Though high-end Android tablet options have all but died off, at the budget end there is still a niche for svelte slates.
Enter Acer, one of the most enthusiastic manufacturers of these cut-price options, with its Iconia One 10 (2017).
It has a 10.1-inch 1,200 x 1,920 screen, front-firing speakers and a £180 price tag (around $230/AU$290 but with no word on a US or Australian release) attached - but is this enough to ensure a place in your living room set-up?
A media mogul
- 10.1-inch 1,200 x 1,920 screen
- Two loud front-firing speakers
- 5GHz Wi-Fi for fast data speeds
The key feature of any tablet looking to succeed in a big way is its screen. While people may use smartphones in various different ways and settings, tablets are primarily used on couches – they must succeed in this one scenario.
Luckily, the screen on the Acer Iconia One 10 is big and sharp, measuring 10.1 inches across and with a resolution of 1,200 x 1,920 – which amounts to 222 pixels per inch. It’s an IPS panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and as such is almost perfect for widescreen viewing.
The screen is an LCD, rather than the punchier AMOLED variants, but that is to be expected at this price point - it isn't on the level of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
The Iconia also has another trick up its sleeve, one that many manufacturers have dropped in recent years: front-firing speakers, two of them. The beauty of these is the sound comes from the direction most useful to the average listener i.e. towards them.
These are boosted by ‘DTS-HD Premium Sound’, which appears to be a mysterious automatic-equalizer that certainly has no negative impact on the sound produced.
Lastly, the Acer features another feature that is often woefully absent from sub-£200 devices, full 802.11ac 5GHz Wi-Fi. This inclusion allows for blisteringly fast connectivity when paired with compatible routers and a reliable internet connection. It should certainly make Netflix buffering a thing of the past.
Design and display
- Two micro USB ports
- Heavy at 530g
While phones have seen a design revolution at the sub-£200 price point, tablets have not. Plastic still prevails across most devices, with only a few hints of flair here or there. The Iconia One 10 is no exception.
The rear of the device is constructed from a soft, grippy matt plastic that won’t slide from a table without notice – unlike many glass-backed slates. Acer’s logo is picked out in a glossy chrome accent that doesn’t look too tacky, and there is the generic regulatory information towards the bottom.
Our only hint at individuality comes from the odd little glossy black coin near the top, bearing the ‘Iconia’ branding and protecting the rear-facing camera. Its head slides away to reveal a microSD card slot and (oddly) a micro USB slot that doesn’t allow for charging, only data transfer.
The right side and bottom of the device are flush, the left side hosts another micro USB port that does indeed allow for charging, and the top features a power button and volume rocker.
In all, this is an unremarkable device – especially the black version – but this isn’t really an issue in itself. A ‘couchable’ device doesn’t need to win beauty awards, only to be comfortable to hold, and that it is. For those who prefer to prop their tablets up on a table, it comes with a separate 'Acer stand'.
At 9.15mm thick the Acer Iconia One 10 (2017) is slim enough to feel premium without being so thin as to feel insubstantial, but one factor that does count against it is its heft. Weighing in at 530g, this chunky monkey can put a little too much strain on the hand when used for extensive binging sessions.
The display itself is a cracker. It has a good maximum brightness, even if the lowest brightness isn’t quite low enough for a pitch-black room. As it is an IPS panel, viewing angles are very good, and there is little to no brightness drop off.
Even if it isn't quite as good as the new iPad, it still more than holds its own in the quality stakes, especially at this price point.
One criticism, though this will only matter to a few souls, is that colors are just a little too cool for our liking, with whites tending towards the blue. Luckily however, there is a built in “Bluelight Shield” from Acer which does a decent job of warming the display up in the evening to protect your beauty sleep.
For watching movies, and at this price, it is really hard to do better.