The £99 / US$130 Android Jelly Bean tablet is here, but only if you're happy to accept a lower amount of storage.

However, the 16GB isn't much more these days, coming in at £129.99 / around $210, and the one we're much happier to recommend.

But are these so-low prices enough for this decade's must-have gadget? Compare this to the competition: the iPad Mini 2 is over three times the cost, the Google Nexus 7 is only £199 / $299 for the same capacity, and is much better-specced than the 7-inch Acer Iconia B1-710, which is a bare-bones tablet.

Tablets are on the cusp of replacing laptops for note-taking (or boredom alleviation) in classrooms, lectures and meeting rooms, but the search is on for something that really fits the bill - and the 7-inch tablet size is perfect.

Just the right size to be readable, smaller tablets such as the Acer Iconia B1 are judged perfectly to fit inside the internal pocket of a suit jacket.

Acer Iconia B1 review

The Acer Iconia B1's low price comes with strings attached - largely in the use of lower quality components (surprise, surprise).

The Acer Iconia B1's 340g (12oz) weight feels relatively sturdy in the hand, but at 12mm (0.47 inches) in depth it does come across as rather chunky. That's not a huge problem, since it fits into a jacket pocket - or even a jeans pocket - with some room to spare.

But nobody will be coveting your Acer Iconia B1, its unpredictably wide black bezel makes sure of that. Held in portrait orientation, the Acer Iconia B1's left-hand and bottom bezels measure 15.5mm (0.61 inches), while the right-hand side and top reach a whopping 24.5mm (0.96 inches).

We presume it's that way to give room in the top right-hand corner for the Acer Iconia B1's 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera - for video calls and selfies - though it does give the entire product a lop-sided feel. It's not a good look, and the 2mm-thick silver plastic rim around the Acer Iconia B1 doesn't help either.

Acer Iconia B1 review

A microSD card slot ready for a 32GB card does give the Acer Iconia B1 a real advantage over rival low-cost tablets. And so too does its starting internal storage capacity, since our sample arrived with 16GB of storage. That's a whopping 48GB of content the Acer Iconia B1 can store. It also comes running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which is really starting to date now.

Features

For a small tablet, the Acer Iconia B1 is reasonably well powered. Its runs off a MediaTek-made ARM Cortex-A9 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which compares well to rivals. Inside is Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen.

However, that's where the good news ends, since the screen's resolution is a mere 1024 x 600 pixels, which means a highly unusual 17:10 aspect ratio that's more suited to watching movies and TV than it is to browsing - though it's imperfect for both.

Acer Iconia B1 review

That resolution is also the smallest we'd want to see on any tablet, though its score of 170ppi is still a notch above the iPad mini's.

Stationed just behind the Acer Iconia B1's silver plastic rim, edging onto the white plastic rear panel itself, are the Acer Iconia B1's controls and ins/outs.

On the right-hand side is the standby button above the volume rockers, though both are too far back; we watched as a colleague fumbled with the Acer Iconia B1 for over 20 seconds before figuring out how to switch it on. None of those buttons have a satisfying press.

Just around the corner is a headphones jack, while in the centre of the lower edge is a micro USB slot for charging and file transfer. The Acer Iconia B1 ships with a standard UK plug and USB-to-micro USB cable, so no drama there. The Acer Iconia B1 is also equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Acer Iconia B1 review

Behind that micro USB port is a 61 x 7mm hatch that can be flicked up by a fingernail, revealing that hidden microSD card slot inside that takes memory cards up to 32GB in size. There's an empty space alongside that, which is used for a SIM card slot on variants of the Acer Iconia B1.

Speaking of which, there are two slight variations of our Acer Iconia B1-710 model in the B1 series. There's also the £110 (around US$170 / AU$185) Acer Iconia B1-A71, which has 8GB of storage and a black rear, and the £170 (around US$260 / AU$285) Acer Iconia B1-711, which boasts 16GB and a white back panel - just like our sample - but adds that 3G connectivity we mentioned, via a SIM card slot.