There’s no question that the Acer W510 is now stable enough, has huge amounts of battery power and is portable enough to be a real advantage for a mobile blogger but is it good enough in other departments, namely CPU, storage and keyboard? Can this 1300gm dockable do the business?

[Update below]

The Acer W510 is an Intel Clovertrail-based tablet with docking keyboard and battery. Not only is the tablet very efficient at running Windows 8 but there’s a total of 60Wh of battery in total, equivalent to a good 6-cell on a netbook. That’s a huge amount for such a small device and combined with super efficiency and Connected Standby is means there should be absolutely no need for a power cable during a 16hours period of working – typical for the sort of trade-show working I’m thinking of next week at MWC in Barcelona.

But is it comfortable enough? Under the pressure of having to get videos and blog posts out as soon as possible is the keyboard and CPU combination – a borderline one at the best of times – going to cause me to, well, lose productiity? Or is the portability and battery life going to be worth the potentially longer video rendering times, the raised stress levels when typing and the annoyance at applications that don’t start up immediately. The Wi-Fi isn’t professional-grade either!

There are other things to think about too.

Ethernet – You want to be able to connect via cable to get those videos up as quickly as possible. Solution – USB Ethernet cable. I’m using it right now!

3G – Built-in 3G would be really good. The W511 has it but I really can’t afford to trade-up right now. The good old MiFi unit, tied to a battery pack, will have to do 3G duties.

Cam – Forget using a cam on any tablet for good quality YouTube videos. There’s no zoom, no stabilisation and generally very poor optics. Even my Nokia 808 isn’t good enough. You need mechanical stabilisation if you want to shoot products in low-light so I’ll be using my tried and tested Panasonic FZ150 bridge camera. It’s been fantastic over the last year or so.

SD card slot – An SD card slot is a must-have for all my PCs but the W510 doesn’t have one. It has a Micro-SD slot but that’s not going to help with the 16GB SD card I’ve got in the FZ150. The only answer is a USB SD card adaptor, and the mini USB cable adaptor that was supplied with the Acer W510. There’s room for problems here so I’ll take the USB cable for the camera too.

Storage – I’ve got some clearing up to do. 20Gb free space should be enough though as I don’t archive original video footage once it’s uploaded to YouTube.

Is there a better solution than the ASUS W510? Ye I believe there is in the 11.6” Clovertrail devices that have docking keyboard with additional battery capacity. The HP Envy x2 and ASUS Vivo Tab Smart are are two on my list but I haven’t got either of those so the W510 it is.

Here’s the software pack I need.

  • Twitter client – Tweetro+
  • Basic photo management and editing – Live Gallery
  • Video editing – Power Director 10 (with a tailored 720 profile)
  • Website management – Desktop browser, SSH client
  • Podcasts – Skype and Audactiy
  • Offline Blogging – Live Writer
  • Mail and other tools – Desktop browser

At the end of the day though I’m here to test, to learn and to tell you what works and what doesn’t. I plan to work a full day tomorrow with the W510 and then make a final decision on whether it should be my MWC reporting PC.

Any thoughts on  the setup?

More mobile reporting kits here.

Update: After a few hours going hard with the keyboard I’ve decided the W510 isn’t working out. Not only does the mousepad have the well-know hardware issue but I’m getting occasional repeated keys. Every praragraph or so one of the keys characters will repeat on the screen between 10 and 20 times! The Acer W510 needs to go back but the good news is that I had some luck exchanging the Samsung ATIV 500T today. I upgraded to 3G too. This is the device i’ll be testing all day tomorrow. Already I know that the keyboard and mouse (which includes multitouch gestures) is way more comfortable than the W510. In fact it’s pretty much exactly the same keyboard as you get on a Samsung Series5 Ultrabook. I get on really well with that keyboard so fingers crossed. More on my Samsung ATIV 500T testing here. 

11 Comments For This Post

  1. jjrdias says:

    I think the next-gen Atom processors will be much better when it comes to video content creation. I really like the current Atom based W8 devices, but consider them more targeted to content consumption than creation. If we were strictly speaking of written-blogging, I suspect the current devices will be adequate, if not optimal. Still, the allure of extended battery stamina vis-à-vis Core based platforms is undeniable.

