Microsoft shows off the Iconia W3 in latest ad, taking on Apple's iPad Mini

Microsoft appears to either be on a roll or the marketing department knows the weekend is near, thus they're attempting to go on an all-out attack. This latest commercial, published on the WindowsVideos YouTube channel, addresses the small tablet competition - namely, the iPad Mini. Taking the Acer Iconia W3 to the ring, the video shows off some of the cool features a tablet sports when running Windows 8.

Just in case you weren't aware that 8-inch Windows tablets exist, the Acer Iconia W3 (see our hands-on) is a rather recent attempt by the manufacturer. Powering a full version of Windows 8, the Intel Atom processor combined with the loaded software allows you to install all your favourite x86 programs. As the footage boasts, you can enjoy some Halo, after working hard on word processing - it's a real PC. 

Not to mention the pricing. $429 for iPad Mini or $299 for the Iconia W3? Both have 32GB storage, but are worlds apart in terms of functionality.

Source: YouTube; thanks, Nishy, for the tip (you're a tipping machine)!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • MS should not even mention this disgraced device....
  • The biggest complaint against the W3 is the lackluster display... a huge sin for a tablet.
    But thankfully Acer is rushing out an update with an IPS display, which should be a dramatic improvement.
  • Acer denied that, still keeping the same crap display.
  • Do you have a link to their denial?
  • Yea the display is awful on this. I've seen it in person and it really is that bad. 
    The other problem is that it feels super cheap. 
    Why can Apple and Google (Nexus 7) create a great feeling device but we can't for this class of a tablet?
  • Ummm u must forget this is full windows 8 not windows rt u gotta have a trade off somewhere
  • Well MS is experiencing a trade off with this kind of mentality as well... the lack of consumer demand for their devices.
  • It's actually not the worst display ever and I've ALSO seen it in person. The build quality felt no better or worse than anything else
  • I saw the reviews and really found then hard to believe until I saw it I person. The form factor, speed, etc. Is actually okay by me but that display is atrocious!!
  • The Apple and Google devices aren't of the same nature. They run the stripped-down, ARM-based iOS and Android software. This runs an x86 OS, one people sometimes have to pay $150+ to purchase on its own. Also, the iPad Mini's probably about $140 more after tax. The Nexus is cheaper, but it's also got super-low profit margins to push the Android tablets into the marketplace, if I remember correctly.
  • Correct Keith,
    I actually didn't forget that, and I understand that... to a point. The problem is that the consumer doesn't really care about ARM or x86 or any other architecture. 
    People want a device that is affordable and is comparable to other top devices. 
    I get MS makes money off of licensing Windows but the customer doesn't give a crap about that. MS either needs to dramatically lower the prices of Windows 8 in tablet form or keep doing what they are doing.
    If they decide to stay on the same path, fine. They hurt there viability in the market since these ads and obviously Windows 8 by itself isn't helping them make a significant dent in the market.
    BYOD is becoming more prevalent every single day and people are buying iPad's and Android tablets, Windows is becoming a joke.... it hurts me to say that.
  • "People want a device that is affordable and is comparable to other top devices."
    I love this comment.  Why?  When you say "top" devices are you meaning these devices do more than the Microsoft OS run device?  Is that what makes them "top"?  Because in this snippit of a commercial it shows you that it (microsoft run device) can out perform these so called "top" devices.  Or when you say "top" you mean the devices that sell more therefore people believe it's the "top" device even though it's lacking many features? 
    If Apple or Android tablet maker came out with what Microsoft and it's OEMs are producing it would be the talk of the town.  Can you imagine if Microsoft came out with a device with the capability of the iPad and Apple came out with an iPad with the capabilities of that of a Microsoft OEM device?  OMG!  The coversation would be flipped and flipped hard with people begging the question.  Why isn't Microsoft and its OEMs not making devices with "true" multitasking?  USB support? Etc. Etc. 
    Let's face it.  Microsoft will be criticize no matter what.  Even when they have a better product.  People just want to find a reason to nit-pick.  OBTW, this device does more and cost less than the iPad (mini) and yet you're still complaining about making cheaper devices.  Like I already know, people will complian because they can.  
  • No I don't mean to insinuate that the Windows 8/RT OS is less superior to iOS or Android in all area's but it lacks in some major areas that need to be addressed.
    Let's just start with the ecosystem. 
    ALL platforms except MS fully support there own services. Major example of this is Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are not created equally when it comes to Xbox Video. 
    I can't browse videos to download on my phone and I sure as hell can't play any DRM videos from the store on my phone. 
    MS treats its own phone platform as a second class citizen, Skype is a major example of this. You get more feature sets from Android and iOS.
    Apps in the store...... enough said.
