Acer Iconia A500

We take a look at the Taiwanese computer giant’s erm... Acer in the hole, and let you know what’s successful and what needs improving on the Acer Iconia A500.

By Chris Messenger | Published 16/08/2012

The Good

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Ability to watch full 1080p via HDMI

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Stylish two tone design

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Rear camera has flash bulb

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Adobe flash support

The Bad

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Heavy... 730 Grams!

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Honycomb apps/widgets very hard to find

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Battery life worse than expected

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Bezel is extremely wide

Introduction

Acer are an extremely popular brand when it comes to portable computers, so Tablet PCs, both in terms of design and function, are a logical progression for them. We take a look at the Taiwanese computer giant’s erm...Acer in the hole, and let you know what’s successful and what needs improving on the Iconia.

 

The Iconia is big and heavy and is easily beaten in a game of ‘Trumps’ by any number of other Tablets.

The Specs

The Acer Iconia has a very appealing design. The promotional videos make it look like a sleek, slender device that could slip out of your pocket unnoticed if you ran too fast to catch a bus. You might be forgiven for thinking this as well, until you get your hands on the thing itself. The Iconia is very big and very, very heavy, but does it house great improvements within its gargantuan frame, or is it merely out of shape?

 

The Iconia is big, there’s no getting around that. With a 10.1 Inch screen, Acer’s bouncing baby is among the biggest Tablet PCs out there. With more and more 7-inch screens being released, its nice to see that there is still some diversity in Tablet land. The screen has a resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels, which means that you ought never to have any problems seeing anything you like in dazzling, brilliant colour.

 

Running Android 3.0 is a definite plus, as this brings the OS right up to date. However, the interior really doesn’t hold anything a smaller Tablet wouldn’t. The standard specs (1GHz processor  = fine. 32GB of memory = perfectly good/above average. 512MB of RAM = rather pathetic) seem to imply that you’re actually carrying around all that extra bulk for no reason whatsoever. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but this thing weighs 730g! If I’m doing all that extra lifting I expect more than just a good workout in return. Sadly, with the Iconia, I won’t be getting it.

 

 

The Price

When this review was first published, the Iconia A500 cost more than £400, a price tag that was, we felt, rather unjustified. Today? Well, today it still costs nearly £400 and it is still mostly unjustified.

 

The Performance

The Iconia does look strong. It looks like I could chuck it off my balcony and retrieve it without a second thought. If Tonka Toys designed Tablets, they would probably resemble the Iconia. Likewise, if somebody attempted to steal it from me, one blow from this massive PC would probably knock them down long enough for me to rifle through the would-be assailants pockets, mock him relentlessly, call the cops and plant a Batman logo somewhere on his person, just to have a little fun.

 

The camera function is also worth a mention. It is really very good indeed; the rear camera (5 Megapixel) even has a flash bulb.

 

Running Android 3.0 is a definite plus, as this brings the OS right up to date. However, the interior really doesn’t hold anything a smaller Tablet wouldn’t.

Honeycomb Apps and Widges are scarce, with no telling when (or if) more will be made, which dates the device instantly if production of compatible Apps doesn’t increase soon.

 

In addition, the Iconia is far too heavy and for no discernible reason. The iPad is heavy, but then again the iPad is more powerful than almost anything else on the market, it also holds the distinction of being branded differently than other Tablet computers, whereas the Iconia is just big and heavy and is easily beaten in a game of ‘Trumps’ by any number of other Tablets.

 

What Other Users Say

Over on Amazon.co.uk, 32 of 39 customer reviews give this tablet 4/5 or more, so it seems some customers are happy with the price tag. Indeed, the awesomely-named ‘Captain Zoom’ gave this computer a 4/5 review, calling it “not perfect, but not far off!” I wish I could say we agreed, but the Iconia A500 still feels expensive and undercooked to us.

 

Our Verdict

Given that the RRP exceeds the £400 mark. I would have to say, emphatically, that this is not the best value around.

 

This Tablet PC certainly isn’t bad, but equally, it certainly isn’t worth the asking price. The Iconia smacks of missed opportunity, it could have been the sexy young pretender to the Tablet throne, the one that showed the world that Acer are the true kings of portable PCs. Instead it is big, heavy and not wonderfully bright, not a total mess, but not a great step forward either.

 

 

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Tags: Acer Iconia A500 Tablet PC Review, Tablet PC Review

 

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