The ‘W’ might stand for ‘Why?’
We have seen a few tablet computers that run the Windows 7 operating system, a decision we are yet to be convinced by.
Windows 7 is great when used on ‘full' laptops and other PCs, and there is a huge amount of excellent software available.
Technically, the same is true for tablets that run Windows 7, but Windows 7 just doesn't work well on a tablet, which lacks a keyboard, mouse and other peripherals.
With the W500 Acer seems to be making the argument that having Windows 7 on a tablet lets people use it as if it were a laptop, which is why it can be bought with a separate, detachable keyboard section. But what you end up with is a fairly heavy, unattractive computer that has the same processing power as a ‘netbook', but costs twice as much (click here to read our review of Acer's decent Aspire One D255, available for £240).
The W500's design leaves a lot to be desired. The screen has a thick black bezel around it and the rest of it is made of cheap-looking plastic. The W500 has two cameras, on the front and rear, but the resolution of both is 1.3 megapixels and when most phones offer five megapixels, this meant quality was poor for still images and for video.
Acer has provided its own ‘touch-interface' called Acer Ring, which as far as we can tell consists of a couple of large buttons you can tap to launch programs. There is also a program called My Journal which has the sole purpose of collating screengrabs of web pages, the practical use of which is beyond us.
The keyboard, which costs £80, has a clunky dock attachment (a USB stick and two metal prongs) into which the tablet connects. It doesn't lock into place once docked so if you try to close it like a laptop the tablet part will fall off.
The keyboard was low quality and not pleasant to use. There is no touchpad, but there is a ‘nipple' mouse controller and two buttons for left- and right-clicking, which were awkwardly placed and led to lots of accidental clicking.
The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is baffling. It tries to bridge the gap between full notebooks – which Acer makes well – and tablets, and fails at both.
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A cheap-looking tablet that's further hampered by having the wrong operating system
Windows 7 is a great operating system in general...
...but it doesn't work on tablets, including this one; poor design; essentially an overpriced netbook
Phone 0870 853 1005
£530 with keyboard
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