What is it? The W500 is a dual-purpose device – it can operate as a tablet/slate, or you can connect it to a keyboard that also doubles as a protective carrying case. It looks more like a notebook at first than a tablet. The device runs on Windows 7 (Home Premium or Professional), has a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen, AMD dual-core processor (1GHz) , 2GB of RAM, 32GB Solid State Drive, dual 1.3 megapixel cameras (front and rear), and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. The device is aimed at an education, health care and general business audience, Acer says.
Unique features: The keyboard attachment makes it easy to detach from the office and bring into a meeting, or for workers who need to be more mobile. When connected to the dock, it was nice to be able to work on the device as if it were a notebook, making text input a lot quicker and easier via keyboard than having to type something with my fingers on the screen. The attachment also has an Ethernet port, which was great for connecting to the Internet for application and OS updates – especially with Windows 7 updates, it’s nice having that Ethernet wire instead of having to hope for a good Wi-Fi connection. Like the other Iconia device, this one has the Clear.fi app for organizing and accessing multimedia stored on different devices within the same home network.
Compared to iPad: With a Windows 7 OS, the W500 is geared more towards workers or markets with a need for Windows-based applications. The “apps” on the device don’t operate like they do on Android or Apple iOS devices, but are rather shortcut links to Web pages or other Windows 7 programs. The W500 reminded me more of the earlier days of tablets, when they were called slates, well before the iPad came along. The two cameras on the W500 are geared more towards Web chatting rather than any digital camera or video taking that the other tablets would offer.
Bottom line: Windows 7 is not a particularly good tablet operating system, so comparing it to the iPad or an Android tablet could be seen as unfair. However, designing a tablet to look and feel like those devices could confuse users into thinking that Windows 7 should be compared to that – in reality, the W500 is more like a netbook or earlier slate/tablet device.