Acer Iconia Tab A500
A solid tablet at a good price
There’s been a whole war of tablets going on these past few months, with each of the big companies doing their best to launch something more exciting than the what the competition has. Android tablets in particular are taking the spotlight and the latest to enter the market is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. It costs less than the iPad 2 by $50 and promises to be better than all the other gadgets out there. Is it, though? We tested it. Here are our review results.
Bulkier than other models
The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is wrapped in an Alpine Silver brushed-aluminum casing that makes the device look very stylish. The rounded edges are silver, but unfortunately the display is, as with all the other tablets we tested in the past, prone to getting dirty from fingerprints. The 1.7 pounds the gadget weighs make it bulkier than other offers; it nonetheless felt good when we held it and, unlike the iPad 2, we could easily hold it in vertical orientation and type with two hands at the same time. All of the A500 keys as well as ports were placed in a logical manner and we appreciated the position of the power button on the left side, right underneath our thumb, and the fact that it glowed white when the tablet was on and orange when charging.
10.1 inch WXGA display
The tablet we tested for this review came with a 10.1 inch WXGA screen. Its resolution and aspect ratio delivered good clarity, brightness and colors. But it presented us a problem: when we put it on a flat surface for the first time, the touch display took quite a while to recognize input; fortunately the solution was to simply sit the table at an angle or pick it up. The OS is Android 3.0 and its UI offers ease of use, its very own widgets, apps and many other options. In terms of keyboard, the Iconia Tab A500 comes with the usual stock Android one; when looking at this one, we noticed that alternative characters became available when we did some simple tapping and holding on the screen.
1-GHz Tegra 2 processor
A 1-GHz Tegra 2 processor offered a much better performance than the T-Mobile G-Slate, for example; there was no need to reboot as frequently as we did on other tablets, Internet pages loaded fast, apps opened quickly and playing games was a real treat. There are 1GB of RAM.
As for audio, the tablet has built-in speakers that deliver good sound.
Connectivity is represented by an USB port and microHDMI. The former enabled us to connect both peripherals and external drives to the gadget; but we encountered issues with traditional hard drives, since the tablet refused to read them.
Limited access to Android Market
Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 is pre-installed with many applications, such as Documents To Go, Photo Browser 3D, Social Jogger (used for when you want to have all your Twitter and Facebook feeds in a single stream) and so on. As a con, the Android Market doesn’t offer as many applications as the competition.
The camera on the back, a 5MP, took decent-looking photos and shot nice-looking videos. The 2-megapixel camera on the front of the device snapped and shot better pictures and content.
The A500 tablet managed to function for around 7 hours battery life on moderate usage.
The Acer Iconia Tab A500 proposes a good price, solid design, more than average performance, easiness when it comes to sharing media and data and a full-size USB port.
|Processor||Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 T20 chipset|
|Features||OS||Android OS, v3.0 (Honeycomb), upgradable to v3.2|
|Screen||Type||LCD capacitive touch screen, 256K Available Colours|
|General||2G Network||Not Available|
|Dimensions||800 x 1280 pixels, 10.1 inches (~149 ppi pixel density)|
|Gyro Light sensor|
|Multi-touch input method||Acer UI|
|Accelerometer Light sensor for auto-rotate|
|Proximity Light sensor for auto shut down|
|Memory||Phone book||Practically unlimited entries and fields|
|Memory card slot||microSD card, up to 32GB,|
|Call records||Not Available|
|Internal||16/32 GB Data storage, 1 GB DDR2 RAM|
|Messaging||Email, Push Email, IM|
|Java||Available, via Java MIDP emulator|
|Loudspeaker||Available, with stereo speakers|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|USB||Available, microUSB v2.0, USB v2.0|
|Infrared port||Not available|
|Bluetooth||Available, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR|
|Camera specifications||Primary camera||5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash|
|Secondary||Available, 2 MP|
|Google Search, Maps, Gmail|
|YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa included|
|Time management organizer|
|– Adobe Flash Player 10.1|
|Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)|
|Predictive text input|
|Battery||Standard battery, Li-Po 3260 mAh|
|Total weight||730 g|
|Dimensions||External dimensions||260 x 177 x 13.3 mm|