www.acer.com/us • Retail Price: $549
It’s likely that any new tablet computer will
be compared to an iPad. The Acer Iconia
Tab W500 is no exception.
Acer’s 10.1-inch tablet runs on the
Windows 7 OS and comes witl a docking
station and keyboard built in as a case.
It is similar to the iPad in size and shape
but slightly heavier once the keyboard
accessory is added. The innovative combination
of the removable keyboard dock
in a detachable clamshell really sets this
device apart. Kevin Hurley, a math teacher
at Maine South High School, says, “The
detachable keyboard design is very slick
and easy to use.”
Because this tablet runs a full version
of Windows 7, it is a much more
appropriate teaching tool for a classroom
teacher. Running Flash and all of the familiar
desktop applications, teachers and
students can get a familiar
and yet have the tablet
The Iconia W500
also adds the tablet
interface with all of the
gestures common to tablet
technology. The product’s touch
screen is better than most, yet not
quite as responsive as an iPad.
The major downside of this device is
the lack of a stylus or digital pen. Windows
7 offers incredible “inking” technology and is very responsive
to handwriting recognition, all of which is lost when you
go from a pen to a finger.
The fact that you are working
on a real computer with
USB drives, integrated
SD card reader, dual
cameras, and HDMI
video out, makes the
Acer Iconia Tab W500
a much more versatile tool
for the classroom than other tablet
options. Several of my teachers are recording
presentations using tablets and Jing, which
the iPad and Android tablets do not support. This type
of a device would be well received by teachers as a multipurpose
presentation and work device. Hurley, who has
used a tablet PC for instruction for the past three years,
said “this device is easy to hand to students and is intuitive
• For the price of other popular tablets running a mobile operating system, you gain a full
operating system, a keyboard, and an “eraser tip” two-button mouse. This allows for
easy creation of content as well as consumption.
• The device is relatively light, intuitive, and responsive to natural gestures.
• The ability to run Flash gives the classroom teacher access to the full range of materials
on the Web.