It looks like the promise of smaller Windows 8 tablets has been fulfilled, and Acer's revealed its plans for a smaller form factor. Yep, we heard word of (and even peeked at listings for) the 8-inch Iconia W3, but it's been unveiled in earnest here at Computex 2013, weighing just over a pound and measuring under half an inch thick. Acer's promising around eight hours of battery life, while that smaller screen can still beam out 720p video playback on its 1,280 x 800 display. Better still, Acer has added in a full version of Office free with the tablet which should go well with the optional full-size keyboard accessory (69 euros, around $90) -- one that apparently mirrors those found on Acer's 13-inch notebooks. On the tablet itself, there's front- and rear-facing two-megapixel cameras, plus connectivity through Bluetooth 4.0 and micro-USB.
The Iconia W3 also houses Intel's dual-core 1.8GHz Atom Z2760 processor, one we've already seen on larger Windows 8 slabs, and will have either 32 or 64GB of internal storage, with an additional 32 gigs of space possible through microSD expansion. A built-in micro-HDMI port should also ensure displaying content on larger screens is relatively painless, although the tablet does lack the plethora of ports found on its bigger brothers, like USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. The Iconia W3 will be priced at 329 euros for 32GB and 379 euros for 64GB -- Acer US confirms that the tablet will arrive at $379 but haven't confirmed which capacity just yet. It will go up for pre-order tomorrow at Amazon, Microsoft's retail stores and online Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples and Walmart, with a retail launch before the end of June. Before then, though, we've already got to grips with the world's first 8-inch Windows 8 tablet. Check out our impressions right after the break.
Acer Iconia W3 hands-on
Acer Iconia W3 tablet press shots
It was initially an odd sensation to use Windows 8 on a screen substantially smaller than what we've become accustomed to, but it's not an unpleasant one. The tablet's outline makes it look more like an oversized smartphone than a Windows tablet, with a smooth plastic exterior. Buttons and ports (micro-USB, microSD, micro-HDMI and headphone) dot the perimeter, as well as dual speakers. We have to admit, it feels a little cheaply made, but given the $379 (or 329 euro) price tag, it's about appropriate. There's a plastic Windows button on the right edge of the screen, while a substantial black bezel means we were able to handle it without any inadvertent touchscreen incidents.
The screen is unfortunately harder to forgive, with dull colors and a surface that's very difficult to discern under bright light. Viewing angles are also pretty mediocre, although the resolution (1,280 x 800) was more than enough to display Windows 8 properly. The OS runs fluidly on Intel's Atom processor, with smooth transitions between desktop mode and its Modern counterpart. We had more trouble with the hotel's WiFi signal than with the tablet, which ably navigated through several pages on Internet Explorer.
The keyboard dock is apparently a work in progress -- several teething issues on this developmental sample (the tablet wobbles a little if you build up any typing steam, while the rear-side clip is apparently a little too good at holding onto the tablet) will be fixed ahead of launch. While it's a relief to see a keyboard larger than the 8-inch tablet itself, this one, like Acer laptops generally, feels a little flimsy and cramped under the fingers. This is arguably preferable to a better-made but smaller keyboard dock, but it's still something we hope Acer's going to work on. On the reverse side, there's a hollowed-out space that fits the tablet itself, doubling as a screen-protecting sleeve if needed. The keyboard doesn't use any physical contacts, instead resting in a soft plastic gully and connects to the Iconia W3 through Bluetooth. With no charging input, it's powered by a pair of AAA batteries -- something you'll want to note if you're planning extensive Excel and Word sessions for this smaller tablet when it launches later this month.
Acer Debuts Industry's First 8-Inch Windows 8 Tablet
Pre-installed with Microsoft Office, the Acer Iconia W3 is the only tablet that can put the desktop into a single hand
Taipei (June 3, 2012) Acer today unveiled the Acer Iconia W3, the industry's first full-featured 8.1-inch tablet running Windows 8, bringing entertainment and full PC capabilities into a single hand. Further solidifying its spot as the ultimate mobile companion, the Acer Iconia W3 comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, a €139 ¹value, at no additional expense.
