CNET First Look
Acer Iconia W3 hands-onThe 8-inch Iconia W3 shows that Windows 8 can work on smaller screens, but a few serious flaws hold this tablet back.
I'm Dan Ackerman, and we are here taking a look at the Acer Iconia W3. It's a bit of unique system in that it's a full Windows 8 tablet, but it's only got an 8-inch screen. Most of the Windows 8 tablets and hybrids that we have seen have 11-inch screens, 13-inch screens. They're all a bit bigger. This is closer in theory to something like an iPad mini or an Android tablet. But of course, it's running full Windows 8, which works well on a small touch screen as long as you stick to sort of this tile-based display right here. If you go back to the traditional Windows desktop, it's gonna be pretty hard to manipulate. Of course, this is running an Intel Atom chip which keeps it sort of low-powered. It means the battery lasts a long time. But it's not great for every task that you're gonna wanna do with your tablet or your laptop. You know, it's good for web surfing, maybe for watching some video, social media, e-mail, things like that. Anything more complicated, you're gonna wanna move up to a more full-powered laptop or tablet or hybrid. Now, even though I ended up liking the W3 more than I thought I would, it did have a couple of near fatal flaws that really turned me off. One, the screen frankly is not great. If you look at it from even a little bit of an angle, you'll lose the image very quickly, and it has kind of a gauzy, not super sharp quality to it. And then, there's this keyboard dock that's a $70 add-on. The tablet itself is $379 to $429 depending on how big the hard drive is. Keyboard dock, it's bigger. That's kinda weird, right? But it's based on a 13-inch keyboard. It's actually pretty comfortable for typing on. The big problem is it doesn't have a touchpad or even a trackpoint or any way to control the cursor on the screen. So, you're basically typing and either using an external mouse or using your finger to try to navigate, which if you ever tried that on a very tiny screen is very, very difficult. So, I give the W3 a lot of credit for being a very inexpensive full Windows 8 touch screen that actually has a usable keyboard accessory you can get, but that lack of a touchpad and a poor screen quality kinda make it not a very good productivity device. Maybe, you wanna spend a little bit more and trade up to something a little bit better. I'm Dan Ackerman, and that is the Acer Iconia W3.