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Acer Iconia W3 - My First Impressions


JohnTW
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Acer Iconia W3-810-1600 (32GB)

 

* I present my initial impressions and plan a review which I will append later along with answering any questions the community might have. I apologize if I am providing too much or too little details. *

 

I ordered the device from Staples due to their return policy, $349+tax pricing and Friday delivery (06/28) via UPS. I also ordered the official Acer Tablet Protective Case from Office Depot due to availability there and it arrived on Thurs (06/27). I plan to pair it with a Microsoft Wedge Keyboard and Mouse as needed. I am off from work for a week, and have time to really use the device before deciding to keep it.

 

Unboxing

- Packaging is nice and targeted to attract a younger (student) audience

- Funny enough, the recovery media is on a DVD (I will make my own USB stick)

- License key included on separate paper

- Power adapter and prong plug are separate items, easy to assemble

- Looks good in the box, was glad I bought it, if even for just a test

 

First Impressions

* I read the few reviews out there, but decided to ignore those going in. I really want to love this device as it is the size I want and offers the functionality I need. *

- Feels better than I expected, with the white plastic being nicer feeling (sturdy with a pleasant texture) than the silver backing (which isn't too bad and similiar to the Samsung Chromebook, which I owned for a week)

- Power plug went in firmly, and doesn't feel loose

- The other ports look like they might need to be treated with care, and could fall into the device easily (I'll test later)

- It feels dense but not too heavy (it did get heavier as I held it)

- Powered on with power plugged in, battery was 20% or less

- Slow on first boot for Acer setup (slower than Asus VivoTab Smart)

- The screen is horrendous... "I should just box it back up right now" is how I felt

- There is a "filter" (for lack of a better term) on the LCD making it look poor and pixelated to death

- Looks like a cheap screen protector placed between LCD and glass

- Large gap between LCD and glass, might even see some dust particles in there (or dead pixels)

- It is hard to really measure this screen due to the "filter" effect going on

- Think cheap GPS display on car 5 years ago as a reference for quality

- Viewing angles are attorcious when in the hand

- It looks OK when sitting on a stand on the table

- Once you pick it up both brightness and colors become non-uniform

- I want to call Acer and ask them if them meant to ship it like this (REALLY!)

* I am going to ignore the screen the best I can. I believe I have 14-days to return this to Staples with no questions or restocking fees. I'd like to test the device. HOWEVER, it will be hard to forgive. I can take poor anything except for the display.*

 

Setup

- I walked through the setup using the express settings

- First thing I found was bloatware... tons of it, both Acer apps and third party apps

- Instead of cleaning up and updating the machine I decided to jump right in with Windows 8.1

- I did not find it in the Windows Store, but went to the Windows 8.1 Preview site, downloaded a standalone installer which seems to be installing some mandatory updates to 8.0 first

- Once updates were applied, I was asked to restart and it began to install 24 updates

- I do notice it gets warm on the left side near the power button when in landscape mode

- Back to the screen... it looks substantially better displaying the white text on blue background Windows uses during applying/installing updates (Is there HOPE?!?!)

- Nope, the screen looks hideous when it is anything but white text on a blue background (Maybe 8.1 will magically fix it? lol)

- After installing and applying all necessary updates, it rebooted one last time and prompted me to go to the Windows Store and download Windows 8.1 Preview (1.95GB)

- Sadly, it hung on Pending... I cancelled the install and restarted... went back to Windows Store and it was still Pending

- While I uninstalled apps via the Control Panel, I checked back and saw it was 40% downloaded (Woo-hoo!)

- Installer progresses through many stages, with Gathering Info the longest

- After a restart the Acer boot screen was on Setting Up for a good 30-40 minutes

- And then it went through various other phases of setting things up

- I will continue using the device when the install is completed and battery charged

* I still want to like this device and am looking forward to trying out Windows 8.1 Preview and to start using my favorite apps and websites/services. I realize I probably should have made a recovery USB stick before upgrading to Windows 8.1 as I might not want to return it with 8.1 Preview on it. *

 

Future Use Places (I will append this review with additional posts)

- Without case and with case

- Living Room (typically low light)

- Bedroom (typically no light)

- Waiting Room (hospital visit to family member, medium - lots of light)

- Car (bright light and using phone as hotspot)

- Outside Patio (bright light)

- Table w/ Bluetooth Keyboard & Mouse (typical work/travel setup)

 

Other Tablets I Might Consider

Lenovo Miix 8 (it is is real and will ship in the North American market)

Microsoft Surface 7-8" (pretty please!!!)

