I really should not be allowed up town just after I’ve got paid. Particularly if I then happen across an Acer Iconia W3 for a very tempting 250 quids. I had a careful look online and read a bunch of reviews that said the screen was horrible and it wasn’t up to much. And then I bought one anyway. Two reasons really. I’ve love to have Windows 8 in an 8.1 inch display form factor. And this is actually “full fat” Windows 8, in that it is running on an Intel Atom processor and so it is able to run LightRoom and Windows Live Writer. The one thing the reviews agreed on (even the unhappy ones) was that the battery life was good at well over 8 hours. I like that a lot. And to me the display looks fine.
It comes with a license for Office 2013 Home edition, which I’ve bumped up to the Premium one. I’m not going to be putting Visual Studio on the machine, but then again with only around 11G free (I got the penny pinching 32G version) it might not fit anyway. The thing is, I don’t see this as my primary developer machine. More something I can cart along with me and use to knock out blog posts with pictures.
I’d just about got everything working and then I broke it all by wiping the machine clean and loading up Windows 8.1. This has mostly worked, although at the moment the orientation sensor is lacking a proper driver so I can only use it in landscape mode, which is a pity.
The main reason for all that danger and excitement is that I wanted the much improved SkyDrive integration in Windows 8.1. The small amount of internal storage matters a lot less if I’ve got access to everything in the cloud and then I can mark “work in progress” folders as living on the device. Windows 8.1 does this really well, and there’s no need to install the desktop client thingy. And I can drop another 64G of storage into the micro SD slot if I want to take some movies or music with me.
At the price I reckon it is an absolute steal. The screen is a bit of an acquired taste. It looks wonderful if you can get your head into the correct position, otherwise the contrast dips and all kinds of weird colour schemes appear, although it remains useable. If you consider that you can’t get much of an iPad for that price you start to see just how much properly useful technology you get in a tiny package.