Acer Chairman J.T. Wang wasn't messing around when he said the company would be buckling down on its tablet efforts. Only days after opening preorders for the Iconia Tab A500, the Taiwanese system builder has unleashed its Iconia W500, which is powered by a 1GHz AMD C-50 Ontario APU and Windows 7 Home Premium instead of a Tegra 250 and Android 3.0. Graphics are handled by the on-die Radeon HD 6250, which isn't fit for much besides basic office tasks and light multimedia consumption.
Currently listed for $549 at B&H (ships April 15), the W500 features a 10.1-inch 1280x800 LED-backlit multitouch display, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 32GB SSD, as well as two 1280x1024 webcams along with a built-in microphone for conference calls. Connectivity includes 2-in-1 card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. A three-cell battery supposedly gets up to six hours of battery life -- quite a bit less than the A500's claimed maximum of 10 hours.
Battery performance aside, the W500 seems to be a solid offering for folks that would prefer the familiarity and functionality of a Windows-based device. At $100 more than the A500, the W500 doubles the RAM and storage capacities and throws in a hardware keyboard dock for heavier productivity sessions. The W500 is also arguably a better value for workers than Asus' Eee Pad Transformer, which is expected to be about $550 with the keyboard add-on, but has 16GB of storage and runs Honeycomb.