Acer Iconia W4 review
Home windows Eight has an id drawback. The Trendy UI, with its massive, vivid tiles and touch-friendly apps nonetheless is not helpful for something greater than the occasional recreation. Microsoft’s most up-to-date updates appear to have been designed to make life simpler for non-touch laptop computer and desktop customers, making the normal Home windows desktop extra distinguished and consigning the Begin Display to the background.
We like Home windows Eight.1 on desktops and laptops, and like many customers, we’ve got adjusted to the shortage of a Begin menu. As soon as we’re within the desktop, there’s virtually no have to ever take care of the Trendy UI, however we do not thoughts dipping into it sometimes. On most laptops and hybrid ultrabooks, we regularly overlook that the screens are touch-capable, and albeit, that is not an issue in any respect.
Maybe that is why Home windows-powered tablets have all however disappeared from the market. Certain, we have loads of ultrabooks and hybrids with keyboards that both detach or fold away – however pure tablets are few and much between.
Microsoft has responded by transferring away from premium units and into the price range house. Acer’s Iconia W4 is an Eight-inch compact pill, and is among the first such merchandise to be supplied and marketed with no keyboard dock. It sheds almost the whole lot that makes hybrid ultrabooks so costly, and in doing so, creates an entire new market class.
Acer Iconia W4 Feel and look
The Acer Iconia W4 has an Eight-inch display screen, and although its physique is relatively bigger than different tablets of this class, it does a superb job of disguising this. It is noticeably greater and thicker than an iPad mini, for instance, however that is nonetheless spectacular contemplating it is a full-fledged Home windows PC.
There is a a reasonably normal black glass bezel across the display screen, but in addition an extra gray plastic lip on the underside, the place the bodily Home windows button, audio system and ports match. The W4 is easy, however straightforward to carry. There aren’t any vents or air passages across the sides.
The left edge is totally clean, however you will discover a microphone pinhole, quantity rocker, Micro-HDMI port and microSD card slot on the correct edge. There is a energy button and standing LED on the highest, plus an unmarked indentation that is perhaps for snap-on equipment. Twin stereo audio system, a three.5mm headset jack and Micro-USB port are on the underside.
The rear panel has a pretend brushed steel texture, but it surely’s completely plastic. There is a silver Acer emblem within the centre, however we had been stunned to see no fewer than 5 ugly stickers on the decrease again. Other than the multi-coloured Intel and Home windows stickers normally discovered on laptops, there’s one other for the machine’s serial quantity, one for regulatory data and logos, and one other guarantee hologram. These had been all pale and peeling on our assessment unit, which isn’t stunning contemplating the pill has to relaxation on tables and in luggage. We have seen refined engravings and smaller logos on different merchandise, so it is odd that Acer would go along with these ugly stickers right here.
There’s so much to love concerning the Iconia W4. Having the facility of a full PC in a small Eight-inch pill kind issue, together with full-blown Home windows desktop software program just like the Microsoft Workplace instruments, is an uncommon expertise. We additionally discovered ourselves spending a good bit of time getting reacquainted with the Trendy UI, which we had to this point distanced ourselves from. With a display screen this dimension and no stand or keyboard, we ended up utilizing the W4 in our fingers rather more than on a desk, which additionally led to a extra hands-on strategy to apps and desktop software program.
Acer Iconia W4 Specs
The Iconia W4 just isn’t a powerhouse PC. It will get by with an Intel Atom Z3740 CPU, which is codenamed Bay Path and makes use of the comparatively trendy Silvermont structure. This explicit chip is a quad-core mannequin, and runs at 1.33GHz. It additionally has built-in HD Graphics, although that title is a bit optimistic contemplating the weak 667MHz graphics clock. It is greater than sufficient for enjoying video recordsdata, however do not anticipate any main gaming prowess.
It is price noting that whereas the CPU is 64-bit, Acer has gone with a 32-bit copy of Home windows. This is perhaps resulting from limitations imposed by Microsoft’s low-priced Small Display Contact licensing association, but it surely’s disappointing nonetheless.
There’s 2GB of RAM and both 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage. Neither of those is user-accessible or upgradeable, so we might at all times advise going for the very best capability you’ll be able to afford. There is a microSD card slot which might take 64GB XC playing cards and doubtlessly greater capacities as properly, once they’re out there.
The Eight-inch display screen runs at 1280×800, which is about common for tablets this dimension. It is nowhere close to the decision of the iPad mini with Retina Show or the 2013 Nexus 7, so should you’re used to both of these units (or as we speak’s full-HD smartphones), it would undoubtedly really feel grainy. Textual content and on-screen components within the Home windows Eight desktop are nonetheless fairly small, and a few folks will discover this uncomfortable. We raised Home windows’ DPI scale from 100 % to 125 %, which undoubtedly made a distinction to us.
You’ll be able to’t use the microUSB port to switch knowledge from a PC, such as you would with an Android or iOS machine. Nonetheless, like all Home windows PCs, the Iconia W4 is totally able to being a USB host for pen drives, exhausting drives and all types of USB peripherals. Micro-USB pen drives have gotten generally out there now, however you will have to make use of an On-The-Go adapter for all normal USB peripherals, and fortuitously, one is included within the field.
We might have beloved to have had a full-sized USB host port, like some bigger tablets have, however you will have to recollect to hold the adapter round or spend money on a Micro-USB pen drive if you wish to copy recordsdata to or from the W4.
