Acer Iconia W4

Acer Iconia W4

Acer's 8-inch Windows tablet is not a looker. Its plastic chassis is fairly thick, and its footprint larger than that of the Lenovo Miix 2. But its buttons are tactile and the edges are rounded. It is a functional design in line with its affordable $499 price.

The W4 has a physical Windows button instead of the touch capacitive version found on other Windows tablets.

As I often hit the touch capacitive button accidentally while trying to swipe from the edge, I appreciate this design.

Acer's recent ultrabooks have featured excellent screens and the in-plane switching (IPS) display on the W4 looks just as good. Colours seem to pop, viewing angles are good and it is not as reflective as some of its competitors. Credit goes to its zero air gap design where the outer protective glass and the display are optically bonded.

The screen has a 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution that seems to be the standard in 8-inch Windows tablets. This is adequate for its size and icons in desktop mode are not super tiny as would have been the case with a higher resolution display.

The stereo speakers found at the bottom of the tablet give decent audio. Nearby is the headphone jack, which is not as convenient as having it at the top of the tablet.

The tablet has a 5-megapixel rear camera that is inferior to the ones on most mid-range smartphones. I would not recommend using it, but it works in a pinch.

Like its competitors, the W4 uses a quad-core Intel Atom processor (Bay Trail) with 2GB of RAM. The integrated graphics on the Atom chip are good enough for casual or older PC games.

Besides the bundled Microsoft Office 2013, Acer has preloaded a number of apps. Some arguably fall into the bloatware category.

I would recommend deleting the unused apps to conserve the limited 64GB of internal storage. Of course, you could slot in a microSD card for additional storage.

Acer offers a Bluetooth keyboard accessory that also props up the device. While I did not test it myself, this $69 keyboard is slightly larger than the 8-inch tablet and does not look cramped.

At just more than seven hours, battery life is better here than in the Lenovo Miix 2. But it is not as good as the Toshiba Encore's.

At $499 for the Wi-Fi model and $599 for the 3G-capable version, the W4 is more affordable than its competitors. It does not have the slimmest design, but its screen is excellent.

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