Acer intros the Iconia W4, its second 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet: brings improved screen for $330 (hands-on)

Once Intel shows off an unannounced tablet at one of its press events, the jig is up: the product may as well be official at that point. That's what happened with Acer's Iconia W4 Windows 8.1 tablet, which recently surfaced in public, but wasn't officially announced until today. As the successor to the W3, this is Acer's second 8-inch tablet, and it corrects many of the shortcomings that doomed the original. Chiefly, it steps up to a 1,280 x 800, optically bonded IPS display, so you should notice less glare, even in harsh conditions. (Take a look at our outdoor hands-on shots if you're skeptical.)

Additionally, as rumored, the W4 packs a faster Atom processor -- specifically, one of the chips from Intel's new Bay Trail series. Though we only had a few moments of hands-on time, we noticed some brisk transitions between menus and apps, and programs were quick to launch as well. If ever we pressed the Start button, for instance, the tablet wasted no time in switching back to the Start Menu, or to the desktop. In terms of the exterior hardware, the tablet is slightly lighter (0.91 pounds instead of 1.1) and thinner, too (0.42 inch versus 0.45). Also, whereas the W3 had 2-megapixel cameras on both the front and the rear, the W4 rocks a 5MP main shooter (the front webcam is still 2MP). Rounding out the list, the W4 keeps the same basic ports as the W3 -- namely, micro-USB, micro-HDMI and a microSD slot. And, as before, you can use it with an optional keyboard. Look for it this month, starting at $330 with 32GB of built-in storage and $380 for the 64GB model.