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CNET First Look
Acer Iconia Tab W500PAcer's Iconia W500 consists of a touchscreen slate and a separate keyboard dock that combine to form something close to a traditional laptop.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a very first look at Acer Iconia W500 tablet. Now, of course, tablets are big news. Most of the time, we are talking about Apple's iPad or Android tablets maybe the Blackberry playbook, but this is a Windows tablet. Windows tablets have been around for many years, but they're really haven't been that great. The software's never been that good and of course the hardware has always been under powered. In this latest version, what Acer has done is taken a slate tablet like this that you can use separately and has got a touchscreen on it and they've also combined it with a keyboard dock, so you take the slate and you pop it right on this keyboard dock that connects the keyboard then it looks and feels a lot more like a regular Windows laptop. Instead of touchpad, there's a tiny track point right here. It's a little mouse buttons right near the front and of course it's a multi-touch slate, so if you pick it up and you take, let's say your 5 fingers and you put him down right here, that's gonna bring up Acer's little jogwheel of finger-friendly software options, kind of like they had on that 14-inch dual touchscreen Iconia laptop. As a slate, the Iconia W500 works about as long as you would expect it. The 2 Windows is not fantastic at tablet stuff. They claim Windows 8 is gonna be really the tablet Windows operating system. Of course, the big problem with Windows tablet has always been that the Window software has not been very finger-friendly. Unfortunately, all of these custom apps have taken a long time to launch, which is a big change of pace if you're used to going into your iPad just hitting a button and the app launches right away. Now, the real problem is once we take the slate and connect it to the keyboard dock, you got a regular sort of Windows style laptop, but certainly pretty much nothing you can do on here that you can do on a small 10-inch netbook. When it's time to fold it down, you would say instinctively, "Oh, I will just tilt this forward and I will fold it down." That's not what happens. You've got to actually lift the screen off. Now, put the screen aside for a minute. Then you take the dock and you fold this little flap down over the docking connector like this and you see there are actually instructions printed right here in that pictograms to describe how to open and close your laptop showing that you've got. It's actually pretty complicated process. To close the flap, we're gonna put it back down. We're gonna take the screen and position it on top of here. There's a little magnetic catch in one corner that kind of tells you that you've got it right, and then in the front, there's a physical lock that we're gonna flip with our hand right here and that will lock the screen down in the front, so now you've got something that looks like a close to a 10-inch netbook and it's pretty securely close, not really the back and comes up here, and if you handle it too roughly, the 2 parts will probably separate, but when you're ready to use it as a laptop again, you put it down and then you have to undo this little lock here. That's kind of tough and then you can lift off the screen and then you have to open this flap again and then you take the screen and you put it back on the dock like that and that went fairly smoothly, but I've been practicing all morning. Using this with a regular slate, watching Netflix movies, reading web pages works fairly well at least as good, if not better than most of the other Windows tablets that we tried, but this clunky industrial design is way more complicated than it needs to be. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Acer Iconia W500.