Acer joins the 8-inch Windows tablet fray with the Atom-powered Iconia W4

Acer has produced 8-inch tablets before, but this is the first to run the Windows 8.1 OS

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A major PC manufacturer just announced a new 8-inch tablet running Windows 8.1. Toshiba? No, the Encore was unveiled in early September. Dell? Guess again, the Venue 8 Pro debuted earlier this month. Lenovo? Nope, the Miix2 was revealed yesterday. Today it's Acer's turn to show off the Iconia W4.

Acer has produced more Windows tablet experiments than most manufacturers, so it's ironic that they're among the last to announce an 8-inch version that runs Windows 8.1. If you've been keeping abreast of the Windows tablet market, Acer's Iconia W4 will sound very familiar.

It's powered by a fourth-generation Atom (Bay Trail family) processor running at 1.8GHz. It has an IPS display with resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. It has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. And it's available with either 32- or 64GB of storage, which can be expanded up to an additional 32GB using a MicroSD card slot.

As with the offerings from Toshiba and Lenovo, Acer will include a full copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 edition. The W4 will have a micro-USB socket and a micro HDMI port.

Acer will be offering a range of accessories, including a passive stylus, and two types of jacket for the W4: The Crunch Cover protects the tablet's display and its ports, and it folds out into a tablet stand. The Crunch Cover does the same, but it includes a Bluetooth keyboard that can be charged via Micro USB.

Acer says the Iconia W4 will ship later this month. The model with 32GB is priced at US$330 and the 64GB model is priced at US$380. Prices for the covers and accessories were not disclosed, and Australian pricing is yet to be revealed.

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