Acer Iconia Video Hands-On: Dual Appeal

The Acer Iconia! What a strange dual-screen creature. It's clearly someone's idea of the future of computing, but is it ready for prime time? Take a look for yourself.


The first thing to note is the gesture-based interface: terrifically clever. It feels like how we should be interacting with a next-generation device. place both palms on the bottom panel, and there's your keyboard. Five fingers in the center, there's your media interface. Prefer index finger scrawl to virtual typing? You can do that, too. Neat! Also fun: the ability to cut and paste a website to a "journal" to access it later. Not sure it's more effective than a bookmarklet, but it sure looks fancier. And you can see for yourself how smoothly downloaded HD content plays.


Here's the not-so-great news: the screens, they are glossy. So very glossy. Which wouldn't be such a huge issue were the Iconia not being positioned (or so it seems) as a content-delivery device. And while the screen was mostly responsive to touch, there were enough unresponsive moments to give you pause.

Still, it's an attention-grabbing device, and deservedly so. Now the only question is: who's gonna buy it? And, uh... for how much?

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As time wears on (which I'm guessing would not be long at all), the gee-whiz factor of the second display will suddenly be drowned out by the yearning for a good solid keyboard.

What really kills it, other than the limiting lack of tactility, is the size. If this was the size of a netbook/subnotebook, the dual display thing could [sort of] work in its favor. You'd be less likely to sit there typing for long periods of time on a machine that size, and at the same time it could possibly be used for more than just a laptop (our dearly departed Courier). But even then, the second display will probably still amount to little more than a gimmick. Once you've gotten over the nifty tools in the interface, would you really care to have info coming at you from both the key display and the main viewing display all the time?

This thing has failure written all over it, and with two big displays, you could type it out all over the place.