Acer Intros New Haswell Notebooks, 8-Inch Windows 8 Tablet and More at Computex 2013

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Computex is almost always a time for the Taiwanese tech giants to make headlines, so it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Acer introduced some notable new devices at its annual press conference this morning. Here’s a quick rundown of what was shown.

The First 8-Inch Windows 8 Tablet

\"AcerPerhaps most notably, Acer revealed the Iconia W3, the first 8-inch tablet to run Windows 8. And yes, that’s full Windows 8, not the lesser Windows RT that’s typically found on more diminutive or lower-powered Windows slates.

That means the Iconia W3 is able to run legacy Windows programs and sync user settings across multiple Windows 8 devices, and to that end Acer is pre-installing Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 onto each machine. Acer will also sell an $80 keyboard as an added accessory for those who don’t want to rely solely on touch input with the full OS.

The device, which was first leaked through a brief Amazon listing last month, is powered by a dual-core 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor, and sports an 8.1-inch 1280 x 800 LCD display. It comes with either 32 or 64 GB of storage, which can be expanded up to 64 more GB through microSD, as well as dual 2-megapixel cameras on its front and back. It measures at 0.45 inches thick and weighs 1.1 pounds; Wi-Fi, micro-USB and micro-HDMI are supported; and Acer claims it’ll provide up to 8 hours of battery life.

With rumors of a 7-inch Surface tablet bubbling underneath the surface for some time now, the Iconia W3 probably won’t be the only small Windows 8 tablet for long, but it’s a milestone nevertheless. Pre-orders for the device begin today at various retailers, with a full launch arriving by the end of the month. Acer says the Iconia W3 will be priced at $379 in the US, though it isn’t saying whether or not that figure is for the 32 or 64 GB model just yet.

TechnologyGuide has gone hands-on with the Iconia W3, so head over here to learn more about the new Windows 8 slate.

The Aspire S7 Gets Haswell

\"AcerWhile the quality of the Iconia W3 is still unknown for now, Acer has already proven itself to be a more than capable notebook manufacturer with devices like last year’s Aspire S7. Today, the company revealed that it would iterate upon that Ultrabook’s success by unveiling an upgraded Aspire S7, one that now packs a Haswell processor, a higher-resolution display and, according to Acer, greatly improved battery life.

The new Aspire S7 will sport 8 GB of RAM, doubling the amount found in last year’s model, and come in fourth-gen Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processor configurations. It’ll only arrive as a 13.3-inch model (there was an 11-inch version last year), and will sport a 34% larger battery that now sits at 6,280 mAh. That increase won’t sacrifice the Ultrabook’s slim form factor, however, as the new model will have almost the same size (0.51 inches) and weight (2.87 pounds) as before.

Other specs are largely the same as last year’s edition, as the new Aspire S7 will have a 1080p touchscreen, a 128 GB solid state drive, and two USB 3.0 ports. That display will be bumped up to a Retina-style 2,560 x 1,440 resolution in select regions, but all versions will still have the new notebook’s unibody frame and Gorilla Glass 2 lid. Acer says pricing for the Aspire S7 will start at $1,400, with various configurations extending up to $1,700 from there.

The Aspire S3 Gets Redone

\"AcerThe Aspire S7’s upgrades may understandably be more iterative than innovative, but that doesn’t mean that Acer is keeping all of its notebooks the same. The firm announced that it is completely revamping its Aspire S3 Ultrabook to be more of a performance-level machine by giving it fourth-gen Intel processors, optional Nvidia GeForce GT 735M graphics and a 1 TB HDD.

The new Aspire S3 will borrow much of its other details from the S7, including a 1080p IPS touchscreen display and a lid (sans Gorilla Glass) that can bend back 180 degrees, but will be a bit heftier at 0.7 inches thick and 3.68 pounds. Acer says the device will begin shipping in July and cost €999 in Europe, though it hasn’t announced how that will translate to the US yet.

The First Acer Phablet

\"AcerThe Iconia W3, Aspire S7 and Aspire S3 will likely be the major products to come out of the press conference as far as American consumers are concerned, but Computex is an international show, so they weren’t the only devices Acer had to show. Case in point: The company revealed its first ever ‘phablet’ smartphone, dubbed the Liquid S1.

The 5.7-inch device will probably evoke comparisons to similar hybrids like the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the LG Optimus G Pro due to its big size, but it has what sound like comparatively lesser specs – underneath its 1280 x 720 display sit a quad-core 1.5 GHz Mediatek processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage (which can be upgraded to 32 GB through microSD). LTE radios are unfortunately missing as well, though 3G and Wi-Fi are supported. Naturally, it’s a big boy at 0.43 pounds, though part of that is due to the Liquid S1’s 2,400 mAh replaceable battery.

What could make the Liquid S1 stand out, however, is its almost stock Android-style software. The device runs Android 4.2 that\’s only covered by Acer\’s relatively light skin, which itself contains various features designed for multitasking.

Acer says that the phablet will arrive in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia, the UK and Germany in Q3 2013 to start, with Spain and Italy to get it sometime after that. Prices will start at €349.

For more on the Liquid S1, be sure to check out TechnologyGuide\’s hands-on preview.

A New All-in-One and a New Wireless Storage Device

\"AcerFinally, there were a couple of lower-profile announcements that rounded out the news from Acer’s annual press event.  First, the company announced a retooled version of its Aspire Z3 all-in-one desktop, which will sport a 23-inch 1080p LCD touchscreen display, Harman Kardon speakers, an “adjustable HD webcam” and the usual variety of ports. Acer says the Z3 will run Windows 8 and be powered by an unspecified Intel Core processor and Intel HD integrated graphics. It’ll be available sometime this month for an as-of-yet unknown price.

And last but not least, the firm unveiled Orbe, a new wireless storage device made to connect to the company’s AcerCloud cloud storage service. It’ll house 2TB of storage and allow AcerCloud users to access their online data across a variety of their devices.

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