Loading the Windows 8 Developer Preview on my Acer Iconia W500 Tablet Pt. 3

Loading the Windows 8 Developer Preview on my Acer Iconia W500 Tablet Pt. 3

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So, on to part 3, but firstly a recap of what I've discovered, what you've discovered, and where we are at...

Firstly, on the driver front - while the Developer Preview will install most of the drivers you need to get the system up and running, but there are a few additional ones you will need to load as you discover things that aren't enabled. Listing them quickly, and all available for download from the Acer website.

Bluetooth driver
Device Control
Auto Screen Rotation Blocker
G Sensor

Windows Update also kindly provided an updated version of the AMD graphics driver.

All up, not a huge amount of additional software to install, and much easier when you've got a bunch of people contributing suggestions - and for that I send out a big thanks!

I've had a few requests about day to day usability, so here goes...

Because I was used to the performance of the device under Windows 7, I knew what to expect from the Explorer view, but the real question was how would it cope with Metro. I'm please to say that I've had no issues with the Metro peformance, but unfortunately the 1280*800 screen resolution doesn't allow side by side apps in Metro, which would be a deal killer for some. As you start looking at tablet devices with screens that are 1368*768 or higher, you are limited in terms of devices that are currently available, and will have to make some tradeoffs in price, size, weight etc.

Overall performance of the device leads to me using it for some specific tasks, running Office 2010, Lync, Internet Explorer and most recently Skype, but it's not a device you would want to use if you were a heavy multitasker or doing intensive tasks like video editing or transcoding. I'm looking forward to more Metro applications to become available so that I can live inside of Metro for longer time periods.

The touch accuracy under Windows 8 seems much better than under Windows 7, so my mis-taps are reduced. One of the things that I have concluded is that one of the accidental drops that my machine experienced does cause an occasional erratic Show Desktop activation, which I was also seeing under Windows 7, so it will need to go back in for repair, as well as replacing the broken F2 key after the machine decided to perform a backflip off my lap. For those of you have tried to use the docked W500 on your lap will know what I am referring to here, but the weight/balance of the machine is not suitable to any degree of rearwards tilt. Thankfully I've got some contacts at Acer who should be able to help me out here without their service teams declaring them user generated incidents.

I mentioned in one of the responses to an earlier article that one of the things i like about the competing MSI Windpad product is that it has a TPM, which is really a requirement to have a PC participate seamlessly with our corporate network policies due to TPM based Bitlocker requirements. While this isn't a major issue for most people today, as more companies roll out Windows 7 Enterprise and take advantage of it's enhanced security capabilities such as Direct Access, these hardware capabilities will become critical.

Keep the questions, hints and feedback coming, I'm just as keen to get more out of this device as you are.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
  • thanks for your info, whats the cold boot times like and are you getting better battery life?

  • The boot time with the modified shut down is 5 seconds

    I can squeeze about 4 hours of video streaming now

  • Adding to the battery life - I've found that the screen brightness really plays a big factor here, and the screen is good enough that the brightness can be set quite low by default. I can't really say if there is a big difference between the two because I tended to use the tablet as a notebook with Windows 7, so it was usually receiving power, but now I'm running it in slate mode much more.

  • You can still snap Metro apps side-by-side with a simple registry edit. It's enabled by default only for higher resolution displays.

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the review! Just wanted to check if back and forward touch navigation works for you, say, in IE10.

  • Hi JJ

    We need to be careful talking about the supportability of features that may change as the product goes through it's various stages of development, so the usual "your mileage may vary" caution needs to be taken with this.

    cheers

    Mark

  • During setup on my W500, I get prompted for language, and then to start install, it goes to Setup is starting... then there is a long delay and I am prompted for a missing CD/DVD device driver.  I am booting off of a USB thumb drive, any ideas?

  • Scott, when I was prompted for a missing CD/DVD driver it meant I had a bad download of the ISO.  Try again and make sure that the checksum matches with what it says it's supposed to be.

    I am sooooooo close to buying a W500 to put Win8 on to do some development.  But haven't found it locally yet, only the Android version.  :(  I should have just ordered it online when I orginally wanted it and I'd already have it.  LOL

  • Mike,

    I ordered one off e-Bay for $409 with shipping.  It was a refurb and looks brand new, but no paper manuals or even a recovery DVD.  He still has some left:

    cgi.ebay.com/.../eBayISAPI.dll

    Thanks folks for all the helpful info, I installed from a USB stick (had to reset the boot order and use the BIOS F12 setting) and then installed the drivers and apps in the list above.  Everything works well. Just wish it would work with a Pen.  I have had 4 pen based tablets with active digitizers, but Win 8 needs touch and pen.

    David

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