Acer Iconia Tab A500 Review

By on May 24, 2011
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One of the better Android tablets in the market?

Good: Feels very snappy, USB interface can allow for easy browsing of photos & songs, Impressive build quality
Bad: Many apps not working in this region, USB implementation handicapped, Colors looked washed out on screen, Too many multimedia browsing apps
Price: AED 2,099
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Android based tablets have just started launching in the market, and although we’re not quite at the point of saturation yet, it’s interesting to see another tablet in the Tbreak office. Today I’ll be looking at the 32GB WiFi version of the Acer Iconia Tab.

Now I know that we’ve recently reviewed the Motorola Xoom, so don’t be surprised to see comparisons between the two. Starting off with the specs, both the Xoom and the Iconia Tab are mirror images of each other.

The Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS is run on a dual-core Tegra 250 CPU running at 1GHz. The 1GB of DDR2 ram helps keep things moving along nice and fast, while the 32GB internal flash memory is ample. Of course, this can be further extended with a microSD card as well, but after the 3.1 Honeycomb update. The 10.1” screen is just about big enough for the 1280×800 resolution, but I didn’t see much of an improvement (if any) between the Iconia Tab (150ppi) and the iPad 2 (132ppi) as far as visual fidelity is concerned. Of course, there’s the 5MP rear camera with flash, and the front facing 2MP camera. Finishing things off are the two rear stereo speakers and the whole rear side which it’s brushed metal finish.

The top of the Iconia Tab houses the 3.5mm audio jack, as well as the mini-HDMI out port. The right side houses the volume control buttons, the screen orientation lock (sorely missing from the Xoom) and the microSD expansion slot. Interestingly, our review unit had a taped off section right next to the microSD slot where I could make out “SIM Card”. Obviously this tape was secured with a warranty seal. Moving along, the left side houses the docking adapter for the keyboard, and at the bottom we have the power adapter plug, the micro-USB and a full-sized USB port.

One of the key things about the Acer Iconia Tab that differentiates it from other Android tablets on the market is the inclusion of the aforementioned full-sized USB port; the other being the 970g of (almost 1 kilo!) weight. Yup, the Iconia Tab is officially one of the heaviest tablets we’ve used; ironically it doesn’t feel much heavier than the Xoom, but it’s definitely much heavier than the iPad 2. [UPDATE: The Iconia Tab A500 actually weighs 730g, which would explain why it feels the same as Xoom. It's the Windows based W500 that weighs 970g.]

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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