We liked

It might be built to meet a price, but we found the A210 solid and much more rugged than most, and with a mottled back that's soft and easy to grip. Its design is somewhat uninspiring, but the A210 stacks up pretty well against the competition: it's got enough processing power, touchscreen sensitivity and even built-in audio to compete with higher-priced 10-inch tablets.

Acer Iconia Tab A210
We're really sold on the Acer Ring

That NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor does its job well, though kudos to Acer for its splendid Acer Ring shortcut screen and swish suite of clear.fi apps. However, most of our love is reserved for the A210's USB 2.0 slot, which makes sharing and transferring files from other devices a doddle. We also liked how the A210's useful microSD slot is nicely hidden, as a specific digital media card is almost always going to be inserted permanently, and not swapped very often.

We disliked

There's no rear-facing camera, no HDMI output, the pixel density of such a big screen is almost archaic, and the general look and feel is rather industrial.

Acer Iconia Tab A210
The screen isn't quite as sharp as we'd hope

We were also slightly alarmed by the decision to supply the A210 with not just a proprietary power cable/charger (instead of just relying on the already included microUSB slot), but a short one at that. That oversight is made more serious by the A210's relatively short battery life.

Final verdict

The Acer Iconia A210 is one of the best budget 10-inch tablets available. If it wasn't for the very average battery life, we'd be having a major fling with the A210 because it has both flexibility and an Acer-made polish to its user interface that we really enjoyed using.

Granted, it's all about functionality and value, not flashy features and design. It's almost a third thicker than the iPad, though uses that girth well; the inclusion of a USB 2.0 slot makes casual file-swapping easy while also allowing keyboards to be wired-up.

Acer Iconia Tab A210
It's a bit too sturdy to be elegant, but there's a lot to like about the A210

We can't tell you how much we love it for that USB slot, but there's more to like with useful Android Jelly Bean mods like Acer Ring and some simple, home-baked apps that give a nice un-Android feel to playing music, videos and photos.

In theory, the biggest issue is probably its screen, with those 1280 x 800 pixels getting nowhere near an iPad 4, but that's not the A210's market and, in any case, video playback is nevertheless impressive. Some will also bemoan the lack of rear camera and, more understandably, the no-show of an HDMI output.

Judged against the Google Nexus 10, the A210 comes out well, with its lower price and expandable options (USB 2.0 & microSD) giving it the leg-up, while battery life is about equal, though again it loses out on screen resolution.

Where it differs most from its other main rival, the almost identically priced Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, is on battery life; its rival boasts a much larger battery, though in real life usage the difference is minimal.

And that's the A210 in a nutshell. On paper it's the poor relation to a lot of its rivals, but there's everything here that the average tablet user needs - and in terms of value for money, it's hard to beat.