For wi-fi communications, there’s Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth four.zero. The battery capability is 4960mAh, and is rated for Eight hours of steady video playback. The entrance and rear cameras are 5- and 2-megapixel models respectively, which is okay because you in all probability will not wish to use them for greater than the occasional informal shot.
Acer Iconia W4 Software program
Home windows Eight.1 has various helpful enhancements over Home windows Eight, however we nonetheless bumped into a number of adjustment points due to the W4’s pure pill kind issue. You actually need to keep in mind that the Charms bar exists, since you’ll be able to’t do issues like start a search by simply typing a number of characters. Home windows Retailer apps aren’t at all times as properly designed as their iOS and Android counterparts, however issues that pissed off us on bigger screens, resembling extreme scrolling and wasted house, are extra palatable right here.
Conversely, the Home windows desktop is sort of troublesome to make use of with contact enter alone. DPI scaling helped, by making tiny components simpler to focus on, however we shortly discovered ourselves scrambling for that USB OTG adapter and a hub for our keyboard and mouse. The desktop on-screen keyboard is totally different from the Trendy UI keyboard, blocks an excessive amount of of the display screen, and does not seem mechanically once you faucet a textual content enter subject.
When you’re planning to make use of the Iconia W4 in a piece atmosphere, or as a substitute for an inexpensive laptop computer or netbook, you will undoubtedly wish to purchase a transportable keyboard. Bluetooth fashions will prevent the trouble of coping with the OTG adapter, however remember that an exterior keyboard is one other factor to hold and cost. Acer sells its personal such accent, which additionally has a slot which you should utilize to prop up your pill.
We additionally bumped into a number of compatibility points due to the 32-bit version of Home windows. 64-bit software program was once fairly unique but it surely’s mainstream sufficient now that some applications simply will not run, otherwise you’ll want to search out 32-bit editions of them.
The distinctive Home windows license additionally covers a full copy of Microsoft Workplace (not a time-limited subscription), which is a incredible worth addition. The Dwelling & Pupil 2013 version contains Phrase, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, and in any other case retails for Rs. 5,499. For comparability, a one-year subscription to Workplace 365 would price Rs. four,199 for a single 12 months.
Acer additionally throws in a number of of its personal utilities for audio, video, photograph and file administration, known as Acer Media, Acer Docs and Acer Portal. You’ll be able to examine these in our earlier assessment of the Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook.
Acer Iconia W4 Efficiency
We’re completely happy sufficient with the extent of efficiency the Atom CPU supplies. You will not discover any sluggishness in comparison with a present mannequin iPad or moderately highly effective Android pill, however you can also’t anticipate the pace of a mainstream laptop computer.
Our benchmarks threw up middling outcomes, with particularly low graphics and multimedia scores. SunSpider ran in 410.3ms, which is about twice so long as a present low-voltage Ultrabook would take. SiSoft SANDRA’s CPU Arithmetic outcomes had been additionally in step with this, at 20GIPS integer and 10.93GFLOPS floating-point scores. SANDRA’s storage subsystem exams had been additionally fairly weak, coming in nearer to outcomes for sluggish spinning disks than trendy SSDs.
3DMark threw up 130 factors general, which makes the Iconia W4 utterly unsuitable for contemporary gaming. We additionally seen a little bit of stuttering whereas taking part in our 720p and 1080p take a look at recordsdata. Fortunately, there’s loads of software program out there for Home windows Eight so format incompatibility simply is not an issue.
Images taken with the 5-megapixel rear digital camera are surprisingly first rate, though efficiency relies upon very a lot on ambient gentle circumstances. Objects within the foreground are clear, however ones at a distance are inclined to lack element and look noisy. There’s no management over focus or any handbook settings.
The battery lasted for three hours, 46 minutes in our Battery Eater Professional benchmark in Normal mode. In common utilization we acquired properly over a full day of informal Internet browsing, music and video playback, and common PC duties.
Acer Iconia W4 Verdict
The Acer Iconia W4 is reasonable sufficient to make Home windows RT units really feel completely pointless. There’s simply no purpose now to purchase a Home windows RT pill and prohibit your self to the Trendy UI and Home windows Retailer apps. You may end up spending much less and fewer time within the Home windows desktop, but it surely’s actually good to know it is there, and that each one acquainted Home windows software program is just some faucets away.
You will not have the form of tablet-optimised software program library that we now take with no consideration on iOS and Android, so should you’re keen to grapple with tiny on-screen controls in Home windows desktop software program, this can be a first rate possibility. Take into account that any specialised Home windows software program you want should run on the comparatively puny Atom CPU.
For us, the killer software is Microsoft Workplace. It is undoubtedly simpler to make use of (with a keyboard and mouse) than the not too long ago launched Workplace iOS apps, though these are satisfactory should you’re primarily fascinated by studying paperwork, not enhancing them. After years of frustration with tablets, there’s additionally nothing like the sensation of freedom we had with a full file system, Home windows Explorer, and full USB assist.
Curiously, Microsoft has simply introduced that it’ll not cost license charges for Home windows on units with screens smaller than 9 inches anymore. That is unlikely to imply a value drop for the Iconia W4, but it surely might level to cheaper successors and extra competitors if different producers resolve to benefit from this.
The Acer Iconia W4 is not sensible as a pill or netbook substitute, but it surely’s an satisfactory bridge between the 2 worlds. You’d simply have to make sure you would not be higher off with a extra conventional, extra purpose-oriented machine.