For those who like small things.
Screen and Camera
The screen is one area where the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is left wanting. Instead of using an IPS panel, Acer has used a traditional TN panel instead. This basically results in smaller viewing angles and colors that don’t have much depth to them.
Thankfully the 7-inch screen has 1024×600 pixels, giving it a 170 ppi pixel density, 21ppi more than the larger A500’s 10.1-inch screen. This is especially good as reading text on the small screen requires it to be held closer to the face compared to bigger tablets, the higher pixel density definitely helps in giving everything a sharper look.
Given its width of 11.7 cm, the Iconia Tab A100 is quite easy to hold in portrait mode as you can easily type using both thumbs. Switching orientation from landscape to portrait mode is a tad bit laggy, but not a real issue during daily usage.
The camera on the A100 is the exact same as the one found on the A500, so it’s nothing to write home about. The rear 5MP camera on the rear is capable of shooting 720p videos at a smooth 30fps. Auto-focus and built-in Image Stabilization also help take photos easily.
This is the one place where the Iconia Tab A100’s small size really hurt: the battery is really small. The measly 1530mAh battery pales in comparison to the A500’s 3260mAh Li-Po battery. Thankfully the battery life isn’t cut in half, but at barely 4.5 hours of usage over WiFi, it’s not exactly great either.
Ultimately the Acer Iconia Tab A100’s recent launch in this market has actually hurt it somewhat. With the not-so-recent price drops on BlackBerry Playbooks, a 16GB version can be had for under AED 800 ($220), making the $330 8GB Iconia Tab A100 a bit too expensive. Not only that, but the Playbook’s impressive 5300mAh battery gives it more than double the battery life of the A100. Had the BlackBerry Playbook not flopped, which ironically led to a significant price drop and consequently incredible sales, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 would have been the cheapest and most feature rich 7-inch tablet on the market.
As it stands, though, it’s difficult to recommend the Iconia Tab A100 with the Playbook offering much more for much less.