Acer Iconia Tab A110 review
Ever since Samsung released its low-cost 7in Galaxy Tab 2 earlier this year, manufacturers have been falling over themselves to release low-cost compact tablets. First there was the excellent Nexus 7, then we saw the Amazon Fire HD, and there are more launches just around the corner.
All of a sudden, there’s an awful lot of competition in the sector, something Acer may not have been anticipating when it decided on the price for its Iconia Tab A110. Last year £179 for this tablet would have looked quite good; now, it looks pricey next to the £159 Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.
That wouldn’t be a problem if it was a brilliant product. Alas, there are several areas where the A110 loses out to its cheaper rivals. The most obvious of its weaknesses is the screen, which is poor by any standards. Measured with a colorimeter, its maximum brightness tops out at 208cd/m2, which for a laptop might be just about acceptable; for a compact tablet you might use as a reading device or for gaming on the commute, it simply isn’t bright enough.
Viewing angles are poor: hold the A110 in landscape orientation then tilt it back and forth, and you’ll see the colours shift distractingly. And with most recently announced budget 7in tablets now hitting 1,280 x 800 or higher, the A110’s resolution of 1,024 x 600 is doubly disappointing. We’re distinctly underwhelmed, and the chunky, 11.5mm-thick chassis and hefty 384g weight don’t help with the overall impression.
There is some redemption, though, and it comes in the form of a powerful CPU. Beneath the Acer’s rather dowdy exterior, lurks the heart of a beast, with a powerful 1.2GHz quad-core Tegra 3 T30L CPU and 1GB of RAM. Storage isn’t so good at 8GB, but you do get a microSDHC slot capable of taking another 32GB, something the Nexus 7 can’t offer.
This core hardware helped the A110 produce scores of 1,759ms in SunSpider and 4,208 in Quadrant. For performance, it holds its own with the Nexus 7, which achieved a similar SunSpider score and was slightly slower in Quadrant. Games, from the demanding Asphalt 7 to Shadowgun and HD movies (streaming or local) didn’t cause it any trouble at all, and the Jelly Bean front-end responds as quickly and smoothly to the touch as any tablet we’ve tried.
It’s no surprise there isn’t a rear camera – most other tablets at this price sacrifice that feature – with only a front-facing 2-megapixel unit capable of 720p video. It’s better than the Nexus 7’s 1.2-megapixel camera, though, and although the battery is smaller at 3,420mAh, the A110’s stamina is still acceptable. It lasted 7hrs 3mins in our looping video test with the power profile set to “High performance”; the Nexus 7 achieved 8hrs 48mins in this test.
The trouble the Acer Iconia Tab has is that it’s beaten in almost every respect by the cheaper Nexus 7 – that microSD slot excepted. It’s the poor screen that really seals it for this tablet, though. Even if Acer did manage to match the price of Google’s Nexus 7, we still wouldn’t recommend it.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||126.5 x 11.5 x 193mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||600|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,024|
|Display type||Multitouch, capacitive|
|CPU frequency, MHz||0MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||N/A|
|Built-in flash type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||Android 4.1.1|