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Acer improves the 8-inch display on its new $329.99 Windows 8.1 tablet

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ACer W4
ACer W4

Acer may have launched the first 8-inch Windows 8 tablet, but its initial effort with the Iconia W3 was lacklustre. It's back with the Iconia W4 just months later, and Acer has improved the worst part of the W3: the display. The W4 is still an 8-inch device, but the 1280 x 800 display is now IPS and should provide better viewing angles and color reproduction. Acer is keen to point out its W4 display is using "Zero Air Gap technology," a fancy term for removing the air between the panel and LCD to improve readability and reduce reflection.

Display aside, the W4 is also equipped with Intel's latest fourth generation Atom 1.8GHz processor, and a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front facing camera. It looks very similar to the W3 before it, but the W4 has managed to lose some weight this time around. It's 10.75mm thick and weighs 415g (0.91 pounds). While that's still fairly bulky and heavy compared to an iPad mini, it should definitely improve one-handed use.

The W4 might look the same, but Acer is providing a number of new optional accessories at launch. An Acer Crunch Keyboard is a 5.3mm thin Bluetooth keyboard that sits neatly into an the Crunch Cover that folds out into a tablet stand that also acts as a cover when the tablet is not in use. There's also a passive stylus, power bank, and a keyboard cover available. Acer's Iconia W4 will also ship with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 edition and Windows 8.1. A 32GB model will debut at $329.99 and a 64GB version will cost $379.99, and both include a microSD slot to increase storage. Acer's Iconia W4 will start shipping later this month in the US.