Grays Online has the Acer Iconia W4-820 tablet on sale this weekend for $258.95 with shipping. Deal-wise, that's about as low as we've seen this tablet discounted to so far this year. Not only that, but if you look around online you'll find that most other retailers (e.g. oo.com.au, AusPC, Acer) are charging between $350 - $450 with delivery for this device.
Thus on the outset, this would appear to be a bargain. However, if you look at the comments within the deal that was posted on Buckscoop about this offer, what's interesting is that without having to spend significantly more on the European version of this tablet, you can get quite a bit more for your money. Both in terms of display quality and storage capacity. Two factors which I could imagine many would consider well worth the additional outlay, which only equates to about 20% extra compared to the price of the Australian version.
The Australian model of the Acer Iconia W4-820 tablet has an 8” TFT LCD 1200 x 800 resolution display with 32GB of data storage. However, for roughly $70 more, you can get your hands on the same tablet with a higher quality IPS screen and double the storage capacity via Amazon UK. One possible reason for this could be as a result of the relative bargaining power that European retailers have over Australian retailers, which is directly related to the vast amount of potential buyers across Europe. This potentially allows European retailers to negotiate devices with superior specifications for the same/similar prices compared to the devices available to Australians locally.
What is an IPS Screen?
IPS (In-plane switching) is a screen technology used for liquid crystal displays (LCDs). IPS is improved from TFT by offering much better colour reproduction and more accurate viewing angles.
The screen on both versions of this tablet (i.e. Grays Online's versus Amazon UK's Acer Iconia tablet) is multi-touch and runs the operating system of Windows 8.1. Other specifications include an Intel Atom Z3740 Quad-core 1.33 GHz processor, and 2GB of RAM. Plus you get a 2MP crystal eye full HD front camera and a 5MP rear camera. All of this tech is powered by a 4960 mAh battery and the device comes with a one year Acer warranty.
This tablet is the successor to the very popular W3 tablet released by Acer just over a year ago. It is aimed to compete aggressively within the 8-inch market against the likes of Toshiba, Dell and Lenovo. One perk is that the Acer will come with a free copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 giving you access to Word, PowerPoint and Excel, although Outlook has been excluded.
Negative reviews of this tablet:
The processing power of the tablet is slightly restrictive and can sometimes lag when attempting to run numerous tasks, its port selection is slightly limited as well as the storage capacity of the device being slightly misleading (see final paragraph). However, Intel recently said that they would be releasing their upcoming 64-bit Atom processors that will be compatible with small tablets, something that has also been confirmed by Microsoft.
Positive reviews of this tablet:
The UK version of this tablet has an excellent screen, an aspect which is often a very important determinant in the decision to buy such a device. The fact that this tablet comes with a free version of Microsoft office saves you the usual cost of a $100 or more. Plus, its all day battery life has been one of the fundamental reasons for its global success.
Going back and looking at Grays Online's deal in more detail, I took great consideration over the comments left by Captainjack regarding the inferior TFT LCD screens used in these devices within Australia. Besides highlighting the lower quality display, the other severe disadvantage of the 32GB version is that in reality the amount of usable space on the tablet is actually only about 15GB. So in order to get the full 32GB that you initially thought you were getting with the device, you need to buy a microSD card to increase internal storage.
In summary, I would personally be inclined to spend the additional $70 to get the IPS display / 64GB device from Amazon UK.