Acer Iconia Tab W500 review

Can a Windows 7 tablet with keyboard replace the netbook?

Acer Iconia Tab W500 review
The Acer Iconia Tab W500 runs Windows 7 and has an optional keyboard dock

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acer iconia tab w500

The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is a frustrating tablet. From a hardware perspective it ticks a lot of the right boxes, and apart from the surprisingly large bezel, it's an attractive enough machine - although not in the same league as the Apple iPad 2 by any means.

The decision to go with a keyboard dock isn't the most logic thing to do with a tablet, but it does work to a certain degree - and means you'll get a bit more life out of this tablet than you would many others.

We liked:

The familiarity of Windows 7. There's no need for an app store, specific builds or worries about whether it supports Flash. Everything you know and use on a daily basis simply works - including your games catalog.

The screen is bright, clear and vivid and offers great viewing angles. The native resolution of 1,280 x 800 makes watching HD video a delight as well.

The AMD Fusion processor is powerful enough for simple tasks, and the inclusion of a DX11 graphics core is impressive

We disliked:

Windows 7 is horrendously frustrating on tablets. The icons are too small, menus are unworkable, the soft keyboard is cramped and there's so much that is simply bloated and unnecessary that even the simplest of tasks is difficult. Windows 7 is great on desktops and laptops, but it shouldn't go anywhere near a tablet.

The screen refresh on turning the screen around is woeful. You'll lock the tablet in landscape mode and never want to change it. This hardly plays to the strengths of the tablet design.

The keyboard dock is a little light and flimsy, so that when the tablet is in place, the whole unit is back heavy and is prone to tipping.


The problem for Acer is its choice of operating system - Windows 7 wasn't designed for use on a tablet, and it really shows.

You only need look at a tablet running Android or an iPad running iOS to see how it should be done - and it's nothing like this. We understand the sentiment, but if you need this level of compatibility, you should really be using a notebook, or a desktop and uploading your files onto a cheaper, more usable tablet than this.