Top critical review
82 of 90 people found this helpful
I wish I could rate the hardware and software separately...
on December 30, 2012
I ordered this tablet right here from Amazon and received it a few days ago. Here are some things about it that stood out to me right away:
1. It was very nicely packaged in a sturdy box and all the components had their own cardboard compartments and fabric sleeves. Again, very nicely done.
2. Acer provided a lot of very nice extras that I didn't really expect when first looking at this tablet. Along with the tablet itself, you get the charger, a very nice Bluetooth keyboard, a plastic docking station that contains 3 USB 3.0 ports and easily goes between landscape and portrait mode, a sweet leather carrying case that also acts as a stand (landscape mode only, but sets up in keyboard (typing) mode as well as video (upright) mode.), and a HDMI to VGA adapter for plugging the tablet into a monitor or TV. All in all, great accessories! With the case and keyboard, I don't even need the dock, but it's still nice to have for the extra USB ports.
3. The screen is very bright and the color is rich. Right away I turned the brightness down to about half-way and that suited me just fine. The capacitive touch screen is very responsive and works well.
4. I used it pretty consistently through one battery cycle, and was very impressed with the battery life. Now, I'm not a gamer and I wasn't doing much of anything too taxing on the CPU, but with that I was able to get around 10-11 hours out of it. Comparable to iPad, I'd say.
5. The boot-up and shut-down times are phenomenal. I've recently moved to Windows 8 on my laptop and noticed a considerable cut-down in loading time, but on this tablet with its solid-state drive, it blew my laptop out of the water. It must have loaded from total shutdown in like 6 seconds.
6. The tablet is a little bit weighty, but I expected that. With more power under the hood, I wouldn't expect it to be as light as an iPad 2. It's only a bit awkward if you're walking about while holding on to it with one hand and using it. Sitting down in a chair or at a desk is great, though.
7. Seeing as the resolution is so high on this screen, it made it very difficult to tap the really little buttons and menu items in Desktop mode. I had to go into the Control Panel and set text and desktop items to appear larger. At first I tried lowering the resolution, but making the text larger made everything bigger without losing the crispness of the objects, and did not affect programs that require the higher resolution (except for Chrome somehow...I think it did something there. IE worked fine, however) But anyway, with this setting, it made it a lot more comfortable to tap about in Desktop mode, which I spend most of my time in.
I'm rating the hardware and quality of this tablet at a 4.5 out of 5.
Now...here's where I had to knock stars off. A lot...
When you first start the tablet up and are sent to the home screen, you'll notice TWO ENTIRE CLUSTERS of apps all the way to the right. These apps do NOT come with Windows 8. They are apps that Acer has pre-loaded onto the device. Most PC manufacturers do this...seems simple enough to uninstall, right? MAYBE. Some people aren't aware of the messiness that uninstalling programs leaves behind. Files and registry keys are left astray, leaving space for system errors and compatibility issues with other software. This normally does not bother me with a few uninstalls here or there. But try a list of about 20 useless apps and games and trial crapware! The one that really nailed me was McAfee. They had a trial version of the McAfee antivirus software already loaded on the device, waiting for me to say "oh hell yeah! I'd love to purchase a subscription!"
Well, too bad, I already have Norton 360 purchased and waiting to be installed. I uninstalled all of the bloatware, ran CCleaner to hopefully remove files and registry keys, and tried installing Norton. The first thing I see is an error message warning me about McAfee being installed on my PC, and gives me an option to uninstall it. But I already did! What to do...I hunted through my Program Files folders and deleted anything related to McAfee and ran CCleaner again. Norton installed smoothly after this. Tis a shame it never ran...it opened up once, choked on an error and died. Permanently. I tried to uninstall Norton to reinstall it, but the uninstaller had fatal errors too. So here I am left with an un-protected Windows tablet that I can't get any decent AV software onto. Not to mention Office 2010 installed with errors due to the uninstallation of a TRIAL of Office 2010!
Alright, I'll contact Acer. Maybe there is a simple recovery utility in Windows that can bring me to square one. They tell me to go into the PC settings and fire that up...nope, Windows can't find the resources. It must have been an Acer utility that I had deleted. Great... So I asked the guy on the phone if there is any way possible to install JUST the OS and not the bloatware. Got a quick and stern "NO". At that point I had gotten a little frustrated and I shouldn't have been mean with the poor guy but I ended up yelling about how much it sucks that after spending $800 on a new device, I'm stuck with s***ty software that eats up more than half my disk space, eats up memory, uses CPU, clutters up the programs list, and then causes massive problems once uninstalled! I went through this with Dell once way back in the XP days, and they were actually nice enough to send me an Operating System disc. These guys would not do that.
Finally he just told me to buy a retail copy of Windows if I wanted it so badly. I caved and bought Windows 8 Pro, with the intention of making a bootable USB drive out of it (since it's a tablet, hence, no optical drive). I formatted my 16GB USB stick to be a UEFI FAT32 bootable drive with the Win8 ISO image mounted to it. To my surprise, the device does not have the ability to boot to a USB device that is not an external DVD drive. Wtf? It'll boot USB but not USB storage media? So now I'm going to have to go out and buy an external disc reader, since I'm committed to trying to get Windows 8 Pro on this thing (I can't return that).
I'm rating the software on this tablet a ZERO out of 5.
If I can just wipe the tablet clean, format the hell out of it, and set it up like I currently have my notebook PC set up, all would be well and it would be a fantastic-quality tool of productivity.
It's just a shame I'm ending up having to spend so much extra money to get this $800 tablet to work the way I want. If I wanted to be told how I should use my PC, I would have stuck with Apple. Maybe I should have just gotten the Surface Pro. I've now spent about what that costs anyway.
EDIT: AFTER HAVING THIS TABLET FOR ONE WEEK...
After using an external DVD drive to install a retail copy of Windows 8 Pro, this tablet rules. It runs very fast, and very efficiently. So, all I have to say is that if you are willing to wipe the tablet clean and start from scratch with a fresh OS install, it's an AMAZING tablet. If you plan on leaving it the way Acer provides it to you, it just may suck, depending on what you want it for. I highly recommend the device, with a fresh install. And don't forget to install drivers from Acer.com and Windows Update!