    So yea I believe users want the best of the experiences that other TOP sellers have 
    1.  A great app ecosystem. Without a doubt Windows 8 app store experience is pretty lousy compared to the competition (I love the Plex app though)
    2. All services to work as well as or better then the competition. Again Xbox Video, and Xbox Music are pretty lack luster (app wise) on both W8 or WP8.
    3. How about staying toe to toe with what the competition offers. Hi-Res screens anyone? Now I know people will say this is a full compuer and trade offs have to be made. This kind of mentallity is fine for the level headed person, but MS  and OEM's need to realize that high res displays are becoming a big deal and jump on board. You want to release a 8 inch tablet with a 1080p display that is $400 don't expect the public to flock to them. 
    To say that these commericals out perform other devices is completely subjective. They have different features and to me, without a doubt Windows 8/RT OS wise is leaps and bounds better then Android or iOS but it's the services/apps that are making Android and Apple successful not the OS not the ability to plug in a USB device (which is very awesome though). 
    It's fine if you disagree with me but the truth is these devices are not compelling enough for most people and the sales prove that.
    By the way I'm typing this on my Surface Pro, which I love.
  • I'm not going to disagree with you about Microsoft's focus.  Or should I say "lack" of focus on it's own brand.  And yes you do bring up some valid points.  I believe they (MS) are working to get to the point when their eco-system will gel into one cohesive platform.  Unfortunately due to their late start in the game they are slowly but surely getting there.  I know not fast enough for some.  My only contention is even in their late start the Surface is one solid machine.  As you can attest to.  Unfortunately, very few will admit the iPad is one overpriced device.  And I don't care what kind of screen it has it's over priced for what it does.  But because it's already in the mindset that the iPad is a must have device people will buy it.  I'm not worried about apps.  In due time they will follow.  Developers will see the light some day.  :) 
    thats weird. i thought i could plug in usb devices on android tablets.
  • 32GB RAM?
  • Apparently some kind of monster tablet.. Lol
  • Would you buy Kellogg's raisin bran over Post raisin bran if Kellogg's kept talking about how much better it was than Post? Or would u prefer that Kellogg's just focused on what makes their cereal great without mentioning the competition. U ever see fruit of the loom vs hanes commercials??? Just sayin'
  • When you are behind, you make these kind of comparisons to attract attention. See mac vs. PC ads.
  • I would usually agree, but I think a comparison is needed to show people there are alternatives to the ipad, and why they are better, since too many just act dumb and go for ipad, whether it be through lack of knowledge of alternatives, or just to say they have an ipad to be cool. 
  • Comparisons, albeit of a different manor, is what Apple did with those I'm a Mac and I'm a PC commercials a while back
  • "Both have 32GB RAM, but are worlds apart in terms of functionality."
    Wow, tablets with 32GB of RAM, that certainally blows many desktops clear out of the water.
    Looks like an editing error, care to correct?
  • Certainly was, thanks for pointing that out nicely :-)
  • Hahaahaha oh yes.....
  • After finally seeing one in person, I have to say the screen wasn't as horrid as they said but the dotty/grainy look, especually with whites, is a shame.
  • Not sure about everyone else, but the W3 is an excellent device.
  • @blessthejon ... I can agree it is an excellent device as in my testing, performance wasn't the problem. It was the dotty/grainy look, especially on whites.
  • Screen looks good to me.
  • I haven't seen the W3 in person but does it ship with Office pre-installed, I seem to remember Microsoft talking about a version of Office that could be pre-installed at a manufacturers discretion?
  • Yes sir. And it runs great on it.
  • Video link not working for me :-o here in New York ❗
  • MSFT is finally going ham on advertising. Works for me.
  • Awful tablet. The iPad mini not only better looking but even the low RES iPad mini screen is better than that awful W3 display. Microsoft wants to be laughed at. They love being made fun on. The W3 is a ugly heavy tablet. The iPad mini is pretty. That's what consumers like. Eye candy. The W3 has none of that. Don't even bet started on the apps.
  • Acer make this device? There's PLENTY of apps along with the millions of APPLICATIONS
  • Why are you saying MS like to be laughed at? Which part of this tablet did MS make??
    Answer: the Operating System
    Who made the hardware the operation system is installed on?
    Answer: Acer
    If a consumer purchase this device and isnt happy with the build quality, which brand will they not purchase again:
    Answer: Acer since its not the OS that their unhappy with, its the devices quality.
    In short, it seems as if many people want hight quality devices for $199 or less. These manufacturers cannot afford to sell items at a loss, so the cut corners with the material they use. This is why MS is starting to produce their own hardware so we can have alternatives to something we're not happy with while not pissing the acers of the world off.
