Acer Iconia Tab A500 review

Bulkier Android tablet has muscle and new software tweaks

acer iconia tab a500 review
Can the Iconia Tab A500 compete with the other Android 3.0 tablets?

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acer iconia tab a500

Acer is at least trying to up the ante with some UI customisations on the Iconia Tab A500. Overall, the Android 3.0 interface is extremely easy to use and understand – as we covered in our Android 3.0 review.

Fingers swipes and presses on the Acer Iconia Tab A500 screen registered accurately – we only had a few minor issues with the on-screen keyboard not registering a click or two.

acer iconia tab a500

With the Iconia Tab A500, there's no sense that Acer radically improved the basic Android 3.0 experience (like HTC did on the Flyer), but then again Honeycomb is already quite useful.

Market and apps

Another differentiator with the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is that there are a handful of bundled apps. Acer and other computer makers do the same thing with laptops – sometimes, the bundled apps are noteworthy and add value, but sometimes they add clutter. Here, the apps are valuable.

acer iconia tab a500

There's the full version of Let's Golf, a fun and cartoonish golfing simulator. Acer also includes a trial for the game Hero of Sparta, a hack-and-slash adventure game. We also tested Need for Speed: Shift on the Iconia Tab A500 and every one of these games ran smoothly without any choppiness.

Acer includes a very odd reader app called LumiRead, in addition to the one Google provides, called Books. LumiRead only seems to work in Germany, and there was no way to access the store.

acer iconia tab a500

For multimedia apps, Acer includes a photo browsing tool, a media player called NemoPlayer, another music player and one for playing internet radio stations. These apps wouldn't jump into the rankings in the Apple Store but here, on a device with precious-view third-party apps available for tablets, they add value.

One of the stand-out apps is called SocialJogger. This tool links you into your Facebook and Twitter accounts to view photos, post a status update and check your profile. You can also see an aggregated listing of links other people have shared through their profiles.

The Android Market has improved since we first tested the Motorola Xoom. We recently found another batch of good, download-worthy apps including Google Earth, FlightTrack and a few new games. See TechRadar's Top 30 best Android 3.0 apps article for more great apps.

Of course, you can also install any of the Android smartphone apps, which run in a smaller screen.

That said, there are still not enough Android 3.0 apps to challenge Apple. There are roughly 50-60 apps that make use of the larger screen real estate on the Acer Iconia Tab A500. Still, the Android Market does make it easy to search for apps, download and install them. You can also search for apps and install them directly to the device using your computer by going to the Android Market online.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.