The Iconia W3 carefully considers the human element with a design that is compact enough to use comfortably in one hand for reading and web browsing, yet sports a screen large enough for both productivity and entertainment. As a result, it's ideal for business people, students and families who already use programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for school and work.
The Acer Iconia W3 was introduced today at a press event at Computex along with other new products, including the Acer Aspire S7 and S3 Ultrabooks as well as the Liquid S1 phablet. The new line of Acer mobile products highlights the company's focus on redefining the computing experience through progressive design. #AcerTouch.
"With the Iconia W3, Acer is giving the millions of students, consumers and professionals who create, read, work and play in the Windows environment a single-handed device that does it all," said Luca Rossi, vice president, consumer business unit, Acer Europe. "These adventurous will enjoy the industry-leading combination of a Windows 8 tablet in a sleek and lightweight 8-inch design, giving them a new and more effective way to take their fun and productivity on the go."
Productivity Boosting Office Suite and Design
Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 comes pre-installed with the new Iconia W3, so customers can begin using it for school and work right away. A €139¹ value, Microsoft Office Home & Student Edition includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, giving customers the applications they need right at their fingertips.
The Iconia W3's design makes it incredibly useful for productivity in several different ways. The slim and sleek device weighs only 540 grams and measures only 11.35 mm thin, so it's easy to take anywhere. The device pairs with an optional full-size Bluetooth keyboard that holds the tablet upright for typing and then conveniently docks to the tablet to lay flat for easy transportation while protecting the screen. The keyboard mirrors the size of those found on larger 13.3-inch notebooks, so it is comfortable to use and makes working on documents and presentations even more convenient. Further boosting productivity, the Acer Iconia W3 was designed with a virtual keypad that is the ideal size for thumb typing, a common way for savvy mobile customers to connect in messaging and social platforms.
Windows 8 Companion Brings PC Capabilities Anywhere
Since the Acer Iconia W3 runs Windows 8, it keeps files, photos, and contacts synced across other Windows 8 devices, so customers can work on documents and programs on the go and then conveniently access the most current version from another device. Plus, because it runs full Windows 8, the Acer Iconia W3 is compatible with x86 legacy Windows programs. Consumers can customize Windows 8 by utilizing Live Tiles right on the start page to keep updated on the topics, news, weather and other events that they care about most.
The range of capabilities paired with the slim size makes the Iconia W3 great for sharing at school, work and home. Windows 8 supports multiple user IDs, so customers will have access to their email, Live Tiles and other apps. The device keeps content secure and safe with multiple layers of security and parental controls, even with multiple people using it.
On the Go Performance for Productivity and Entertainment
The new tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 mobile-optimized processor to smoothly handle a range of apps, including web browsing and enjoying digital media. Plus, the Acer Iconia W3 provides up to 8 hours of battery life(2) to boost all-day productivity in classes, while traveling, or simply for staying in touch throughout the day. Connected Standby helps extend battery life by turning the display off while the device remains powered on to handle background tasks. The Acer Iconia W3 keeps consumers connected to Wi-Fi networks and hotspots with 802.11b/g/n wireless technology.
The crisp 8.1-inch LED-backlit display brings 720p video to life with incredible detail and brightness. The 1280 x 800 resolution makes photos and multimedia as well as text and graphics, appear crisp and clear. The tablet's front- and rear-facing 2MP webcams ensure that customers can capture images and video for social networking, video conferencing and sharing.
The Iconia W3 was designed to enable quick sharing of data between devices to bring full PC productivity to a tablet form factor. It has a micro-HDMI port for connecting to a TV or external display for sharing presentations, photos and video. The micro-USB port allows easy sharing of data and a connection to devices like phones, MP3 players, USB drives, or a mouse. The new tablet is available with either 32GB(3) or 64GB(3) of internal storage, and customers can add an additional 32GB(3) via microSD for extra storage and convenient transfer of photos and video between devices.
Pricing and Availability
The Iconia W3 with 32GB and 64GB capacities will be available in June from retailers starting at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of €329.- and €379.-. (4) The optional keyboard will be available for a price of €69.- and the case will be available for €24.90.- (grey) and €27.90 (white).
Zach Honig and Dana Wollman contributed to this report.