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Acer’s new W4-820 - an AU$449, 8” Windows 8.1 tablet comes with a free version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 - that normally costs $169 - making it the best value way to buy a full-fledged Windows computer for the home, small office, or student use.

It’s a tablet by day – with up to 10 hours battery life – 8 hours video playback – but you can plug in an external 1080p monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB hub and any Windows compatible USB device to turn it into a full desktop experience. You can also extend the battery life with a low cost Energiser “spare” or use even a smartphone charger that plugs into the micro USB port.

It uses Intel’s new power sipping, yet powerful Bay Trail 4th generation processor that will play HD movies, perform office productivity tasks, join the home network, and do anything that a Windows PC can.

Specifications are typical of the new generation Bay Trail tablets like the Toshiba Encore, Lenovo MiiX, or Dell Venue Pro:

  • 8”, 1280x800, 16:10, IPS screen – good in daylight with a 170 degree viewing angle
  • Intel Bay Trail Atom Z3740 1.33/1.8GHz (burst), quad-core processor
  • 2GB ram, 32 or 64GB storage available and microSD slot
  • 135 x 219 x 10.75mm (WDH), 415g
  • 5MP rear and 2MP front camera
  • Micro HDMI out; headphone/microphone socket; Micro USB (for charging and connection to a hub); Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi N.
  • 4960 mAh lithium Polymer battery
  • Optional Bluetooth Crunch Keyboard/cover (chicklet style keys) or Crunch Cover

Acer also released the A1 (7.9”,) and B1 (7”) Android tablets at CES.

Opinion

Earlier this year Toshiba launched the acclaimed 8” Encore – with the same specifications. Most brands of tablets under 10” now come with Microsoft Office Home and Student – over that you need to purchase it for AU$169 so this is excellent value.

What we are seeing is a push by Microsoft to extend its grip on desktop/notebook market and frankly a $449 tablet INCLUDING OFFICE is an incredible carrot with no real downsides.

It is not an iPad mini nor is it an Android tablet – these are mainly for fun and play. It is far more if you want to create content and use the operating system and Office software you probably use at work.

Add a $20 powered USB hub to run multiple USB devices – like keyboards, mice or printers – the graphics drivers even support any 1080p monitor/TV – from 20-100”. This is a winner.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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