The tablets market sure is getting crowded – right now, there are over two dozen tablets of various screen sizes already on the market or preparing to enter it, and every manufacturer thinks they can get a slice of the pie. Well, as the Xoom demonstrated, it might not be that easy anymore – despite positive reviews from tech magazines, enthusiasts and users, the Xoom doesn’t sell nearly as well as everyone thought it would – in fact, it’s almost considered a failure at Motorola!
Acer has also wanted to get into the game for a while now, but only recently have they actually done something about it – photos of their Iconia tablets have been floating around the Web for months, and now, they’ve finally set a release date for one of them, the Tab A500. One of the things they changed is the price – you’ll pay $449 and you get quite a lot for the money. In fact, the Iconia Tab A500 is one of the most attractive offers on the market!
On the outside
The exterior of the Iconia Tab A500 is pretty darn nice – it looks like a sized up version of the Dell Venue Pro, to be honest (only without the slide out keyboard, obviously), which is a great thing. The front is adorned by the 10.1 inch WXGA display under a big sheet of glass that protects it from scratches.
The frame and the whole back cover are made of aluminum with a brushed finish, which makes it look very professional, durable and expensive – I bet that’s exactly what Acer was going for! The 5 megapixels camera on the back that looks like it has a pretty big sensor at first sight, but then you realize it’s only the frame that’s big and the camera is your usual sized unit you see on other tablets and smartphones. There’s also a 2 megapixels camera on the front under the glass, for video calls and vanity shots.
On the inside
The internal components certainly match the exterior in their own way, and are much better than you would expect from a sub-$500 device. The Iconia Tab A500 is powered by the Tegra 2 platform from NVidia, and in case you didn’t know, the tablet version is even more powerful than the smartphone one, especially in games. The dual core 1 GHz chip will blaze through anything you throw at it, and thanks to the 1 GB of RAM, you can throw quite a lot at the same time – I don’t think you’ll see any slowdowns in its whole lifetime!
The A500 is also one of the few Android devices to boast official support for 64 GB micro SD cards – although most smartphones and tablets should already support them (it’s the same hardware for both SDHC and SDXC cards), it’s interesting to see a company making it official.
The other hardware specs are pretty standard – there’s your usual support for Wifi N, Bluetooth, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, HDMI out, USB port, and more. The microphone has noise canceling features, which is great if you’re planning to use this tablet for Skyping on the go.
The Iconia Tab A500 features the latest Android OS, version 3.0 Honeycomb, which looks and works amazingly well. The number of apps for it is growing every week, so by the time you get a tablet running it, you won’t miss anything you have on your Android smartphone. There is no custom skin – Honeycomb looks perfect as it is.
The Iconia Tab A500 has already been released in Europe and Asia and is coming to the US Verizon network by the end of June – if you want an affordable Android tablet that looks great, is durable and has uncompromised performance, this device might be perfect for you.