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Posted on May 7th, 2013 by Jonathan Bray

Acer Iconia A1 review: first look

Acer Iconia A1

The Acer Iconia A1 is the latest of a flurry of compact budget tablets to have hit the market recently. It was launched alongside the exotic Aspire R7 and Aspire P3 at the company’s annual Global Press Conference in New York.

It’s a 7.9in tablet, runs a plain looking version of Android Jelly Bean 4.2, and is clearly aimed at being a low-cost rival to the iPad mini. Both the screen size and resolution (1,024 x 768) are identical to Apple’s smaller tablet, and Acer boasts it can be held one-handed too.

Acer Iconia A1

However, that’s where the physical similarities end. The Iconia A1 is a much chunkier, thicker device, and 100g heavier at 410g. It’s finished in bright white plastic rather than aluminium, and the screen surround is broader, too. It’s by no means ugly, but neither is it a tablet for design snobs.

Indeed, it’s all about the price with the Iconia A1. The 8GB Wi-Fi version will go for £150 when it hits the shops at the end of May, and 3G models will start at an equally reasonable £210.

Acer Iconia A1

And there are plenty of positives, aside from the low cost. Powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core ARM-based Mediatek processor, the Iconia A1 scored 1,571ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, which is perfectly acceptable – it’s as fast in this test as the  iPad mini.

In use, the A1 felt spry and slick, and it’s very practical. It has an HDMI output and a microSD slot for adding up to 32GB of storage, and the tablet also has a pair of cameras. On the rear, a 5-megapixel snapper lets you use the A1 as a giant camera, while the 0.3-megapixel front camera will get you videoconferencing.

Acer Iconia A1

And although the screen lacks sharpness (the Nexus 7’s smaller, 7in screen has a higher pixel density) it did appear reasonably bright and colourful in the time we had with it. We weren’t able to measure it, but under bright white lighting it remained readable and viewing angles were excellent. Not bad for a tablet this cheap.

The A1 might not be the slickest looking tablet around, then, but what it lacks in panache it more than makes up for in utility. We can’t wait to get our hands on one for a more thorough test.

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5 Responses to “ Acer Iconia A1 review: first look ”

  1. Brit Says:
    May 7th, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    The Novo 8 Discovery tablet also launches this month and available for £115 ($155) at a site called TabletSprint – and offers a 7.85″, Quad Core cpu, Android 4.2 O/S, Bluetooth connection, a MicroSD card slot, Front and Rear Cameras, a 5000 mAh battery with 6+ hours active use and HDMI 1080p… it’s also one of the first tablets available to work with Miracast HD Wireless technology — similar to Apple’s $150 AirPlay system, however, only requires an HD Adapter ($35) to provide wireless connection to any HD TV – with easy set up to stream movies (including Netflix), as well as play video games and show any other tablet or web content.

     
  2. Tim Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    @Brit
    Novo8 Camera: Dual Camera Front 0.3 Megapixels,Back 2.0 Megapixels <– that is a problem. Terrible back camera. And we all know how great Ainol wifi is. Better off with the Acer. Plus, if something breaks, way easier to get it fixed by Acer.

     
  3. Steve Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I have a new Novo 7 Venus and while the camera isn’t a top perfomer, it does shoot decent photos. The tablet’s performance overall is quick and screen quality is as good as my Nexus — I know I read some people complain about the WiFi on some models but based on my experience, it’s been great and I’ve used it in Cafes and at home and office. Overall, very happy with price and features, a pretty nice deal overall.

     
  4. Geoffrey Inett Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 5:38 am

    PC Pro is my go-to site for reviews and advice. I’m looking for a non-Apple tablet and the thing that I’m most interested in is the aspect ratio. The main advantage of the iPad over pretty much everything else on the market is it’s 4:3 aspect ratio: this makes it a natural for websites and newspapers etc. and, although I’m sure that there may be people who spend all day every day watching films or playing games, those of us who live in the real world see a tablet as a tool rather than a media/games console. A 7″ 16:9 screen isn’t a patch on a 7″ 4:3 screen for screen real estate and general day-to-day usability, yet this aspect (sic) is never, ever mentioned in a review. Please do so in future.

     
  5. plumber Says:
    June 10th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Hi to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this website, and your views
    are pleasant in favor of new people.

     

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