  2. Mike Cane says:

    It will be interesting to see what you eventually use.

  3. Marauderz says:

    I guess it’s too late for you to order this compact USB OTG connector now, but it’s a good alternative from the cable when you don’t want things to dangle around.

    http://www.marauderzstuff.com/PermaLink,guid,3d4bd15f-e0f0-4bc5-a7ef-82784fbb01f2.aspx

  4. MobileHG says:

    I was kind of in the situation when I went to CES. Wasn’t sure if I would bring the W510. In the end I brought my Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T and the Acer W510. My plan was to leave the ATIV 700T at the Hotel the first day and carry the W510 with me. Well it worked out for me for the rest of the show and carried the W510 because of long battery life. I did a few videos with it, but the ATIV 700T would have been much faster. The ATIV 700T was much heavier with keyboard dock and maybe I could have used it all day. I was also responding to emails and working on some documents back to the office. My needs might not be like yours, as you will be doing more video stuff. As for blogging and writing the Acer W510 will perform good. Also not having full USB like the ATIV 700T and the 500T was a bit on the negative side but I brought along the USB dongle.

    Will be interesting what you will take.

  5. Selazhar says:

    I’d imagine this type of device is geared toward students. Would be a good idea for you to do research, write up, light image editing, power point works, and youtube videos during break (which would occur about most of the time in the life of a student, lol)

  6. Chippy says:

    Thanks Maruaderz. Thats a neat solution.

    MobileHG, positive!

    I’m testing now:

    https://twitter.com/chippy/status/304207814237229057

  7. Chippy says:

    Early feedback is, as I had written about weeks ago but wanted to to re-test – the keyboard is a real problem for me. I’ve been using Ultrabooks for the last year so i’ve lost the skill of being able to use a 10″ keyboard. I’m also getting that random repeated keypress problem. I’m already saying ‘no’ to this keyboard.
    The platform, I can live with. The keyboard, I need to send it back for an exchange.

    Am taking back an ATIV 500T today. That has a much nicer keyboard but only half the battery capacity. That could mean having to take the charger. However, there is a 3G version in stock and I quite like that pen!

  8. peejay says:

    Oh no, Chippy, you’ve lost your ultra-mobile fingers! No longer able to type on a netbook, let alone a Samsung Q1 or an Everun!

    Seriously, there’s a question of what “productivity” means. Since you’re wanting to do videos, then Clover Trail is clearly going to be challenged. But it isn’t going to be challenged doing word processing, or (most) spreadsheeting, or (most) Powerpointing, etc.

    In those usage scenarios, the issue for productivity is the screen and keyboard, ie the form factor and how successfully it is implemented, rather than Clover Trail itself.

    I hope your keyboard is faulty, and it isn’t really your fingers.

  9. animatio says:

    some software suggestions in addition to yours, i use for years now on netbooks.
    graphics
    - xnview (viewer, management, optimization)
    - photofiltre if clipping & combining is needed
    - office : softmaker free office 2012
    sd card: why not buying mini cards that come ready with an adapter for standard sd slots (no extra usb drve needed). succes

  10. Chippy says:

    I’ve decided that the Acer W510 keyboard I have (it’s in need of hardware help) isn’t going to cut it. The Clovertrail Challenge continues though because I’ve managed to get my Samsung ATIV 500T upgraded and corrected.
    http://www.umpcportal.com/2013/02/samsung-ativ-500t-smartpc-update-working-dock-3g-gps-and-nfc/

    Chippy.

  11. Chippy says:

    @animato
    Thanks for the tips. I won’t be using microSD cards as they’re too small to be swapping-out 20 times per day (as i’m planning.)

    As for software:

    Windows Live Gallery does exactly what I need in terms of optimizing images for size and post-production. It links with my gallery for uploads too. I’ve been using it for years and probably won’t change it until it stops working.

    For office work I use Google Docs. I don’t have any Pro requirements or offline requirements. For offline word processing I use Live Writer which links to my sites.

    Keep the tips coming though because i’m only one reader here!

    Chippy.