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Acer Iconia Tab A500 review

Bulkier Android tablet has muscle and new software tweaks

acer iconia tab a500

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 has a less appealing, more traditional design than the Motorola Xoom, which is all-black with a power button on the back. With the Iconia Tab A500, the buttons are a bit harder to find. It's easy to forget (or get all turned around in orientation) and fumble for the power key, which is on the left. The headphone jack and HDMI port are also on the left. There's a docking port underneath as well.

acer iconia tab a500

On the right, there's a USB port (presumably a vestige of the W500 model) that only worked with a standard keyboard, not a mouse. You can also attach a USB keydrive into the port, but the Iconia Tab A500 only lets you access files using a file manager, not directly.

acer iconia tab a500

There's also a standard microUSB port and the charge port. On top, there are two volume control buttons and a screen lock switch. You'll also find a covered port for the microSD slot, which Acer says will be used for adding an LTE card at some point.

acer iconia tab a500

The 1280 x 800 TFT display on the Acer Iconia Tab A500 measures 10.1 inches, like the Motorola Xoom, and is bright and clear. The screen isn't a weak point but isn't a differentiator either. In a side-by-side comparison to the Apple iPad 2, with the brightness for both devices turned all the way up, the iPad 2 looked brighter and easier to view from a side angle. Compared to the Xoom, the Iconia Tab A500's screen looked remarkably similar.

acer iconia tab a500

Some of the hardware differentiators on the Acer Iconia Tab A500 might not be obvious at first. Like the Motorola Xoom and the Apple iPad 2, the speakers for playing movie audio and music are just average – about what you might expect on an entry-level netbook.

There's very little bass response but average clarity. Yet, Acer added a slight tweak: the Iconia Tab A500 uses Dolby Mobile technology that did seem to make the movie Fair Game sound a bit more life-like – you actually hear some shuffling feet or background audio more distinctly.

acer iconia tab a500

Some graphically-rich sites such as GamesRadar.com and CNN.com pulled up a hair faster on the Iconia Tab A500 than the Motorola Xoom, even over the exact same Wi-Fi connection, although oddly, the Google Earth app ran a hair faster on the Xoom.

acer iconia tab a500

Acer includes a content sharing system called Clear.fi that is essentially a low-cost way to build a home entertainment streaming network. That's a good thing, since the Iconia Tab A500 doesn't offer any way to purchase or rent videos from the device (Motorola just recently added this capability to the Xoom).

Clear.fi works like Windows Connect in that you can set up a media server and stream music, videos and photos to the device. In an age of Hulu, YouTube, and even apps such as HBO Go in the US, the idea of a media server seems a bit redundant – we'd prefer at least an option for streaming mainstream videos from the web directly to the device.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity32 GB
Processor ManufacturerNVIDIA
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
HDMIYes
Product FamilyICONIA TAB A
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Processor Model250
ColourSilver
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameAcer
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeTegra 2
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)765 g
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height13.3 mm
Width177 mm
Depth260 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesA
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product ModelA500
Product NameICONIA TAB A500 Picasso Tablet Computer
Product LineICONIA TAB
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberXE.H6LEN.005
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Marketing Information

Smaller than a magazine, the ICONIA TAB A Series sports a 10.1" widescreen display with customizable folders that open new possibilities for interaction. It runs on the new tablet-tailored Android™ 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system, weighs just 1.7 lbs. and is 0.52" thin, so it's easy to use and great for carrying. Enjoy a whole new touch experience!

Strikingly powerful

Encased in the smooth and handsome aluminum unibody chassis is an NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 dual-core mobile processor and GeForce® GPU, putting striking power and graphics in your hands, while ample RAM enables fast multitasking. The multitouch screen and fluid interface make using this tablet a breeze. And use it your way: Hold the ICONIA TAB in any direction and it'll auto-rotate to your perspective. Use it for a long time too, with up to 8 hours of HD video playback.

Package Contents
  • ICONIA TAB A500 Picasso Tablet Computer
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter