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.Acer-Iconia-Tab-A500

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.

Review conclusions

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.

Technical specifications

ProcessorDual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 T20 chipset
FeaturesOSAndroid OS, v3.0 (Honeycomb), upgradable to v3.2
ScreenTypeLCD capacitive touch screen, 256K Available Colours
General2G NetworkNot Available
Dimensions800 x 1280 pixels, 10.1 inches (~149 ppi pixel density)
Gyro Light sensor
Multi-touch input methodAcer UI
Accelerometer Light sensor for auto-rotate
Proximity Light sensor for auto shut down
MemoryPhone bookPractically unlimited entries and fields
Memory card slotmicroSD card, up to 32GB,
Call recordsNot Available
Internal16/32 GB Data storage, 1 GB DDR2 RAM
MessagingEmail, Push Email, IM
RadioNot available
Available ColoursBlack
JavaAvailable, via Java MIDP emulator
Internet BrowserHTML
LoudspeakerAvailable, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jackAvailable
DataGPRSNot available
3GNot available
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
USBAvailable, microUSB v2.0, USB v2.0
EDGENot available
Infrared portNot available
BluetoothAvailable, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR
Camera specificationsPrimary camera5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
SecondaryAvailable, 2 MP
Google Search, Maps, Gmail
YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa included
XviD/MP4/H.264/H.263 player
Time management organizer
HDMI port
MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
– Adobe Flash Player 10.1
Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
Predictive text input
BatteryStandard battery, Li-Po 3260 mAh
Total weight730 g
DimensionsExternal dimensions260 x 177 x 13.3 mm