Acer Iconia Tab A100 review

26 Aug 2011

It has some flaws, but for the price we can’t help but like this little Honeycomb tablet

Price when reviewed: 
299(£299 inc VAT)
4

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.

Acer Iconia Pad A100

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.

Acer Iconia Pad A100

Raw performance

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.

Detail

Price ex VAT £249
Price inc VAT £299
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 3
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Physical

Dimensions 194 x 13 x 117mm (WDH)
Weight 400g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 7.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Panel technology TFT

Battery

Battery capacity 1,530mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,000MHz
Integrated memory 8.0GB
RAM capacity 1,000MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Focus type autofocus
Built-in flash? yes
Built-in flash type LED
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied Charger
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 3.2