Quad-core processor is futureproofed; good price; full-size USB port; user-friendly Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS.
Dull screen; pedestrian design; better-specced, cheaper tablets available.
The Acer Iconia Tab A210 is a well-priced, quad-core tablet device but there are already cheaper tablets with better specs on the market.
Like so many devices, quad-core tablets are improving and getting cheaper all the time. New to the market is the Acer Iconia Tab A210, which comes in at less than £250 and runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich. While it doesn't really offer any outstanding features, it’s still a solid, decent device – all powered by a Nvidia Tegra 3 chip.
The A210 has a 10.1-inch screen with a 1280x800 resolution and a reasonable amount of brightness, which can be altered should you wish to save juice. The only issue is that it has the same resolution as the seven-inch display on the Nexus 7, so you do lose out on clarity. And don’t expect images to be too vibrant, with only 262k colours supported.
Looks-wise, it’s rather pedestrian, with a square, solid body – it’s heavy enough to be held with both two hands. It’s got a sturdy build quality though – and can stand up to scratches and scuffs. The reverse side is tactile, so feels good to hold.
While charging happens via the round proprietary slot, you can use the microSD for transferring files. The tablet also has a full-size USB port, which conveniently can be used to plug in a hard drive should you need extra memory.
The speakers can be found at the bottom of the tablet – this is useful when you put it down because the sound travels better when it bounces off a solid surface. Costs have been cut by dispensing with a rear snapper and instead just having a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera – it’s fine for video calls, although colours are faded. Video recording suffers from the same problems.
The tablet is run by a powerful 1.2Ghz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, supported by 1GB RAM – there’s also 16GB of built-in storage, with the option to expand it by up to 32GB via the microSD slot.
The operating system of choice here is Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which Acer has tweaked very slightly, and to which it has added a few handy apps and widgets. There are no hard buttons – instead all the keys are on the virtual screen.
You’ll find some preloaded features added too – including the handy Polaris Office, which can be used for notes, documents, spreadsheets and Files, which is a folder manager reminiscent of something you’d see on a Windows PC. Just as on phones running on the same OS, it is possible to use Face Unlock, which lets you lock up your device just by pointing your face at it.
Acer has also tweaked the toolbars – you’ll see there is an unusual circular dashboard, which shows a quarter of your favourite shortcuts, with some browser windows fanning out from the centre. This is also where you can alter the volume, via a neat little onscreen slider.
Also preloaded is the Nvidia Tegra Zone portal, which lets you download games designed for the range of processors. We played a number of high-def games and they ran smoothly – and the touchscreen proved responsive too.
Watching HD movies is enjoyable even though the screen doesn’t support full HD – you have to endure the black bars across the top and bottom of the screen if you’re watching cinematic ratio movies in 16:9, although they don’t prove too obtrusive. Sound though, is a tad tinny if you’re watching films or playing games, and the volume doesn’t go too high. It’s better to use your own headphones.
The battery lasts well too – expect it to last overnight with moderate use.
With tablets coming in at £400 and phones becoming pricier, Acer obviously decided to go for the budget market – but already there’s a cheaper tablet – the Nexus 7, as well as the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire. It’s hard to see where this tablet will fit – especially as it has the power for great games and HD content but doesn’t have the screen to match. While the A210 is a perfectly useable device, it doesn’t have the wow factor – and that screen does let it down.
|Type of device||Tablet|
|Operating System||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|Processor speed||1.2 Quad-Core|
|CPU||nVidia Tegra 3|
|Screen size||10.1 inches|
|Display type||256K colours|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||1.9 megapixels|
|Special camera features|
|FM Radio description||N/A|
|Other||USB for hard drive connection, clear.fi media sharing with other Acer devices|
|Colors (Standard)||Silver back|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||USB cable, charger|
|Battery life multimedia|
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