The great plus point of 7in tablets is that they’re easy to carry around – easier than their larger 10in brethren simply because they slip more neatly into a bag or even a large coat pocket. The price you pay is a smaller viewing area, obviously – but Acer thinks it’s a price worth paying, and its Android 3.0-based, 7in Iconia Tab A100 is the living proof.
This is certainly a nicely specified tablet with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1GHz and 8GB of built-in storage, with a microSD card slot provided so you can add more. You can opt for 3G support or not. If you want it, you’ll add £50 to the WiFi-only price.
Importantly there is HDMI out, and the other ports and connectors run to a headphones jack, USB connector and main power jack. There’s just one button on the screen bezel, and that’s a touch sensitive home screen button. There are two cameras – a 5-megapixel one with small LED flash on the back and a 2-megapixel one on the front. The Acer iconia Tab A100 runs the tablet-specific Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’ OS, and that all-important support for Flash is included.
Comfy to use
The screen is a sharp, bright 1024×600-pixel panel which, while it does gather fingerprints rather readily, is easy on the eye. The chassis is small enough to hold in one hand easily, though it’s a little thick, and the tablet is surprisingly heavy (measuring 195x117x13.1mm, and weighing in at 470g). It also looks good, with a shiny plastic front and grey shiny back that contains a wavy patterning. We also like the slight inward curve of the long edges – this lends just enough of a hint of ‘design’ to the overall appearance.
We like the screen lock button on one of the long edges which prevents the motion sensors from rotating the screen as you turn the Acer Iconia Tab A100 in your hands. This came into its own on many occasions during use – it’s surprising how often you don’t want the screen to automatically judder between portrait and landscape formats.
But in spite of a generally decent design, we do have a few niggles. It’s annoying that you need a proprietary power cable to charge the Acer iconia Tab A100, rather than a mini-USB lead. We really prefer carrying just the one USB charging cable for all devices. And we aren’t that impressed with the Dolby Mobile sound either, which we found a little below-par both through the two on-device speakers and our own headphones.
We also none too excited by Acer’s provision of ‘application groups’, which seem unnecessary when there are five home screens to pepper with shortcuts.
- Good chassis design; impressive specifications.
- Acer's software side-fiddles are unnecessary.
In terms of build, specifications and performance Acer has done a good job with the Iconia Tab A100. IWhen it comes to the tablet's added applications, the job is less well done. Acer needs to stop fiddling with Android or do something really useful in that regard. Otherwise, though, this is a nice 7in tablet.