Tablets Guide

Acer Iconia W3 review

Acer Iconia W3 - The World's First 8.1-inch Windows 8 Tablet

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Launch SRP S$499

Overall rating 5/10
Design:
6
Features:
6
User-Friendliness:
4
Performance:
5
Value:
6
THE GOOD
Decent battery life
Solid performance from Intel Atom processor
Only full Windows 8 OS on an 8-inch tablet
THE BAD
Unacceptably hazy display with terrible viewing angles
Weak, thin audio
Plastic construction looks and feels cheap
Optional BT keyboard is larger than tablet, has no trackpad
Poor image quality from camera


Performance Benchmarks & Battery Life

Performance

Despite its affordable price tag, the W3 is running the same hardware as more expensive enterprise-class Windows 8 tablets, such as Lenovo's Thinkpad Tablet 2 and HP's Elitepad 900.

We also compared its scores on Sunspider Javascript, a browser based benchmark that measures browsing performance, against the most popular 7-inch tablets, Apple's iPad Mini and Google's Nexus 7, as well as Microsoft's 10-inch Surface RT, which is running an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3GHz processor. 

How the Tablets Stack up
Device Acer Iconia W3 HP Elitepad 900 Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Microsoft Surface RT Google Nexus 7 Apple iPad Mini 
Display 8.1-inch WXGA LCD 10.1-inch LED-backlit IPS display 10.1-inch LED-backlit IPS display 10.6-inch ClearType HD 7-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS display
Resolution 1280 x 800 1280 x 800 1366 x 768 1366 x 768 1280 x 800 1024 x 768
CPU Intel Atom dual-core Z2760 (1.8GHz) Intel Atom dual-core Z2760 (1.8GHz) Intel Atom dual-core Z2760 (1.8GHz) NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core (1.3GHz) NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core (1.2GHz) Apple A5 dual-core (1GHz)
GPU Intel HD SGX545 Intel HD SGX545 Intel HD SGX545 12-core GeForce 12-core GeForce PowerVR SGX543MP2
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB 1GB  512MB 
OS Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Pro Windows RT Android 4.1.1 Apple iOS 6.0.1
Battery Capacity 3500mAh 2500mAh 3000mAh 4257mAh 4325mAh 4440mAh
Dimensions 219 x 135 x 11.4mm 261 x 178 x 9.2mm 262.6 x 164.6 x 9.8mm 274.6 x 172 x 9.4mm 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
Weight 500g 625g 600g 680g 340g 308g

 

PCMark 7

PCMark 7 tests a tablet's overall capabilities. Only full Windows OS devices are able to install and run the benchmark, so the Surface RT, Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini have been excluded in this test. The benchmark tests a wide range of workloads and system aspects ranging from computation to image and video manipulation and storage. As expected, the W3 scored equally with the more expensive Lenovo and HP tablets, thanks to utilizing the same hardware.

 

Sunspider Javascript

The SunSpider JavaScript benchmark measures the browsing performance of a device. It not only takes into considering the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. In this benchmark, the W3's Atom processor again proved very capable, and actually slightly outperformed both the HP and Lenovo tablets, as well as easily beating the Surface RT, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini. Overall user experience was smooth and fast, with no noticeable lag, even on image-heavy websites.

 

Imaging Performance

Tablets are generally not known for their imaging capabilities since they are not designed for that purpose, however we decided to put the W3's 2 megapixel camera to the test:

 

Battery Performance

Next, we ran the W3 on an intensive battery test, which involves looping a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution video on the unit. The test is performed under specific parameters:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The Iconia W3 displayed fairly impressive battery life, lasting 7 hours and 47 minutes, beating all three of our 10-inch tablets, including the ARM-powered Microsoft Surface RT. It also managed to outlast Apple's iPad Mini, however it still fell short to the massive staying power of Google's Nexus 7. Power consumption, as expected, was slightly lower than our 10-inch Atom-powered devices, but higher than both the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini. On a side note, we reckon the Iconia W3's weak speakers hardly added to the power consumption figures, unlike the other devices.

 

 

Portability

We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. While the W3 was more portable than its 10-inch Windows 8 cousins, it fell far short of both the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 due to its thickness and hefty weight. In our personal experience, while the W3 is fairly small, its weight makes it less attractive to carry - it feels much heavier than both the iPad Mini and Nexus 7, but not much lighter than our 10-inch tablets. This is because the 10-inch devices are not much heavier than the Iconia W3, but they have a bigger surface area to spread the weight thus making them feel less hefty in overall handling.

Of course, carrying the W3's Bluetooth keyboard with you further hurts its portability, as essentially the keyboard gives the W3 an 11-inch footprint.