I have had my new Windows 8 tablet (Acer Iconia W510) for about two and a half weeks now, using it every day, and I have to say that I really like it. It is a huge improvement compared to my previous Android one. Sure there are a few things that I don’t like so much but in general it has been a positive experience.
Now, let’s make it clear that we’re talking about Windows 8 on a tablet here. It is quite obvious that Windows 8 was designed for a tablet type device. As I have said in several previous posts (for instance this one) some of the design decisions that Microsoft has taken concerning the Desktop version of Windows 8 simply makes no sense and drags the new OS down.
Okay, now with that out of the way, back to my tablet. It got an Atom Z2760 processor and 64 Gb of storage. Unlike what appears to be the case with the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets I have a decent amount of storage left. Around 26 Gb after installing a few apps, including Desktop ones, and syncing a few Gb of SkyDrive documents onto it. This still includes the recovery partition which I have the option of removing after having made a recovery USB stick. Despite being an Atom based one it is a lot faster than my A500, especially when doing some web browsing. Also, more importantly, the browser really works. It renders the pages correctly and it doesn’t force close every so often as the Android ones (I tried most of the Android browsers) did.
Battery life is excellent as well. It easily lasts a full day. This is actually the main reason I went for the W510 and it’s Atom processor instead of going for the more powerful i5 or i7 based ones like Microsoft Surface Pro. The battery life just is not good enough on those tablets…yet. I guess the new ultra-low power i5’s and i7’s that Intel have advertised might change that,
The “modern UI”, as it is called now, really works well on a tablet (unlike on a Desktop) and you can also run all the existing Windows Desktop apps although, for many apps, this is not ideal to do on a tablet. One Desktop app that I installed right away was the SkyDrive one which allowed me to automatically keep my documents synced on the tablet. I also quickly installed the apps that I use to manage my movie- and e-book library since I frequently use these to make updates when sitting in front of the TV in the evenings.
The number of apps available is off course still limited and there’s some that one might feel is missing. Having said that I feel that I have less need for apps on the W510 than I had on the Android tablet since the web browser is actually useful on Windows 8. Thus I do not really need, for example, a Goodreads app since I can use their web site for updates. Same with the CanalSat program listing and a lot of other stuff where you really needed an app on the Android tablet since the browser was pretty useless. Also, all the apps are made for a tablet form factor instead of the plethora of less than useful Android apps that insisted on behaving like they were on a phone.
Not everything is wonderful of course. The built in apps from Microsoft are still unbelievably half-baked and seems rushed out the door. Things like no combined in-box in the mail app, an incredibly slow Windows 8 Store, less than useful photo app (to put it mildly) and a lot of other issues should simply not have been allowed to still be around in the release version of the OS.
The most frustrating issue so far is not Microsoft’s fault though. I use my tablet a lot to read books but the Kindle app for Windows 8 is truly the worst piece of crap I have ever seen in a long time. It is truly unbelievable that they let this app out the door. It is slow as hell, the reading settings are inadequate and worst of all, if you start to read a book, then reads a few chapters on another device, then try to go back and continue on the Windows 8 app it simply starts to spin forever. The “crappiness” of this app actually makes me try as hard as I can to find any book I want in epub-format from some other vendor before I resort to buying it from Amazon.
My overall impression so far is, as you have probably noticed, a very positive one.