Tablets Guide

Acer Iconia Tab A500 review

Acer Iconia Tab A500 - Iconic Honeycomb

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Launch SRP S$799



Multimedia and Battery Performance

A Movie Icon

Without a doubt, the tablet is designed to be a multimedia device, and that's also where the Tab A500 stands as an Android 3.0 tablet. Its 10.1-inch screen is a clear indication of this stance, giving you a comfortable view when it comes to movie watching. At its maximum brightness, we were pleased at how the Tab A500 displayed its 1280 x 800 screen resolution with sufficient clarity across various viewing angles. Unfortunately, you'll have to be live with the screen glare from the reflective screen.

Behind the Tab A500 lies a pair of speakers. Yes, it's a pair, not a single speaker as seen on the iPad 2. What's more, the Tab A500 includes audio enhancement in the form of Dolby Mobile to complement its stereo speakers. Needless to say, we found the video experience quite enjoyable, if you have a stand to hold the Tab A500 and keep your hands free.

The Tab A500 comes with two cameras with different imaging resolutions - the rear camera is capable of 5-megapixel images while the front camera, which is mostly used for video chats, sports a 2-megapixel sensor. While we can't imagine why anyone would want to carry a hefty tablet to do photography on-the-go, we aren't ignoring the imaging capabilities of the Tab A500.

Noisy images with very visible loss of details across the whole photo were returned by its rear 5-megapixel camera. From what we can gather, imaging with the Tab A500 should be avoided.

To round up our performance test, we have the battery test. To demonstrate the tablet's capabilities in handling high quality videos, we ran a 720p video on the Tab. This video loop is done with the following parameters:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection active
  • Constant data stream via email and Twitter

These parameters were also locked in for a few other tablets, in particular the Motorola Xoom and the Apple iPad and iPad 2.

Specifications/Device Acer Iconia Tab A500 Motorola Xoom Apple iPad 2 Apple iPad
Processor
  • Dual core 1GHz
  • Dual core 1GHz
  • Dual core 1GHz
  • Single core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 10.1-inch
  • 10.1-inch
  • 9.7-inch
  • 9.7-inch
Display Type
  • LCD
  • TFT-LCD
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT
Display Resolution
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1024 x 768 pixels
  • 1024 x 768 pixels
Dimensions
  • 260 x 177 x 13.3mm
  • 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9mm
  • 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm
  • 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm
Weight
  • 730g
  • 730g
  • 613g
  • 730g

A quick look at the self-explanatory charts above should be sufficient - the Tab A500 wasn't even close to the Apple slates. Was this the result of better power management due to the iOS platform? Perhaps, but if you were to see how the Xoom fared against the Tab A500, you might think otherwise.

With at least an hour more in battery mileage against the same Android 3.0 Acer tablet, the Motorola slate brought us to a conclusion - the Tab A500 is a battery guzzler. These numbers are further reflected in the portability index, which places the Tab A500 as the least portable among the recent tablets. The weight, dimensions and sub-par battery life make it much less appealing to those who seek a long-lasting tablet that's also easy on the arms.

We paced the Tab A500 through a routine that includes web browsing, reading, video playback and gaming to get an idea of how it performs in the real world. With its Wi-Fi constantly active and pulling data through Gmail, a fully charged Tab A500 survived for an entire day. While this is relatively sufficient for the average user, we were hoping to get more mileage out of the Tab A500.