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Acer Iconia W4 review

Windows 8.1 tablet is highly evolved

The Acer Iconia W4's display is a vast improvement over its predecessor's, serving up strong contrast levels, decent brightness and even colour reproduction with deep blacks. An IPS variant, it lives up to Acer's 170-degree viewing angle claims and is suitable for watching Netflix or sharing other content with a friend.

In fact, it's one of the best screens on an eight-inch tablet to date, with 'punchier' colours compared to the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Toshiba Encore. It uses what Acer calls 'Zero Air Gap' technology, which apparently removes the air between the tough panel and the LCD module to reduce reflections and improve readability under bright sunlight.

That isn't too far off the mark. With the exception of bright ceiling lights indoors, the display copes with reflections well. Outdoor readability is good, but doesn't quite match the high standards set by the Nokia Lumia 2520.

Acer Iconia W4 step
A step in the right direction

Acer has stuck with the tried-and-tested 1280x800-pixel resolution common across eight-inch Windows tablets. It's a suitable choice for the device's size, providing adequate real estate for interacting with desktop applications and Windows 8.1 apps without running into scaling issues.

That's not to say that a higher resolution display wouldn't be appreciated. With a PPI (pixels-per-inch) of 186, the Iconia W4 falls far behind the likes of Apple's iPad Mini with Retina (326ppi) and even a number of seven-inch Android tablets, including the 1080p-toting Nexus 7 (2013) and the Tesco Hudl (242ppi), which costs half the price.

Acer Iconia W4 home button
A pressing matter

The Acer Iconia W4 is similar to the Iconia W3 in terms of design, save for a few modifications that lend it a more premium feel. The most noticeable difference is that the Iconia W3's almost childish-looking white bezel is now a brushed metallic shade, lending it a moodier, 'serious business' feel.

Acer has opted to keep the tactile Windows button, which I find preferable to the touch-sensitive, haptic feedback variants found on other tablets. It's easier to press without looking and makes it easier to take screenshots, if that's what you're into.

In terms of portability, the Acer Iconia W4's 415g is lighter than both the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (900g), iPad Air (Wi-Fi only - 416g) and Kindle Fire HD (354g).

To pit it against similarly-sized adversaries, it's 85g lighter than the Iconia W3 and is more portable than the Dell Venue 8 Pro (395g) and Toshiba Encore (445g). As such, you won't mind throwing it into a bag to take on your travels, and its lightweight nature makes it just as easy handle in portrait mode as landscape.

At 11mm, it's a little thicker than Apple's iPad Mini with Retina, but it never feels cumbersome to hold thanks to rounded corners and even weight distribution.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNet-tablet PC
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Finger Print ReaderNo
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyICONIA W4-820
Operating System Architecture32-bit
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Processor ModelZ3740
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameAcer
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.33 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size20.3 cm (8")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)415 g
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height10.8 mm
Width135 mm
Depth219 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyLPDDR3
Product SeriesW4-820
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product ModelW4-820-Z3742G06aii
Product NameICONIA W4-820-Z3742G06aii Net-tablet PC
Product LineICONIA
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberNT.L31EK.003
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Package Contents
  • ICONIA W4-820-Z3742G06aii Net-tablet PC
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter