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Packard Bell Liberty Tab review

Verdict

Not as sleek and slim as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but this Android 3 tablet is well priced and well designed

Review Date: 19 Aug 2011

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £292 (£350 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Acer owns Packard Bell, and many of the two firms’ products look quite alike. But the similarities between its new Honeycomb tablet and the Acer equivalent are more notable than most.

In fact, if you were to place the Packard Bell and the Acer Iconia Tab A500 side by side on a desk, with the screens facing up and the logos discreetly tucked away underneath, you’d be hard-pressed to see any difference at all.

Both tablets have 10.1in, 1,280 x 800 screens smartly flanked with metallic strips at the top and bottom edges. The position of all the major ports and components is precisely the same: the volume buttons, lock switch and microSD slot are on the top edge; there’s a full-sized USB port on the left; a 3.5mm headphone jack and micro USB socket on the right; plus a proprietary docking connector on the bottom. And each tablet weighs exactly the same too: 756g.

Packard Bell Liberty Tab

A closer look, however, reveals some subtle differences, and in the main part, they’re positive ones. The corners, for instance, have been rounded off a jot, as have the top and bottom long edges. Not such a big change you might think, but these seemingly inconsequential alterations make a difference to how comfortable the tablet is to hold. The Acer’s pointier extremities had a tendency to dig into your palms and fingers over a period of holding the devices; that problem is ameliorated considerably here.

Flip the tablet over, and you’ll see the rear sporting a different design too. This has no practical impact to speak of, but for our money we prefer the Liberty tab’s sparkling red-wine finish and the way the chrome strips wrap all the way around to the rear of the device. And the two tablets’ close resemblance has a side benefit, too: most cases designed to fit the Iconia should work with the Liberty Tab.

The only negative points stem from the Liberty’s plastic rear panel, which makes the device 1.5mm thicker. Despite that, we prefer the Liberty’s design.

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