The 5MP camera on the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is serviceable enough. It's easy to use and snaps clear photos. One gripe is that there's a delay between when you focus on a subject and when the photo actually snaps – the focus only works when you release the shutter. This isn't quite as annoying as the BlackBerry PlayBook, which makes a chime only after the photo snaps.
The camera app provides the typical features for Android 3.0 – you can use a polarise setting and make all photos look black and white.
One unique offering on the Iconia Tab A500 is that you can set a time-lapse for the video cam setting which makes your movies look like they're deliberately stuttering. In our tests, these videos didn't really work right and just had excessive stuttering during playback. They're supposed to look like stop-motion films where the camera snaps a photo at regular intervals.
For video quality, you can select up to 720p as the highest level. There's also a low quality setting for smaller files and a YouTube formatted video option. In 720p, videos looked clear but lacked a colour depth we'd expect for HD videos. Also, on one test machine – a Lenovo ThinkCentre M – the videos played with some stuttering. Once formatted for the Web on Picasa, they looked smooth.
Acer plans to update the Iconia Tab A500 this year so that you can record and play 1080p videos.
The Iconia Tab A500's front-facing camera, at 2MP, is less usable on this tablet, since there's no built-in video conferencing app like the iPad 2's FaceTime. Instead, the only app we found that even supports video chats is Adobe Connect Mobile, but the app didn't recognise the video camera on the Iconia Tab A500, which was also a problem on the BlackBerry PlayBook.