We love it when the rumor mill is right. After plenty of speculation and leaks courtesy of Amazon and Acer Russia, the first 8-inch tablet running a full version of Windows 8 has arrived in the form of the Acer Iconia W3. It’ll be available starting June 4 and comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 pre-loaded.
What makes the Iconia W3 such a big deal? For starters, Acer has taken the attitude of “Screw Windows RT” and put a fully functional version of Windows 8 on this little tablet. This means it’ll run all of the legacy x86 applications that run on every other version of Windows. Acer paired the 8-inch tablet with an optional (grrr) Bluetooth keyboard/case that is about the same size as the one you would find on a 13.3-inch notebook, which means you’ll actually be able to type on it without scrunching your hands into awkward positions. However, if you need to type on the go, Acer has also made the virtual keyboard thumb-typing-friendly.
It’ll be available in 32GB and 64GB models, both of which include a microSD card slot will add up 32GB of additional space. A slim 0.45 inches thick, the Iconia W3 tips the scale at just 1.10 pounds. It’s not as thin or light as the iPad Mini, but it’s also housing a full operating system, so we’re willing to give it a pass – at least for this generation. It’s powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 mobile processor and is rated for up to 8 hours of battery life – though we’ll definitely be testing that in our full review.
The display on the Iconia W3 measures 8.1 inches and has a 1200 x 800 resolution. It’s not the retina-like or even the full HD display we were hoping for, but it’ll still give you plenty of pixels to work with. Like most tablets, the Iconia W3 includes 2-megapixel front and rear cameras. As far as connectivity, the tablet includes Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n wireless, a micro-HDMI port, a microUSB port, and the aforementioned microSD card slot.
Acer tells us the Iconia W3’s MSRP will be $380, but that we’ll likely see it lower than that when presales begin in U.S. stores, such as Amazon, MicrosoftStore.com, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Walmart, and Microsoft retail stores on Tuesday, June 4.
Honestly, we’re not too bowled over by the specs on this tablet. It strikes us as a little heavy (the iPad mini weighs 0.68 pounds), a little low on pixels, and – assuming the price is accurate – a little pricey. However, the inclusion of Office Home & Student and the full version of Windows 8 certainly piques our interest. We can’t wait to get it in for review and see how it performs.
What do you think? Would you buy an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet?