Acer's dual-touch-screen Iconia laptop reviewed

Unlike a lot of other unique proof-of-concept laptops, the Acer Iconia is fun to use and largely works as advertised. But it has a hard time answering the most frequent question we hear about it: why would anyone need a dual-touch-screen laptop?

After being initially spotted near the end of 2010, we've been waiting for the final retail version of Acer's Iconia laptop. It's here, and we put the dual-touch-screen concept to the test by typing, Web surfing, and even gaming on it--all without a traditional keyboard.

Instead of a screen and a keyboard, the Iconia ditches the keyboard for a second screen, which can be used either as an extended desktop or for a virtual keyboard. (We've seen a similar concept before, but with dual 7-inch screens, in the Toshiba Libetto W100.) In practice, it works better than you might expect. Onscreen typing is still nowhere near as intuitive as the real thing, but a few generations of iPhones and iPads have trained us to tap-type without too much trouble, at least for short writing tasks.

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There were still frustrations with the Iconia, however. The onscreen keyboard had a hint of a lag, the touch pad is too small, and, most annoyingly, the CPU is one of Intel's last-generation Core i5 processors.

How did the system stack up in the end? Read on for our full review of the Acer Iconia.

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