WHILE iOS and Android fans have plenty of options when it comes to tablet PCs, it's been rough for people who just want to stick with Windows.

Fortunately that's working itself out with offerings from Dell, Toshiba and the much updated tablet from Acer, the Iconia W4.

This is a big step for the Iconia. Acer's last attempt, the W3, was a terrible device with very little going for it. The W4, thankfully, has learned a lot of lessons and is a profound improvement.


First impressions are that this is a more sturdy gadget. It's still mainly plastic but the heft feels more like sturdiness rather than weight.

The dimensions will fit in your average-sized hands quite well and the drawn-out bezels make it much easier to hold during use. The 8-inch form factor has always been one inch too big as far as we're concerned, and the large bezels make the screen look oddly proportioned at first. Ten minutes of use should fix this.

The design isn't the classiest for a tablet but it's certainly competitive with other Windows 8.1 tablets. The volume rocker, micro sd and micro usb ports all look sturdy enough to last a while and the physical Windows Start Button is appreciated, if not as pretty as other similar buttons.

Dropping the silly white plastic design of the W3 was such a smart move in the design stakes and the tablet now feels less likely to slip out of your hand when you're using it.

Design verdict: 6/10


The W4 also represents a generational leap in Intel's Atom processors. Given the unimpressive grunt in the W3, Acer have taken advantage of the more powerful new processor coming out of Intel and used it to keep the W4 competitive.

It is fast, for some things. There's a point where all tablets are going to be slower than laptops and fortunately the Iconia W4 is faster than a lot of tablets when it comes to the basics. Swipe here, swipe there, close this, open that - these are done smoothly and quickly.

Where things come unstuck is in the same place most Windows 8.1 gadgets come unstuck. The operating system is enormous and the overheads just to run it boggle the mind. There are benefits, mind you.

Because this is a full Windows 8.1 installation, you can install full applications like Photoshop as you would on a laptop or desktop. The catch is that the W4 only has 64gb of storage so full-cream applications are going to fill it up quickly. The small storage space somewhat negates the usefulness of having a full OS.

If you're sticking to mobile apps, though, the processor and 2gb of RAM are about what you'd expect from a tablet these days and should hold out quite well.

Performance verdict: 6/10

Yes, that's me.
Yes, that's me.



The Battery life on the W4 is impressive. We looped footage of Question Time in parliament on fullscreen over and over until the battery died and managed to get 11 hours and 5 minutes out of it. Less intense use got us upwards of 18 hours.

The tablet comes with a 5 mega-pixel rear-mounted camera and a 2 mega-pixel front-mounted camera and both take decent images despite the low resolution.

Windows 8.1 is the least streamlined of the three major operating systems for gadget but it is a must for some people and professions, so having decent 8.1 options on the market is important.

The Iconia W4 tablet is by far the best 8-inch 8.1 tablet we've reviewed, and for those who prefer Windows, it's a great buy.

Usability verdict: 7/10

Overall Verdict: 7/10

Amazon price: $352.95

Operating System
Operating System Windows 8.1 Single Language
Processor & Chipset
Processor Manufacturer Intel
Processor Type Atom
Processor Model Z3740
Processor Speed 1.33 GHz
Processor Core Quad-core (4 Core)
Standard Memory 2 GB
Memory Technology LPDDR3
Memory Card Reader Yes
Memory Card Supported microSD Extended Capacity (microSDXC)
Flash Memory Capacity 64 GB
Display & Graphics
Screen Size 20.3 cm (8")
Display Screen Type Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Screen Mode WXGA
Screen Resolution 1280 x 800
Backlight Technology LED
Touchscreen Yes
Multi-touch Screen Yes
Graphics Controller Manufacturer Intel
Graphics Controller Model Graphics Media Accelerator HD
Graphics Memory Technology LPDDR3
Graphics Memory Accessibility Shared
Network & Communication
Wireless LAN Yes
Wireless LAN Manufacturer AzureWave
Wireless LAN Model AW-AH691
Wireless LAN Standard IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth Yes
Input Devices
Keyboard Type Touchscreen Keyboard
Built-in Devices
Microphone Yes
Operating System Windows 8.1 Single Language
Operating System Architecture 32-bit
Battery Information
Number of Cells 2-cell
Battery Chemistry Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Battery Capacity 4960 mAh
Maximum Video Battery Time 8 Hour
Power Description
Maximum Power Supply Wattage 10 W
Physical Characteristics
Height 10.8 mm
Width 135 mm
Depth 219 mm
Weight (Approximate) 430 g
Additional Information

Wireless LAN: Acer Nplify 802.11a/b/g/n

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