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?

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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.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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