Acer Iconia Tab A200 review

An Ice Cream Sandwich tablet at a budget price

Acer Iconia Tab A200
Acer's 8GB tablet comes in titanium grey or metallic red

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Whether by chance or design, the Acer Iconia Tab A200 is an easy tablet to rate. It's a budget tablet and, as such, there are omissions. But, if you look around at other budget tablets - such as the ZTE Light Tab 2, Disgo 9104 or Archos 70 Internet Tablet - this is better by quite a long shot.

For starters, many budget tablets go for the 7-inch form factor, and for surfing the web or watching movies a 10.1-inch screen is preferable. And it can be touch and go whether or not you'll get access to Google Play on a budget tablet.

So, not only do you get a 10.1-inch high definition screen with the Acer A200, but you also get Android Ice Cream Sandwich and all the apps that Google has to offer.

Of course, there's something to be said for the smaller size for reading ebooks, or taking on the commute, and we doubt you'll be able to use the Acer Iconia Tab A200 for either of these. It's too heavy to hold comfortably for long periods, and the bulky chassis isn't as easy to slip into a case or a bag as the Toshiba AT200 or the BlackBerry PlayBook.

But, as we said, there are omissions. There's no HDMI, no rear-facing camera and only 8GB of onboard storage space - although in the US you can buy a 16GB version for not a lot more money.

If you need bleeding-edge features and all the connectivity you can muster, then you're going to need to go elsewhere - and spend a bit more.

We liked

Even though the Acer Iconia Tab A200 is a chunky tablet, we found the design - especially in red - to be quite appealing. Similarly, the rubberised back is comfortable, easy to grip and doesn't quickly get covered in unattractive smudges.

The weight gives a solid heft to this tablet that some people (particularly those with accident-prone kids or spouses) might find appealing, while others will bemoan the extra effort of holding it.

The Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is Google's best effort yet, and with the new iteration we're seeing Android tablets become smoother and easier to navigate.

We like the new cosmetic changes, such as the ability to lump apps together in folders, and the Acer Ring that enables you to quickly launch your favourite applications wherever you are in the system.

The 1GHz Tegra 2 processor might have been surpassed by the Tegra 3, but we still found it suitable for running all our favourite games, and thanks to a bit of microSD-enhanced storage, we were able to load up the Acer Iconia Tab A200 with plenty of media to enjoy.

We disliked

Obviously, the lack of an HDMI port or rear-facing camera is annoying, but there are other irritating aspects to the Acer Iconia Tab A200 as well. For example, getting the plastic cover that conceals the microSD card slot up is a test of patience as well as fingernails.

Similarly, the fact that you can't charge via USB (unless you plug into a PC or laptop) means that you're forced to make room for the charger if you plan on taking the Acer Iconia Tab A200 away for a night or two.

Although media playback was a relative strong point of the Acer Iconia Tab A200, we did find that volume from the two small speakers situated on the back of the tablet was lacking. Similarly, we've seen brighter screens on rival Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

Final verdict

The biggest positive we can draw from the Acer Iconia Tab A200 is the price. Given that Apple has dropped the price of the iPad 2, it's going to become harder for Android devices to compete on price, but regardless there are people who don't want an iPad or want to spend over £300/$350 on a tablet.

Although the market for budget tablets is getting increasingly crowded, the Acer Iconia Tab A200 offers a lot for its relatively low price.

We feel that with the Iconia Tab A200, Acer is replicating some of the policies that have made its laptops increasingly popular. That is, an unremarkable chassis with a brief smattering of necessary ports and a concentration on offering decent power at a very attractive price.

Getting a 10.1-inch Tegra 2 tablet with ICS for £280/$330 is a good deal in our book, and there are alternatives from Acer if you want a more premium device.

But if you want a budget media tablet for the house, that everyone in the family can use, then this is one of the better choices available today.