Microsoft Surface RT 2 (if it is announced)

Samsung ATIV Tab 3 (although not a Samsung fan, it looks nice although larger than I would prefer)

 

About My Devices

 

Current Devices:

- LG Optimus G Pro (5.5" 1920x1080)

- Chromebook Pixel (12.85" 2650x1700)

- Mac mini - 2013 (w/ Dell 23" 1080p display)

- iPhone 4S - work phone

 

Previous Devices:

- Asus VivoTab Smart (10.1" 1366x768, similar specs to W3 otherwise)

- Nexus 4

- iPhone 5

- iPad Mini

- Nexus 7

- iPad w/ Retina Display - 3rd Gen

- Samsung Chromebook ($249 model which I returned to get a Pixel)

- Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 (returned for poor build quality)

 

I want a 7-8" tablet for the following:

- Quickly accessing apps (or web apps) like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

- Run TeamViewer application when VPN is not available

- Ability to pair with a keyboard and mouse

- Ability to act as a Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client that is not blocked by my work (Android was recently blocked)

- Reading Amazon Kindle books

- Streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

- Run Chrome for cross platforming syncing and services that I use with my Android phone and Mac at home

- Ability to run Cisco AnyConnect (not 100% needed thanks to TeamViewer)

- Ability to run RDP apps to connect to work PC (only if VPN works)

 

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Great info!

Thank you for taking the time.

I talked to a coworker today that attended Build, I asked about the W3. His response was,'screen is awful, havent had time to play with it'.

Any product is a balancing act on where to spend the money. The market for upscale 8" tablets is $300-$400. At that price people expect a great screen. iPad Mini has a very good screen, I have a Motorola 8.2" that has a great screen. Samsung made a 7.7" tablet for Verizon that had a fantastic screen. My concern is, can anyone build a great Windows tablet in the 8" formfactor for $300-$400? Is the Windows licensing too expensive? Is the hardware to make a Windows tablet too expensive? It will be interesting to see what the MIIX 8 ends up looking like and pricing out.

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Nice review. I'm not surprised by Acer releasing a product that is a little "subpar," but I'm surprised at this feat. I agree completely with you guys on one aspect. I just want to ask Acer "Why?" What is the reason? License? Keeping costs down? Why???

 

This piece of hardware does nothing to further advance Windows 8 and its portable OS and products. Shame on you Acer.

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Two days ago there were just a couple of W3's on eBay. Today there are many more.  You can tell the ones from Build because they are all 64Gb and come with a keyboard.  I really can't blame them for selling it.  Can you?

 

Which brings up another question. Why would MS give this out as the freebie?  I guess dev's can still test their apps on the 8" platform no matter how crappy the screen is but it's still puzzling.

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I am returning the tablet. I planned to take the time to do a full review, but it just doesn't seem worth it. The screen holds this device back, and I can't warn possible buyers about it enough. Please purchase from retailers that have 14-30 day return periods, and hopefully ones without restocking fees. (i.e. Best Buy, Amazon or Staples and NOT Office Depot).

 

The device feels great in the hand, although heavier than competing 8" class devices. The speed is acceptable and on par with the other x86 Windows 8 tablets in the $399-$499 range. It is a great device for running WIndows Modern UI (metro) and legacy applications. But if your eyes are like mine, they won't be happy to look at the screen for more than a couple minutes. It is hard to look past the grains and focus on text of any kind.

 

See my above posts and photos on Google+ for more.

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Thanks for the review.  I agree the screen is bad but I dont think it's that bad considering the price of the device.  True, there are tablets in the price range that have better screens but none of them have a desktop operating system.

 

I figure I'll keep my $350 Acer Iconia W3 for now and sell it for $250-$300 when something better comes out.

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I can't believe you can look past it. I do love the device, but literally couldn't get over the display. Glad to hear it isn't so bad for some!

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lol.  I actually have a bigger gripe with the Wifi.  It was working fine for a couple of days and just disconnected again.

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