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May 3, 2011

REVIEW: Acer Iconia Tab A500

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Written by: sean
Acer Iconia Tab A500
Acer Iconia Tab A500

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is a solid Honeycomb tablet that may be a perfect fit for prospective users who don’t want to commit the cash to a T-Mobile G-Slate or Motorola Xoom. At just $450 for a WiFi-only model, this tablet packs quite a bit of multimedia punch without breaking the bank.

For its price, the most impressive aspects of the Iconia Tab are its high quality, 10.1-inch LCD display (1280×800 resolution) and surprisingly powerful and well-balanced Dolby speakers. Throw in a very wide viewing angle, smooth video processing and incredible battery life and the device shines at showcasing video, even to a group of people. Just don’t try to use it in any sort of sunlight. Acer’s screen does about as well outdoors in the day time as Dracula.

With its thick silver bezel, the Iconia Tab won’t win any awards for its overall look, and its screen and brushed aluminum case attract fingerprints and smudges like a magnet to iron filings. But this isn’t unexpected from a device in the lower half of the price range. It’s not a deal-breaker but could be a turn off for some potential buyers, especially those who can’t concentrate when looking at imperfections on a screen.

Currently, there are no providers on board with the Acer Iconia Tab, but there is a vacant SIM card slot available that may be used should a cellular carrier step up in the future. (Verizon is reportedly going to be the first on board with its LTE 4G network.) Nearby, there’s also space for up to 64 GB of SD card storage, so there’s plenty of room for any sort of media you want to throw the Tab’s way.

The Tab’s front-facing, 2-megapixel camera is pretty standard fare but the back-facing, 5-megapixel camera leaves something to be desired. Images captured with the device often look a bit under- or overexposed and videos often a bit blurry. In this regard, the Tab just can’t compare with most other tablets in its class. Chances are, though, if you’re serious about camera work, you’re not leaning too heavily on your tablet anyway, so Acer’s concessions on this front shouldn’t discourage you too much — there’s way too much to like about this device.

Hardware shortcomings aside, Acer’s device held its own with nearly every other NVIDIA Tegra 2-based tablet in a number of tests, including the Motorola Xoom and T-Mobile LG G-Slate, which could run you almost twice the cash without contracts. The Tab manages multiple applications smoothly and includes some Acer-exclusive apps to give the Honeycomb experience a more custom feel.


You might see the name Acer and think “minor league,” but you’d be wrong. Aside from its underwhelming set of cameras, there’s a ton of impressive features to the Tab that should more than justify its bargain price tag. A high-quality screen, powerful external speakers, impressive battery life and a Tegra 2 dual-core processor could just make it the best entry point into the wonderful world of Honeycomb.


  • High-quality screen
  • Well-balanced external speakers
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor


  • Disappointing cameras
  • Screen and case prone to fingerprint smudges
  • Unrefined bezel design

  • 260 x 177 x 13.3 mm
  • 730 grams


  • LCD Capacitive Touch
  • 10 inches
  • 16Million Colors & 1024 x 1280 pixels

User Interface

  • Multi-Touch
  • Acer User Interface 4.5
  • Light Sensor, Gyro Sensor
  • Accelerometer Sensor for UI Auto-Rotate
  • Proximity Sensor for Auto Turn On or Off


  • Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core 1GHz processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GPU
  • 1GB RAM


  • 16GB micro-SD card inserted

Browser and Messaging

  • HTML With Flash support, HTML5, XHTML, MMS, SMS, IM, Email


  • 5 Megapixels back-facing (2592 x 1944 pixels pixels LED Flash, Auto Focus)
  • 2 Megapixels front-facing (1600 × 1200 Pixels)


  • Bluetooth and USBv2.1 with A2DP Stereo and v2.0 Micro USB
  • 3.5mm stereo headset jack
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/nGPSA-GPS3GNO

Video & Audio Video Formats

  • MPEG4, H.263, H.264, Xvid

Battery Type

  • Li-Po 3260mAh Standard Battery

Other Features

  • HDMI port, 1080p HD video playback capability
  • Android Market
  • Dolby Mobile Surround Sound
  • Additional Microphone for Noise cancellation
  • Google Maps, G-Talk, G-Mail
  • Need for Speed: Shift, Let’s Golf games
  • Games Zone, eReading, Multimedia and SNS
  • SocialJogger app, ‘’ app
  • Facebook, YouTube, Twitter integration
  • Adobe Flash 10.1

About the Author



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