Acer Iconia B1 review

Full Android Jelly Bean for tablet first-timers

Acer Iconia B1 review
The Acer Iconia B1 reviewed and rated

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While relatively slow to load, a blast of Battle in Seattle streamed from BBC iPlayer revealed the paramount importance of holding the Acer Iconia B1 carefully so as not to cover its already weak speaker.

Unfortunately that mono speaker lies beneath the natural resting point for your right hand's fingers while holding the Acer Iconia B1 in landscape mode and, worse still, it's terribly thin and weedy. Movies are therefore a headphones-only experience.

Acer Iconia B1 review

In terms of picture quality, there's little contrast; in a 720p trailer of Cloud Atlas from YouTube via Play Movies, blacks look grey and colours lacklustre, though detail is enough to ensure a clean picture, and video is fluid enough to watch comfortably. If you watch straight-on and don't move the Acer Iconia B1 too much, it's fine for movies.

Incidentally, the Acer Iconia B1's Astro File Manager plays only AVI video files loaded on to it.


Acer Iconia B1 review

We played the accelerometer-fuelled Crazy Cars: Hit The Road HD from the Acer Iconia B1's pre-loaded Games portal, which the tablet managed to host perfectly acceptably with no lag or blips.

However, the pumping soundtrack sounds dreadful through the Acer Iconia B1's pathetic speaker.


Acer Iconia B1 review

For a tablet mooted as a low-cost option for commuters and students, the Acer Iconia B1 makes a pretty bad e-book reader, though that's largely to do with its short battery life.

In our test we synced a Kindle app and began flicking through Life of Pi, which seems crisp enough, but don't expect a tailored, customised reading environment.

You'll not get too many chapters in before the battery runs out, but if left around the house the Acer Iconia B1 will be fine for casual readers, though we did notice some uneven brightness - especially in the corners of the panel - when we tried to read with the lights off.

Apps and games

Acer Iconia B1 review

There are precious few home-baked apps included on the Iconia B1 by Acer, but what there is impresses.

Astro File Manager takes pride of place, which aggregates all music, video, photo and document files nicely. However, while it plays video and hosts photo sideshows itself, music playback is sent to other apps, either 7digital or Play Music.

The Google Currents news aggregation/subscription app is included as a default in the taskbar, while the Acer Iconia B1's pre-loaded Games app is merely a shop front for Wild Tangent titles, though most titles can be downloaded for free and without signing in.


Acer Iconia B1 review

Although it's touted as having an 'HD webcam for chatting' on Acer's website, that's not actually the case. Fitted with just a 0.3-megapixel VGA front-facing camera, photography on the Acer Iconia B1 is a non-starter.

When using that camera, grab as much ambient light as you can, and forget making video calls in dingy hotel rooms.

Acer Iconia B1 review

In terms of photo navigation, it's best to use Acer's own Astro File Manager, which we've admired on other Acer tablets (notably the step-up Acer Iconia A1).

It can source and aggregate files from various cloud services, and presents photos with a carousel of thumbnail images along the bottom.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),