Acer Iconia W3 early refresh over screen quality complaints reported

Acer reportedly plans to replace the first-gen Iconia W3, the first 8.1-inch Windows 8 tablet, with an updated version that could address screen complaints, potentially arriving as soon as September this year. The new model is expected to hit stores by the end of this quarter, Acer Netherlands spokesperson Star Swank told Tweakers, and be thinner and lighter than the current Iconia W3.

Although Acer didn't confirm it, the most important change is believed to be in the screen technology. The current Iconia W3 uses a TN-LCD panel which, as we noted in our review, supports only limited viewing angles, meaning as soon as you start to use the tablet off-center the image quality plummets.

On the updated model, however, there's a switch to IPS instead, which would deliver considerably greater viewing angles. It's the same display technology as Apple uses on the iPad and Samsung uses on the Nexus 10, both of which have been praised for their screen quality.

Acer wouldn't confirm the IPS switch, but according to TabletGuide the company has been receiving complaints from retailers about the existing screen. In fact, the concerns are so great that some Dutch retailers have reportedly threatened to remove the W3 from store shelves.

The decision to go for a TN-LCD screen was presumably one made with budget in mind, given that Acer has been pushing the Iconia W3 as a cheap Windows 8 option. The tablet runs Microsoft's full OS – rather than Windows RT – on an Intel Atom 1.5GHz Z2760 processor with 2GB of memory, and in the US it's priced from $379.99.