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Acer Iconia

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Update (December 10):Initial Acer Iconia pricing and release dates have now been announced.

Update 2 (December 14):Official UK pricing and release date for the Acer Iconia has been confirmed to TrustedReviews and the dual-screen laptop will be on sale from January 14 for £1,499.

Acer just announced a host of new products at its global press conference in New York and TrustedReviews was on hand to have a play with the new devices. First up is the Iconia, a dual screen laptop that uses a clever 10-point touch sensitive screen instead of a keyboard.

Quite what we expected, we're not sure, but there's something particularly peculiar about the fact that the Iconia looks and feels just like any other 14in laptop. It's finished in a nice brushed metal with black plastic accents giving it a suitably understated look. It isn't. however. a particularly striking object, lacking any kind of wow factor.

As it is essentially just a standard laptop, it sports all the standard laptop bits and bobs that you'd expect including 3xUSB ports, HDMI output, headphone and microphone jacks, VGA video ouput, Ethernet, and even eSATA, though there's no optical drive. internally you get an Intel Core i5 CPU and standard hard drive options.

The screens each sport a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is typical for a notebook of this size. The also appear to be typical LCD panels, with the mediocre viewing angles and muted colours we'd expect. Certainly Acer has set a new standard in this regard, though they are both perfectly usable.

The bottom screen is configured as an extended desktop so you can just drag and drop your desktop items onto the bottom screen if you so wish, and you can make programs like the web browser fill both screens for viewing loads of content at once.

To make this concept more practical, Acer has used a touchscreen that can sense up to 10 points at once, meaning you can properly touch type on the custom keyboard that fills the entire bottom section when needed. The sensing is very good and we could indeed type at a very impressive pace. The way the keyboard simply appears as you rest your hands on the screen is also rather neat.

Place five fingers on the screen at once and the Acer Ring appears beneath them. This custom segmented wheel interface gives you quick access to a number of custom Acer apps - things like basic finger drawing apps. It works very well and is an interesting variation on the gesture theme as seen on Apple's laptops, among others.

Impressive though the Iconia is, though, we're still struggling to think quite what use it has. We shall of course reserve judgement until we've got one in for review. in the mean time, let us know you thoughts in the comments.

Video coming soon...

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