If you already regularly use Windows 7, and you would like some continuity in your choice of tablet PC, then the Acer Iconia Tab W500-BZ467 10.1-Inch Tablet (Silver) is one of the few choices on the market today. See if it’s right for you in this Acer Iconia Review.
But aside from the fact that it runs on the Windows operating system which many have come to love due to its simplicity, is this really the tablet you should spend your hard earned cash on?
- Costs $449
- Released in 2011
- Runs on Windows 7
- 7.48 x 10.83 x 0.63 inches in size
- Weighs 2.14 lb. / 0.97 kg
- 10.1 inch screen
- 1024 x 768 resolution
- 32GB storage space
- AMD C-50 1 GHz processor
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connectivity
- 1.3 MP cameras
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Screen: The Acer Iconia looks and feels surprisingly good, with bold colors. Although it’s not an HD screen, HD videos still look great and it should be decent for what you need. You do have to make sure your finger touches are very precise, however, which could take a little getting used to.
Sound: As far as tablets go, the Iconia features a good set of speakers. That said, no tablet speakers are designed for perfect sound quality, so you’ll want a good quality set of earphones if you want to enjoy your music or movies in all their glory. You may even want to get yourself a docking station to make better use of the audio system. This isn’t something that is unique to the Acer Iconia – a slightly tinny quality to the audio is something that is common across all tablet computers.
Ease of Use: The screen works well to get to where you want to go, and many users will be happy that a more high-end tablet finally features Windows 7. Windows Vista never pleased too many people so the fact that the popular Windows 7 interface is recognizable and usable on the Acer Iconia, is a friendly addition. If you’re used to using Windows 7 and its applications then you’ll be glad to find a tablet that provides some continuity between tablet and your standard computer.
Keyboard Attachment: One of the real benefits of the Iconia comes from the add-on that’ll turn your tablet into a small laptop. This is its biggest and most talked-about feature. It attaches to the base of the device and makes it extremely easy to type on your keyboard. This is perfect for anyone who’d like to work on their tablet like a laptop computer, typing emails or documents with ease (although bear in mind that the accessory will cost you more money).
SD Slot: Having a full-sized SD slot is a great addition for many. Most of the tablets that do feature a slot choose to include a micro-SD slot instead. Although the latter is good for adding external memory, it’s not compatible with most camera memory cards. Having a full SD card slot means you can transfer photos from your camera directly (and you can purchase an adapter if you’d like the ability to use micro-SD cards, too).
As SD cards are the most widely used form of memory card out there it’s good that the Acer Iconia uses it. Too many times do some companies snub the SD card because it’s a popular medium. It’s good that Acer put the consumer in mind when adding an SD card slot – too many other companies think about their own profits and their branding than to worry about the consumer and don’t include an SD slot. This can be very frustrating when just about everything else has the SD slot.
USB 2.0: There are two USB 2.0 ports on the Acer Iconia, which is useful for connecting external peripherals or storage (this is especially important for users with a lot of files – see below).
On Screen Keyboard: Although no on-screen keyboard is perfect, and it’s always easier to type on a physical version, there have been many complaints about the Iconia’s virtual keyboard. This is bad news for people who can’t afford the extra keyboard attachment. The extra attachment works perfectly and so those that love this device are likely to be users of the extra attachment. The onscreen-keyboard is slightly under par compared to other tablet computers.
Storage Space: 32GB is by no means a bad option for hard disk size. In fact other tablets often come with an even lower 16GB. But you need to know that Windows 7 takes up a lot of space on the tablet! And by a lot we mean far more than Google Android or Apple iOS. You’ll only really be left with just over 19GB of space for your own files!
19GB will be enough for some music and a lot of apps, but if you like to store movies or have a particularly big music library you’ll probably find this very limiting (especially as there are no higher storage options available to buy). Many people have more than 19GB of MP3s let alone movies. The good news is that you can expand the storage space with an SD card up to 64GB, or by plugging in a USB storage device.
Cameras: The camera quality isn’t the best on this device, with both the front and the rear-facing cameras coming in at 1.3 megapixels. This is unusual since most tablets go for a higher quality camera at the back. While it seems like a disaster to have a meagre 1.3 megapixel camera, it depends on how you look at it. 1.3 megapixels is terrible – make no mistakes – but the quality on the other tablet devices is also disappointing.
Many smartphones take better pictures than most tablet computers and so we don’t see why any of the tablet computers even include a camera if they’re below par. As the camera on most tablets isn’t great anyway, don’t be too shocked at 1.3 megapixel quality because you’ll probably never use the camera anyway – especially if you have a smartphone in your pocket.
Battery Life: Unfortunately, the battery life isn’t great on the Iconia and it simply can’t compete with the best competitors on the market. The advertised six hours still means you can get a lot of out of the device, but many testers have confirmed that it usually lasts for more like four hours. Not good for long journeys or even moderate use really. We’re quite disappointed by the low battery life.
Size/ Weight: This really isn’t a lightweight tablet, and there’s no getting around it. There are far lighter and slimmer tablets on the market. As such, this doesn’t feel as comfortable in your hands. Again, this is another situation where the added keyboard dock is going to make the tablet a lot easier to use.
Parts We Like:
- USB 2.0
- SD Slot
- Keyboard Attachment
- Ease of Use
Parts We Dislike:
- Size/ Weight
- Battery Life
- Storage Space
- On Screen Keyboard
The best thing that this tablet has going for it is that it’s a relatively mid-range Windows 7 tablet – the only one available at the moment. If you’re looking for other Windows tablets, you’re going to find it difficult to find many decent options compared to the number of tablets in the Android market. Unfortunately, there are some big disadvantages such as only fair battery life to the Acer Iconia. If you’re looking for something more user friendly and still good value for money then you might consider an Android tablet, such as the XOOM or Galaxy Tabb instead but if you’re on a budget and you like the idea of the extra keyboard attachment, the Acer Iconia looks fair.