I’m using the older Acer Iconia W500 designed for Windows 7 but working well-enough with Windows 8. The W510 sounds like it has some significant improvements. On Amazon with (~$700) and without the dock (~$600). mjh
A Windows slate tablet.
I’m using Windows 8 on the Acer Iconia Tab W500, this model’s predecessor designed for Windows 7. The docking mechanism on my Iconia Tab is a bit wobbly if I carry it around. The W510 has the minimum screen resolution (1366 x 768) to enable snapping two apps side by side (not possible on my older Tab). mjh
Acer’s new Iconia W510 blends the tablet and laptop worlds with Windows 8 and an optional keyboard dock. The thin slate on its own starts at $499, but $749 doubles the flash storage and includes a keyboard dock with battery, providing 18 hours of runtime.
Acer’s Iconia W510 tablet running Windows 8 hits retail shelves on Nov. 9 with a starting price equal to Apple’s iPad at $499. That cost includes a 32 GB flash memory drive for the 10.1-inch slate with 1366 x 768 screen says Acer, which made the announcement on Tuesday.
I’ve been using Windows on tablets for a long time. I had the XP Tablet edition. The several tablets I have owned were convertibles: devices with an attached keyboard that could be covered by the screen. I now have my first Windows slate, the Acer Iconia Tab W500. Slates don’t have physical keyboards attached permanently. You may have heard of a slate called the iPad. (For the record, this is not my first slate; I also have a Viewsonic gTablet running an abandoned version of Android 2.x.) [All photos are clickable for larger images.]
In the top portion of this photo, the slate appears (reflecting overhead lights); in the lower portion, the detachable keyboard. (The detachable keyboard makes the Iconia not a convertible, except figuratively, but rather a slate.) The keyboard dock has extra USB ports and an Ethernet port; it does not require separate power. The power adapter plugs directly into the slate on the lower right side, docked or not.
Note the illuminated dedicated Windows button on the lower left front of the slate. Handy in Win7; a requirement for Win8 certification.
There are front-facing and rear-facing 1.3M cameras, both in the top center of the bezel.
One long speaker on the lower back produces good sound; sometimes muffled in one’s lap. Volume toggle on the upper left edge, below the power button. No separate mute button.
Many devices have a proprietary connection for a dock. Iconia has a USB port with steel posts to hold the screen upright, at a fixed angle. This connector folds out of sight for transporting. Some people complain about the fact that you cannot adjust the angle between screen and keyboard. Others complain that it takes two hands to mount and unmount the screen. I haven’t found either point a problem. The two components lock together closed-laptop-like for carrying; I expect to carry them disconnected in one case.
I’ve been getting at least 5 hours on battery power.
Slate mounted on keyboard dock.
Iconia, left; gTablet (on a stand), right.
Iconia, left; Acer One netbook, right.
The mild complaints I have about the Iconia are common to most touch devices: fingerprints are ghastly, most noticeably when the screen is dark. It’s a little heavy / bulky. Although I am enjoying using Windows 7 Professional on the Iconia, Windows 7 is known to be a challenge for touch. I’m surprised the Iconia doesn’t come configured better for touch (larger fonts and icons, for example), but I’ve never had a computer optimally configured out of the box. I bought the Acer Iconia Tab W500 for Windows 8. I’ll blog about that after the Consumer Preview drops.
I bought a refurbished machine from Acer on eBay (link) for $389.99 (free shipping). That deal is still available at the time of this posting. The Amazon page (link) has many mostly positive reviews ($512.52). (Note there is an A500 with Android; W550 has Windows.)