  • As much as I would like to disagree, you are correct. Apple has its touch. I seriously want an iPad mini, even though I know it's so limited. Pretty hardware.
  • there are many people who like toys. there are also many people who need to get work done. I rather android myself, but that was very silly of you. you only went on about how pretty the ipad is.
  • It's all very good Microsoft doing these adverts, but who is actually going to see them?
    AFAIK, these are only on youtube (and via links, such as this one), and the only people in reality who are going to watch them are those that are subscribed to the microsoft page, and those via links such as this one. Surely they need to target a wider audience, via TV ads and newspaper.
    (PS You can correct me if I'm wrong about any of the facts)
  • The previous one concerning Surface RT has been on TV here in Canada quite a bit.  This is a brand new commercial but I am sure it will be on as well.
  • No they usually put commercials like this one TV, as far as here in the US
  • Ads like these are usually used on Hulu Plus, and other types of players that have video ads before content.
  • Should have put in the previous comment that I am based in the UK, and they are certainly not on the TV here AFAIK.
  • Actually the vid you just watched is running on tv, just saw it three times on tv today just an fyi Oh I'm in the US
  • OK clearly these adverts do run in the US, which is fine, since MS is obviously American, and trying to get WP and W8 back into the people's minds (I hear WP is about 3.x%, compared to the 8.x% in the UK currently, unsure RE W8), but I think these ads would also work well here (and other countries), get them over here MS!
  • I'm all for good ads to show of win8 and their tablets, and I'm kind of anti-apple, have never gotten the hype over then.. But making it look like the mini just reads books is a little lame? The games on offer on the mini are miles ahead of win8. Microsoft really need to lift their game getting us some better games, like the quality of Halo. Halo is the first win8 game I've actually really gotten in to so here's hoping they have more coming
  • The tablet is no good but the commercial is really good. A+ for the effort!
  • U can't compare apps especially since its a windows 8 tab not a rt u can get things like aoe 2 or any classic games
  • Cool ad..... wrong device
    They should not be promoting the disaster that is the W3
    The lenovo Mix 8" with baytrail-t & active stylus..... now that is a device worth promoting
  • The W3 is an awful attempt at a tablet. Sorry Microsoft/Acer, my cash will not be spent on this.
  • Most of these tablets only need two big upgrades and that's baytrail and 1080p+ displays for around $400-500
  • I wouldn't recommend W3 to anyone I know, but I could see a use for it...  If you do walkthroughs of houses and need a full PC, but don't have a lot of writing to do and need to do it as you walk around.  That is about the only reason I can think of.
    On the other hand, the last line of the commercial cracked me up big time!!!  'Nevermind, don't read that'
  • I get the feeling Acer had a bunch of left over displays from abandoned android projects and just dumped them into this thing. 
  • W8-YES; THAT model from Acer-NO
  • lol, they should air that ad on TV
  • On FX everyday
  • Video not available when trying through the YouTube app integration in WP Central's app :/
  • LOL
    Are they serious? Apple must be loving the free promotion.
  • How is it a "promotion", when they're "dissing" the Mini?
  • This is the device I want. Its the perfect size for what I want in a tablet. The problem is, I saw it next to a Surface at a Microsoft store, next to a Surface and a Kindle, Nexus 7, and Galaxy at Staples, and next to all those that display kills the deal. I cannot believe it was released with it. There is just no comparison. I honestly thought there was something wrong with it at first, maybe it was dirty or something until I saw it at other stores and it looked the same.
  • Maybe that outlet intentionally want the W3 to fail? :P
  • W3 is the laughingstock of the tech world right now. What a poor effort by Acer and MSFT. No way I could recommend this device over an iPad Mini...
  • These commercials suck as much as those Macs vs PC commercials back then. Microsoft is making a big mistake. If I go to staples to buy the w3 because of the commercial I'll end up with a iPad mini cause the Acer has 3 visual things that will make anyone say hell no, display is horrendous, weight, and its butt ugly. I'm gonna take the surface rt commercial if u show it to best buy, WalMart, Microsoft store they have to give it to for 349. With keyboard cause that's there promotion in commercial unless I didn't see where it says sold separately.
  • Let me guess the next apple ad, "with SIRI, more people talk to their iphones than any other phone". we are slowly killing human relationships with emails, texting, chat services, picture blogging with comments, talking to our phones, etc.... How long before people just completely stop taking to each other and stay "connected" through a service of some sort?
  • Here's a better video comparison:
    The Iconia doesn't fare too well...
  • Remember though that the Iconia is running a full x86 version of Windows 8, the iPad Mini isn't running a full version of MacOS so a direct comparison isn't fair software wise. However I wouldn't touch Acer hardware with a 1,000,000ft barge pole, it's cheap and nasty.