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Tablet PC for a photographer: Acer W500 review. Cool toy or a serious little tool?

I was always looking on the tablet devices, and the only thing was stopping me from buying one is that I could not find a use for it: -)
Web browsing, ebook reading, occasional video, emails, Skype and similar activities I happy to perform on my DroidX2 phone. Larger screen alone was never a deal breaker for me: I still have a good eyes: ) What I really wanted is to have extremely portable PC, where I can covert camera RAWs and prepare photos for blog, create and edit PDF: do everything (except video editing) what I currently do on my Lenovo W700.

When I’ve looked at  Windows-based tablets, many people suggested that they will be too weak for “real PC” job. I’ve decided to give it a try:-) So, I’ve bought Acer W500 for $500 here.

 Acer W500 tablet running Adobe Lightroom 3.3

Sound is chopped, I did my best to recover it: for some reason lav mic was sending too strong signal to camcorder, and audio got clipped very bad… There was no second chance to re-shoot the video:-)

 Product Highlights

  • AMD 1GHz C-Series Processor C-50
  • HD CrystalBrite 10.1″ TFT LCD Display
  • LED Backlight & 1280 x 800 Resolution
  • DDR3 2GB Memory & mSATA SSD 32GB Storage
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit OS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth Enabled
  • HDMI, RJ-45 LAN & Dual USB 2.0 Ports
  • Dual Acer Crystal Eye WebCams
  • AMD Radeon HD 6250 Graphics
  • Integrated Bottom US Keyboard Dock

The photo of the device I’ve snapped in a studio:

Acer W500 windows 7 tablet PC
Acer W500 windows 7 tablet PC


Tell me what do you have as your “tablet” solution? My guess would be 90% of Apple iPad (great device, not arguing this:-), but how many of you have Android?

In general, how do you use your tablet?  Let me know, I am still curious about other people experience;-)



PS. There is an interesting discussion on G+ on the same topic I had prior the purchase: Windows 7 Tablet, is it real?

17 responses on "Tablet PC for a photographer: Acer W500 review. Cool toy or a serious little tool?"

  1. There is a app called DSLR controller on Android. many video on youtube.
    It is very cool. most people use this app for video shooting, use like a monitor. but we can also use it like a tethering software. It is not ideal because screen is still small compare to laptop. but it is fun to do so.

  2. I am looking at getting one of these. It looks like I can get one on Ebay for around $400 and that is cheaper than an IPAD. And I am not a big fan of Apple and since I already have an Android based phone they should compliment each other right?

  3. Hello everybody. I have a Imac intelcore2 Duo and i would to know the way to work on top with photos, if I should to work with a monitor calibrated (example an Eizo monitor) or if i should to buy a new portable pc? thank you very much

  4. Oh, I forgot – look at the usual online auction suspects for a Fujitsu T4220 / T5010 / T730 etc. You can pick up a T4220 for 300-400, add some ram, new drive and be good to go for under $500! Using a T4410, I can even put a cell modem inside and send shots directly back to the studio via FTP from the middle of a field shoot. And, I’ve got Win7 x64 enterprise on it, so I can also run other “real” apps, unlike toy tablets!

  5. I shoot everything on a tablet – a real tablet, not a toy tablet like the iPad. Look into the Fujitsu’s – they have real Wacom pens and react in PS and LR with pressures and all that. I’m running LR 4 on a Core2Duo 2.66 with 8GB and a 128GB Intel SSD. Smooth as hell and great for shooting in the field. I tether to it with cable when I can, but if not, I send data to the FTP server on the tablet from a WFT-E2A and pick it up in LR with watched folders.

    I can edit, then send the video data stream wirelessly with a Plextor Wireless projector adapter to a remote large monitor to preview.

    Granted, not as fast a my desktop – Dual Quad-core Xeon 3.0Ghz with 32GB RAM and 5TB on 15K SCSI, but only about 1-2 seconds difference when rendering a preview (from instantaneously on the Xeon). Still, works great in the field and does the job when shooting product at a client’s location instead of the studio!

  6. Thanks Alex this is a very good news ! These days I was really looking for some handy tablets/notebook that could support window applications. I am an enthusiastic user of this software Control My Nikon that has transformed my body camera in a small robot. I really recommend it to see what offers this interesting application that has improved my work in the studio and on location.

  7. I finally got to see this. It works way better than I thought it would! Thanks for this!

  8. Wow what a cool device! I am looking to upgrade to a larger tablet and I am trying to stay under $500. Thing is, I really want 3G capabilities since I have an ATT sim card that currently works fine on my current Huawei Ideos S7 Tablet (its screen is not 10″ its 7″ and thus I want a bigger one). This tablet you show us here is VERY tempting but does not have 3G sim card ability. This is definitely one I will keep in mind as I shop for a new tablet ( I cant justify $600+ on IPAD, and I already have an ATT plan w data that my job pays for….IPAD is just TOO much of an investment)

  9. W500 is perfect for tethered shooting, You got Lightroom and photoshop – real time tweaking. – I think Using those Wifi cards with an Ipad is so much hassle.
    I trigger my strobes and flashes with PW’s and having a single usb cord to trip on is something that I can deal with. I got a 12 foot USB cord for my camera and W500 mounted on a light stand using custom RAM Mount. I’m now shoot tethered outdoors too. Get a Flex to go satellite for additional storage space and Lastolite Shade for the w500 when shooting outdoors and you will never leave this setup. :)

  10. I use a Dell Duo. I love it. It does not detach from the keyboard. Instead, the screen flips vertically within its frame, (the lid of the laptop). You close it back up and it functions like a tablet. Instead of the “lid” of the laptop showing, the touch screen is shown. This makes it easy for on the road use, or when out on a shoot because I don’t have an extra part to store/loose/keep track of. And when I’m done, I can flip the screen back and close it up to keep the screen safe, unlike a regular tablet. I so love it! : )

  11. Get an Eye-Fi Card, and you can wirelessly tether to your tablet.

  12. Here’s another option….


    Apparently, the next version of the iPad will have the required connections to shoot tethered.

  13. I use the Asus Transformer (Android) with the dock. This allows me to plug in my CF reader into the USB, copy / paste the files onto an external hard drive or internal memory or SD. Then I use CR-2 Thumbnailer from the Market to browse through the RAW files. Gives me the ability to at least look at my RAW files while out on the road but no editing.

    I can then put the JPGs after they’re exported back on to the Transformer and use QuickPic to have a mobile portfolio for easy browsing.

    Pros: Battery life (15 hours), ability to dump / backup memory cards on the road, quick view of RAW files or JPGs depending on what I shoot, beautiful IPS screen to showcase my work to clients
    Cons: No tethered shooting, no editing on the fly (at least RAWs)

  14. Hi Alex, how you getting along with this? I think I would have rather gone with a Motorola tablet but this does not look too bad. I am wondering if by having a full OS on a tablet that it would eventually be a limiting factor as in updates etc?

  15. that’s a cool device… I like how it connects/disconnects from the keyboard and I like how it has a full OS! I’m not a huge fan of the limited capabilities of the mobile OSes… But, i’m also not really a fan of windows but I’ll consider it though… Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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