Acer Iconia Tab A100 – Inexpensive seven inch tablet
When Acer Iconia Tab A100 was released, it was one of the first tablets to have Honeycomb OS and hence it came to lime light pretty quickly. Lets see what this tablet is all about in more detail.
In terms of aesthetics, this tablet is quite similar to the A500 that I had reviewed some time ago here. The sloped edges, placement of the front camera along with implementation of the SD card makes it clear that the manufacturer doesn’t want to try too much in terms of design. Also, the form factor is smaller and hence this device has micro versions of the ports as compared to the full sized versions that we saw on A500.
Bottom edge of the Acer Iconia Tab A100 has majority of the ports and it includes reset recessed button, micro USB, micro HDMI, power port, and one port to connect dock accessory. Opposite edge has headphones jack, power/screen lock button, and one pinhole for microphone. Top edge has volume rocker buttons, lock button to keep the display from rotating around, and one compartment which opens for revealing microSD card slot. Front bezel has two megapixels camera and there is Apple iPad like button that is located on far right side of bezel. Back side has five megapixels camera on top edge along with flash.
This tablet has glossy display and bezel is piano black which easily attracts a lot of fingerprints. Back panel is all gray and there is silver logo of Acer that is embossed in middle. The manufacturer has put in some designs of swirl for styling things a little.
Weight of the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is just 0.88 pound but still this tablet feels quite substantial when taken in the hands. The proportions of this device are quite similar to that of other seven inch tablets in the market right now.
It is very comfortable to hold this tablet in the landscape mode but the Acer should have positioned the power button a bit higher on the left side. During my testing, I accidentally pressed the power button a lot especially when I was trying to take photos using this tablet.
In the hands, the chassis was quite plasticky and this is nowhere close to expensive feel of HTC Flyer and it doesn’t feel really solid like BlackBerry PlayBook either.
Acer Iconia Tab A100 comes with Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core chip inside and there is a gig of RAM. There is also Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi (802.11n), accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, GPS, and microSD card slot for memory expansion.
This tablet has seven inches display with a resolution of 1,024×600 pixels and it is TN or Twisted Nematic screen. There are two options for onboard storage – 8GB and 16GB and the microSD card slot can take maximum 32 GB cards.
Home button works just like you’d want it to and you can use it for getting back to home screen of the OS instantly.
Most of the Honeycomb tablets in the market use IPS or In-Plane Switching screens but Acer has chosen to use TN displays which are cheaper but viewing angles are narrower. Acer must have done this to keep the price of the tablet low but I don’t think this move is the right one because you use the screen for most of tablet experience.
Acer Iconia Tab A100 has Android 3.2 installed out of the box. Navigating through this OS was really zippy just like the bigger Honeycomb tablets. I had similar experience while launching the apps, moving through screens, and using camera.
Camera onboard has good frame rate when recording the video and the playback too is really smooth. The quality of picture from the back and the front cameras was a bit low and offered washed out look with lifeless drab colors. This quality is nowhere close to what you get on the other bigger Honeycomb tablets like BlackBerry Playbook or Apple iPhone 4.
For testing the battery life, I kept the screen of Acer Iconia Tab A100 at full brightness and turned the Wi-Fi on. The battery had drained at speeds of smartphone.
The 16GB model costs $350 and the 8GB tablet will put you back by $330.
When compared to the other seven inch tablets in the market right now, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is the one with most features. There is full experience of Honeycomb OS (you can upgrade it with Ice Cream Sandwich later), expandable memory, and HDMI port. If you are looking for seven inch tablets, then this one has a really low price and will surely lure the buyers in to the deal. On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out $100 more, then there are bigger and better tablets available in the market.