New cables for the Acer Iconia W3 Windows 8.1 Tablet
On the day the iPad Air went on sale in the United States, I finally received the cables I needed for my Iconia W3 nearly a month ago. One cable is a Micro USB to Male USB, and the other is a Micro HDMI to HDMI. These cables are very expensive (if you can find them) in stores; ordering on Amazon, they were less that $6.00 for both, shipped. Almost less than the cost of postage.
This meant that I was able to attach my Casio PX-350 to the W3 for the first time…and it worked flawlessly. Remember: Casio is using a MIDI driver that currently does not work with Finale (I'm hoping that Finale 2014 solves the issue), so I had to test the cable/connection with Notion 4. It works great…and in fact, I can tell that I would prefer using a tablet PC (perhaps not an eight inch tablet) with a keyboard versus a notebook computer. When you are working on a stand-alone keyboard, and not a mini-keyboard, there is no great place to put your notebook while you are working. The tablet fits easily on the piano's music stand, and the keyboard of the Acer W3 can be placed anywhere. Granted, buttons in “legacy desktop” PC programs are still VERY small for any tablet application, but keystrokes can be substituted for most onscreen buttons.
I also connected the W3 to out family's HDTV, and that was flawless (even a better connection than our MacMini which normally uses that connection–the Mac Mini seems to forget the display settings every time you turn off the TV, causing the image to go to 4:3 rather than widescreen, and I can't find any easy solution to fix the problem. I can see purchasing the W3 as a desktop computer (really), using a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and buying a cheap widescreen HDTV to use as a monitor…this would be a pretty reliable setup. At that point, however, you are treating the W3 as a desktop rather than a tablet, so the negatives of the legacy desktop on the tablet are gone–but then the Windows RT/Metro interface makes no sense.
Windows has talked about creating tabets that run Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Android. They call this double boot, whereas I would call it triple boot, as their setup already acts as if you have two devices. This device would be appealing to me, as I could have one device to test all of the features of all of Apple's competitors (Windows and Android).
I have had some issues with the W3, such as unexplained shutdowns, and I had to completely restore the device once already. I still can't get the news tile from Microsoft to load, and I'm pretty sure that Microsoft isn't going to help me. But for a device that cost $293, shipped, with its keyboard, is a pretty good deal.
There is another new tablet, the Asus Transformer T-100 that just entered the market. It is a 10 inch tablet with a detachable keyboard with touchpad included. Early reviews have been skeptical about the keyboard, but in many ways it is a Surface Pro 2 without the higher price tag. It also lacks the special stylus of the Surface Pro 2, so that may be an issue for you. You can buy the 64GB model from a number of resellers for $399. It has a far better screen than my W3, and it is 2″ larger diagonally. If you are looking for a Windows computer, you might want to consider that device (hoping you find a good one and being willing to exchange until you do)…but I would also suggest the extended warranty if you buy such a device. Oh…and you'll still need those extra cables that I bought for the Acer Iconia W3.