Although late to the game of tablets in comparison to Android and iPad, Microsoft’s touch-centric Windows 8 OS is now being seen on a lot of devices. Microsoft’s hardware partners such as Lenovo, Acer, etc. are launching tablets with various form factors. The latest to hit the market is Acer Iconia W3 which claims of being the first 8 inches Windows 8 Tablet. But, does it really have anything else apart from this record? Let’s find out with our review-
Physical Attributes: Design and Display
At the outset, Acer Iconia W3 looks like a great device with a two-tone Black and White color on front. It measures 8.62" x 5.21" x 0.44" with a weight of 1.1 pounds, which is on a higher side in contrast to Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 or iPad Mini. The front is largely covered by display, and has a front-facing camera at the top, while a Start button at the center is beneath the display. Talking about sides, left is completely devoid of any buttons, while right side has volume controls and a microSD card slot. The top houses power button, microUSB port and a microHDMI port, whereas at the bottom, there’s dual speakers, charging port and 3.5 mm headphone jack. The back has a silver color with curved finish providing good grip. It has a primary camera.
The tablet has an 8.1 inch display bearing a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, translating to average pixel density of 186 ppi. It’s a 5 point multi-touch display allowing users to make full use of gestures on Windows 8. The display is glossy and offers good viewing angles and colors, however is looks very grainy.
The Inside: Hardware and Software
The tablet is powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor Z2760 clocked at 1.8 GHz. It also comes with integrated graphics powering graphics for games, etc. The processor is complemented by a 2 GB RAM. In terms of memory, it has a flash storage of 32 GB/ 64 GB variants, which can be further expanded up to 64 GB externally. It has a Li-ion battery of 3500 mAh giving it backup of almost 8 hours, which is really commendable.
The hardware is decent and ensures smooth running of applications. However, since it runs on a full-blown Windows 8 OS, it takes toll on hardware and there are some lags during some tasks. Also, the processor works great in metro interface since those apps are optimized for touch and draw low processing power. There are several Metro apps already installed viz. Kindle, Evernote, Netflix, etc., though the Windows Market place has limited number of apps and hence one has to use desktop mode. But, as soon as one switches to desktop mode, there are several delays. It’s a great device for those who are accustomed to Windows interface and thus even want to install legacy apps in it, which is just not possible in Android or iPad. This way one can even watch flash videos thanks to the ability to install flash player plugin. However, let us warn you that to install software, it sometimes takes almost four times the time it will take to install on computer. Acer has pre-installed Microsoft Office 2013 for Student edition on the tablet, thus users can easily view and edit documents, spreadsheets or presentations.
Others: Camera and Connectivity
The device sports a 2 MP camera both at the front and the back. They have average quality and there’s nothing special in them to talk about.
In connectivity department, device surely gets full marks. It has Bluetooth for file transfer or connecting to compatible devices, Wi-Fi for connecting to internet, microHDMI port to connect to large displays and most important microUSB port allowing to use Iconia W3 with any USB 2.0 device ranging from a mouse or keyboard to Internet dongle to even DVD drive.
Accessories: Keyboard Dock and Cover
To gain the actual advantage of the tablet, we would suggest to go with the 70 $ keyboard dock which serves dual purpose of keyboard and dock/ cover as well. The keyboard connects to Acer Iconia W3 via Bluetooth and is self-powered using AAA batteries. It holds the device in a sturdy way and kept on a surface allows faster and more accurate typing. The keyboard is actually larger than the tablet, giving a feeling that one is using 10 or 11” keyboard. What’s interesting is the back of the keyboard dock which has a slot for inserting the keyboard and locks it safely.
There’s also a soft leather cover for the tablet available ensuring that the device is protect from scratches and external damages. It also doubles up as a dock for the tablet.
Acer Iconia W3 is an interesting device with a compact form-factor running the most loved Windows OS. However, unless and until one badly needs to use full Microsoft Office as well as other apps on Windows, there’s no other reason to buy the device. At similar price, Samsung’s Tab 3 8.0, Galaxy Note 8.0 offers better features or going on a little higher side, iPad Mini is also a great buy.
The Guest Author of this post is Julia. She wrote several tech posts for 91mobiles.com. Her passion for upgrading her knowledge puts her to research on topics relevant to her industry. Besides, she also likes to share her findings by writing about them in her free time.