Not too long ago it seems I was itching to get my hands on an iPad. And I did, and I loved it and I use it well. But soon there were other options out there to check out in Android tablets, and then Windows tablets.  With the mass of tablets on the market today it may be hard to decide which one is right for you.

If you are a PC user, you might want to think about how great it is to actually use some of the programs that you use every day and carry your data on your tablet PC. I recently received the Acer Iconia W500 Windows 7 tablet for review. There is a huge bonus to using a Windows 7 based tablet. It is a REAL computer. You can run the same versions of software that you run on your PC. Although the Iconia has only a 32gb solid state drive, it still lends enough space to install the basics of what you might need while out on the go. The Iconia came with Microsoft Office Starter Edition, which is good. I chose to install a few other things including Tweetdeck, Photoshop, Evernote, Skype, Google Chrome, and Dropbox. My Dropbox account is 2gb, so I am able to store important documents that I might need to get to often there and everything syncs to the tablet.

Also, since it includes USB ports, you can plug in an external hard drive or USB key full of your data, or install an 32GB SD card to use for storage.

I also purchased a stylus to use with my tablets. This let’s me draw, take notes, and manipulate images in Photoshop nice and easy. Things come out much smoother with a stylus than my finger. 🙂

With the right combination of programs and the included keyboard dock, the Acer Iconia W500 makes a pretty good netbook alternative.
The tablet also comes with the Acer Ring (pictured above). By tapping all five fingers of one hand on the screen the Acer Ring pops up and lends easy access to tablet settings such as Bluetooth, sound, and other things.

Specifications

  • Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium – 32-bit version
  • AMD Dual-Core Processor C-50 (1.0GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
  • 2GB DDR3 Dual-Channel memory
  • 32GB solid state drive
  • Acer® 10.1″ HD Multi-Touch LED-backlit TFT LCD (1280 x 800)
  • ATI Radeon™ HD 6250 Graphics
  • AMD A50M Fusion™ chipset – 802.11b/g/n WLAN
  • Dual webcams
  • Dolby® Advanced Audio® v2 Audio Enhancement –
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI® –
  • 2 USB ports (3 when docked)
  • Acer® FineTip keyboard
  • 2-in-1 card reader
  • 3-cell battery
  • 1-year limited warranty

 

Pros

  • Since it’s Windows, there is true multitasking. Also, if the need arises, you can open two programs or windows side by side. You cannot do this on an iOS or Android tablet (yet).
  • All your favorite Windows software will run
  • Dock is included, no need to spend extra money on a Bluetooth keyboard
  • USB ports make it possible to connect external peripherals
  • SD Card slot for transferring photos and other data

 

Cons

  • The onscreen keyboard is a little small, which makes it hard to type. But connecting to dock or using a stylus can help this.
  • Not much is available in the Windows Market just yet, but not a deal breaker since it runs Windows 7 so you can install what you need.
  • 32b of space, so not much data storage, so use external storage or store your data in the Cloud.

 

Summary

The Acer Iconia W500 is a very viable netbook alternative. Plus, when you need a tablet you can remove it from the keyboard dock and go. It is smooth and responsive and can run your favorite Windows programs. Just be conscious of the amount of space. The Acer Iconia W500 will run you $549.99.

 

Disclosure: This tablet was provided for me in exchange for this review as part of my involvement in the AMD Tech Moms program.