Acer Iconia Tab A100 review
It has some flaws, but for the price we can’t help but like this little Honeycomb tablet
Until now, if you wanted a Honeycomb tablet, you had to have a screen of 9in and above. Smaller devices have so far been restricted to running adapted smartphone versions of Android, but with the 7in Acer Iconia Tab A100, that problem is left behind: it comes with Android 3.2, which has specific optimisations for smaller screen sizes.
In the case of the A100, the most noticeable change is the height of the System Bar that occupies the bottom 48 pixels of the 1,024 x 600 screen, or 7mm in real money. On Honeycomb tablets with larger screens the System Bar is 8.5mm high.
In use, it means the A100 is almost as easy to manipulate as its larger cousins, with menu options, buttons and bars all perfectly proportioned. It also means the tablet feels as at home in portrait mode as it does in landscape.
The smaller screen means widgets and icons occupy more desktop real-estate, and typing on the standard Honeycomb keyboard is a little more fiddly, but we’d take those small niggles for the sheer portability this tablet offers. It’s slim and compact enough to slip into an inside jacket pocket, and reasonably light at 400g.
The rest of the design is perfectly acceptable too. The grey glossy plastic back isn’t luxurious, but general build quality is good, and we like the fact that, when you hold the A100 in landscape orientation, the extended ends give your thumbs somewhere to rest.
There are other nice touches: next to the volume rocker there’s a lock switch for preventing the screen from auto-rotating, and all the ports and sockets (the 3.5mm audio output, Micro HDMI, and proprietary docking port) are located sensibly on the short edges of the tablet.
So, the A100 matches its larger cousins almost blow for blow, and internally it’s also up to scratch. There’s no 3G option yet, but you get 8GB of internal storage and a working microSD slot for expansion. It’s powered by a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and has 1GB of RAM to back that up, so Honeycomb fair flies along.
Scrolling, panning and pinch-to-zoom operations in the browser are as responsive as you could hope for, and we found standard-definition BBC iPlayer and YouTube videos played smoothly. Some YouTube 720p clips were watchable; others were juddery. The only caveat is that horizontal scrolling animations in the app launcher view seem to shudder as you swipe left and right, but this is more a mild glitch than major irritation.
|Price ex VAT||£249|
|Price inc VAT||£299|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Dimensions||194 x 13 x 117mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1,000MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0mp|
|Built-in flash type||LED|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||Android 3.2|