Review: Acer Iconia A1

By Mike Wheeler

‘Light’ and ‘plastic’ and the first two words that come to mind when we took out Acer’s Iconia A1 7.9-inch tablet from the box. This does not necessarily mean it is cheap and nasty, but first impressions do count, and that was ours.

By Mike Wheeler

‘Light’ and ‘plastic’ and the first two words that come to mind when we took out Acer’s Iconia A1 7.9-inch tablet from the box. This does not necessarily mean it is cheap and nasty, but first impressions do count, and that was ours.

The back is indeed made of plastic, while the front is glass, although feels plastic. Still, it seems a reasonably solid unit, and although thicker than the similar iPad, feels light.

With the build out of the way, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of performance. First the cameras. This is a weird one for us due to the configuration – the rear camera is 5 megapixels, but the front-facing one is a mere 0.3 megapixels. After taking a couple of pics with the front-facing camera, they were definitely grainy in composition, which is not ideal. We assume the Acer hasn’t put much effort into the 0.3 megapixel lens because they are trying to save on hardware, and they probably only added it because most tablets have the front device for skyping/video calls and not taking snaps.

While its user interface is pretty straightforward – it’s a touchscreen – and easy to navigate, we were left a little disappointed about the 1024 x 768 resolution, which is a little ironic in that not that long ago, we would have been well satisfied with such quality (and, yes, we do realise the iPad Mini has the same numbers). Still, it does the job it sets out to do, which is to be a light, portable device to surf the net, send emails, watch the odd YouTube video and possibly skype so it’s not like it’s designed to be a portable device to showcase Full HD movies.

Its processor is 1.2GHz quad-core from Media Tek, which again is a little disappointing in that it doesn’t quite have the ompf we’d like, but again it is adequate and does its job. You get a choice of 8GBor 16GB of storage, and it uses the 4.2 Android Jelly Bean operating system.

Overall, we like the idea that somebody has produced a cheaper version of the iPad Mini and Nexus 7, but unfortunately it comes with a few niggly things – no 3G or 4G version, its processing power; and the front facing camera – that are annoying, but won’t be fatal to its success. It’s hard to get over-excited about it other than the price, but it will appeal to those looking for something at the bargain end of the market.

Pros: Cheap, light and therefore portable
Cons: Front camera; resolution could be better; wifi only

3.2 Shacks Out of 5

RRP
$249

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