Acer Already Working on Iconia W3 Replacement

Just the other day I took a stroll in Staples and happened to see Acer's Iconia W3 tablet sporting Windows 8. The wife was grazing for something uninteresting so I snuck away to the notebook department. Acer's 8.1 inch Windows 8 tablet lured me in, as it had its own dedicated display, allowing for a little one-on-one time. What I discovered was an interesting device.

Typically I don't use a first-person approach, but in this case it's needed, so take this as a brief encounter instead of a full hands-on review. Surprisingly the tablet felt a little heavy for its size, and I quickly noticed a warm spot behind the logo stamped on the back. My two Nexus tablets don't heat up like this, especially when they're sitting idle doing absolutely nothing save for pumping email, Facebook and other notifications. As I mentioned on Twitter, users may want to default to using the optional cover just to keep from directly touching that area. It won't burn, but it's a little annoying nevertheless.

The other glaring aspect of the first sub-10 inch Windows 8 tablet was the screen. It had a weird reflective, metallic surface which looked unattractive and hard to view for long durations. The culprit is the Twisted Nematic display used in the device which have reportedly rubbed retailers and reviewers alike the wrong way. I now see what the fuss has been about despite PC World saying "it was nowhere near bad enough to be a deal breaker." Acer, it seems, was cutting corners to get the first 8.1 inch Windows 8 tablet on the market at a semi-decent price.

That leads us to unsurprising news that Acer is already working on a replacement model. While the hardware details are next to zero, Acer Netherlands spokesperson Sterre Swank told Dutch site that a new version will be offered in September.  It will be slimmer, lighter, and sport an IPS LCD panel, ditching the Twisted Nematic version. IPS displays have better viewing angles and color vibrancy than TN displays, but cost more for the device maker, hence the "cutting corners" reference.

The move arrives after many retailers have threatened to discontinue sales of the tablet, as they're reportedly fighting just to dry up their already small supply of Iconia W3 units. An 8.1 inch Windows 8 tablet would seemingly be ideal for computing away from the desk, but sales and a number of reviews say differently. Does this mean customers will see a fire sale soon?

So far it's unclear if the new Windows 8 tablet will carry the same name, or use something completely different to distance it from the Iconia W3. It's also unclear how much this tablet will cost: the current model is priced at $379.99 for the 32 GB version and $429.99 for the 64 GB version… and that's with the "cheaper" Twisted Nematic display. Cross your fingers that IPS panel doesn't jack up the price.

Click here for Marcus' hands-on with the Acer W3.

  • AndrewMD
    I have also seen this unit in the store, it is roughly $349.99 at Staples but that screen is the one thing that keeps me away from it. It is the right size for a small computing device however. It would have been nice to know if that screen has the ability to be viewed outdoors in direct sunlight to justify that horrible looking screen
  • therealduckofdeath
    At AndrewMD: The only good thing about TN screens is that they're usually very bright. So it will probably work decently outdoors. Personally I'll do like everyone else, wait for the IPS version, as TN displays really aren't suited for tablets.
  • w8gaming
    8" IPS display is used by so many other manufacturers in their Android tablet which sells at a low price, it is highly doubtful inclusion of such will change the price much. It never cease to amaze that some manufacturers decide to cut corner on the display or the storage size, while a much better spec would have sell a lot more units despite the price.
  • hp79
    Nitpick here, "Twisted Nematic display" - Why don't you just say it's a TN display? Otherwise you should have spelled out what IPS is too. Honestly, I had to think for a second what Twisted Nematic display is when reading your article.

    Now to the tablet, I think because Windows 8's app store still lacks a lot, this tablet along with most of all the other Windows 8 tablets are useless. I have a Atom z2670 equipped Samsung ATIV XE-500T, and I only use the old Desktop apps in Desktop mode. OneNote being the most frequently used. Besides, Acer's tablet doesn't even have a digitizer.
  • RaviSGill
    I bought W3 64 GB version in India day before yesterday Windows version for Rs. 29990/- in India and took the sealed peace as I needed to gift the item. Brought home and saw that there were two line permanent ones in the bottom of the screen. Now they are telling me that I might have slipped it and due to shock it might have ruptured the pixels.. The latest version is also not worth buying if they cannot replace n just make excuses...
  • nhat11
    Nice thing about running windows 8 x86 is that you can install bluestacks and run Windows AND droid apps.
  • cliffep
    I have long been awaiting a decent native Windows tablet - like my iPad, but really need USB/SD expansion, and did not like tacky build or screen of the W3. If theyr'e improved I will leap at the next one :-)
  • damianrobertjones
    Did this ever happen?