When is a Chromebook not a Chromebook? When it's an Acer Chromebook Tab 10, that's what. The world's first Chrome OS-powered tablet takes its operating system from the Google Chromebook line-up, but lays it out in a hands-on tablet format, complete with integrated Wacom stylus.
We got to sample the new Tab 10 at the Next @ Acer global press conference, held in New York on 23 May, to see whether it's a logical marriage of OS to format.
Design and screen
- 9.7-inch QXGA resolution (2048 x 1536) screen
- Integrated Wacom stylus pen
- 172 x 238 x 9.9mm; 544g
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- USB Type-C charging
With a lot of ultra-stunning tablets cropping up these days, the Tab 10 looks rather standard by comparison. It's a little thick and the bezels are rather large around the screen.
But it does come packed with some great features: the 9.7-inch screen is crammed with pixels, for super resolute results. That'll translate well for images, videos, and any media.
Flip the tablet over and its textured blue rear not only looks colourful and interesting, it's functional for the purpose of grip too. And neatly tucked into the corner is a little nub, which is where the integrated Wacom stylus lives.
The stylus is removed by pulling on it rather than any fancy spring mechanism - simple, eh? - and, again, is a functional solution. We'd rather the shape and scale was a little more truly pen-like, as the smoothed off edges of this little Wacom effort are a little square. Still, a handy thing to have for hand-writing - and the Tab 10 is partly aimed at schools and education.
Along the edges you'll also find a USB-C port for quick recharging, plus a 3.5mm headphones jack. In the increasingly wireless world of audio, that's definitely a handy thing to have.
Hardware and software
- Chrome OS operating system
- Google Play available for app downloads
- Both online and offline use
- 4GB RAM, 32GB storage (microSD card slot available)
- Claimed 9 hour battery life
Chrome OS has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years. When it debuted it was a largely online-only platform. Now, in 2018, it's possible to do plenty offline too, plus Google Play integration means a bevvy of apps are available for download - just as they are on an Android smartphone.
App-wise, therefore, there's a variety of games, tools and educational offerings at your fingertips. And while the Tab 10 isn't that powerful - even switching between apps in the multi-window interface saw some stuttering - its 4GB RAM should be enough to load up multiple apps and run them happily.
Battery life is to a claimed nine hours per charge, which is reasonable for a device with such a resolution - although we obviously couldn't test how likely this is to be true at this early stage.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is a new take on the tablet world. But while the use of Chrome OS is its big point of interest, it's also a point that we question: does the tablet world really need it? There are plenty of Android tablets out there that do a good job, so trying to educate kids on this OS over Android doesn't seem like the most logical of stepping-stones, really.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is available from June 2018 with a $330 asking price. UK pricing is unknown at this stage.