It has been almost a year since CES 2011 has passed and we are excited to announce that one of the products used in Steve Ballmers keynote this year will be making it back to CES 2012 as a blogging tool for Binary Wasteland. Seeing as this game is no fair, given the title and all, we are excited to take the Acer Iconia 6886 Touchbook for a spin. We were hesitant at first to try this as two screens for a developer makes sense but does two touch screens with no actual physical keyboard make sense? This is on of the many questions we will answer as we put the Acwr Iconia 6886 through its paces and give a detailed developers review. If your mouth was watering after the two dual touch screens, look below for the full review.
To be completely honest, when we took a look at the hardware specifications before receiving the device we were somewhat hesitant as it seemed to be utilizing a lot of last years technology. With the Intel Core i5-480M processor being a first generation i5 and the DDR3 SDRAM using the lowest bus speeds we were unsure how development would go on this device. Binary Wasteland is here to clear the air as development in ANY IDE is fast and snappy. We took out the included 4GB that were included with the device and replaced them with 2 x 4GB models from . This of course didn’t hurt keeping the device up to speed but for an everyday developer 4GB would suffice. The included 640GB HDD is more than enough space to get started with although if you don’t know this by now, we are fans of overkill and have perused the web and found a 1TB HDD for when our ICONIA dips below the halfway mark and keep in mind if space is not your issue but speed is, a solid state drive in this bad boy would really make this bad boy hum to whatever tune you would like. Three USB ports on the device is not terrible but we greatly enjoyed having a USB 3.0 slot on the right hand side for the coming and current wave of USB 3.0 devices. The battery is a 4-Cell Lithium-Ion 3000 mAh battery that when we tested it running some TV shows we needed to catch up on it lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes on a balanced power setting over the boasted 3 hours of battery life. This is still not bad and is definitely better than what we are used to with an Acer Laptop and considering this device has two touch screens to power. The only thing we would like to complain about is the weight. For a device that measures in at 32mm High, 347mm Wide and 249mm Deep we don’t feel that 6 pounds (2.80kg) is justifiable in our opinion. We understand that the device has two touch screens and instead of a distributed weight model, all of the weight is in bottom of the device but it is just on the heavy side. This does not mean to say that you wont see Binary Wasteland lugging this bad boy around at CES because we definitely will! Other than the ungodly weight factor of the device all of the other hardware specifications show us this is a developer device for whatever language you prefer.
The software on the Acer Iconia 6886 is Windows 7 Home Premium x64 bit. This is fairly standard for any computer bought to come pre-loaded with this OS but where this device really shines is the custom software that Acer has developed to run ontop of the OS. Acer has essentially designed a touch suite to run atop Windows 7 allowing for the lack of a physical keyboard and instead, a second touch screen to be acceptable. The Acer suite comes pre-loaded with a touch-specific web browser (read skinned IE), a gesture program launcher, a virtual keyboard, the Acer Ring, a touch based settings screen, journal, scrapbook and socialjogger. Each of these pieces of software bring a small peice of the puzzle together but when combined is where the magic happens. For example, I want to open Visual Studio most times when I am developing so when I touch all five fingers to the bottom screen the Acer Ring will appear allowing me to draw a “V” in the middle of the ring (which I defined as a custom gesture in the gesture editor) and Visual Studio 2010 automatically starts. These are very powerful tools for most people in comparison to the support that windows has for multi-touch.
You can hear us boast about the software and hardware but let’s be honest, nothing beats looking at some cold hard specifications. Below you will find them and we have upgraded some of the hardware to make the laptop a little more zippy(not that it is needed) and will be noted next to the original specifications.
- Operating System
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
- Processor & Chipset
Processor Manufacturer Intel Processor Type Core i5 Processor Model i5-480M Processor Speed 2.66 GHz Processor Core Dual-core (2 Core) Cache 3 MB 64-bit Processing Yes
Standard Memory 4 GB (We upgraded to 8GB) Maximum Memory 8 GB (Our Motherboard Claims 16GB Max) Memory Technology DDR3 SDRAM Memory Standard DDR3-1066/PC3-8500 Number of Total Memory Slots 2
Hard Drive Capacity 640 GB Hard Drive Interface Serial ATA Hard Drive RPM 5400
- Display & Graphics
Screen Size 14″ Display Screen Type Active Matrix TFT Color LCD Display Screen Technology CineCrystal Aspect Ratio 16:9 Backlight Technology LED Color Supported 16.7 Million Colors Touchscreen Yes TV Card No
- Network & Communication
Wi-Fi Yes Wi-Fi Standard IEEE 802.11n Bluetooth No Ethernet Technology Gigabit Ethernet
HDMI Yes Total Number of USB Ports 3 Number of USB 2.0 Ports 2 Number of USB 3.0 Ports 1 VGA Yes Network (RJ-45) Yes
- Built-in Devices
Webcam Yes Microphone Yes
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium Operating System Architecture 64-bit Software Included
- Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word and Excel® only, with advertising. No PowerPoint® or Outlook®. Buy Office 2010 to use the full-featured software.
- Bing™ Bar
- Windows Live™ Essentials
- Battery Information
Number of Cells 4-cell Battery Chemistry Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
- Power Description
Maximum Power Supply Wattage 65 W
- Physical Characteristics
Height 32 mm Width 347 mm Depth 249 mm Weight (Approximate) 2.80 kg
- ICONIA ICONIA-484G64ns Tablet PC
- Lithium Ion Battery
- AC Adapter
- Kensington Lock Slot
- BIOS Password:
Green Compliant Yes Green Compliance Certificate/Authority Energy Star
Warranty One-year limited warranty
With a dual screen touchbook who can really complain? You have the best of both worlds being able to touch when you want and when you want good old reliable, Acer has you covered with their virtual keyboard. It is true, this device will be a stretch for some to imagine it as a productive device due to the lack of a physical keyboard but after some time with the device it does become more natural. As far as development has gone, we have had no hiccups and have even tried some development on Windows 8 (Runs like a dream and the Acer suite will need some tweaking for the release of Windows 8 ) with great success. If you are looking for an edgy device that will inspire awe in those that see you typing on the virtual keyboard then this is definitely the device for you. We greatly enjoy developing on this device and would like to know your thoughts in the comments below as well as encourage a look at the gallery we have made of this device below! Until the next Review, Happy Hacking!