Acer's Iconia Tab A100 joins a growing sector of the Android tablet market, being a 7in. model. Our review sample ran Android 3.2, though online we notice various sellers advertising it as an Android 3.0 device. It's a nicely made offering with good specifications, and may well find itself a niche, but we have a couple of niggles.
There are two versions of this tablet. The Iconia Tab A100, which we had for review, is a Wi-Fi-only version, and we've seen it online for around £300 (inc. VAT). The Iconia Tab A101 is identical apart from adding 3G SIM support into the mix; we've seen this online for around £350 (inc. VAT).
Specifications are good, with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor supported by an Nvidia GeForce GPU with Flash 10.1 support. The device supports 1080p video playback and the screen is a bright, sharp 1,024-by-600-pixel panel.
There is 512MB of RAM supporting the processor and 8GB of internal memory. Under a tab on one long edge there is a microSD card slot for adding more storage. This tab also protects the SIM card slot — blocked out in the case of our Wi-Fi-only model.
The screen automatically rotates, but there's a small lock switch next to the volume buttons on one long edge so that you can prevent the motion sensors from kicking in if necessary.
One short edge houses a headphone jack and the on/off switch, while the other houses twin speakers, the power connector, USB and HDMI ports and a docking connector (we've not seen the dock). There is a touch-sensitive home button on the screen bezel along with a 2-megapixel camera; a 5-megapixel camera with a small LED flash sits on the back.
Acer has included Dolby Mobile for enhanced audio output. Still, we were disappointed by the quality of sound output, which is rather tinny both through the device's speakers and our (good-quality) headphones.
Build quality, on the other hand, is impressive. The chassis is plastic but solid, and the very slightly angled long edges mean the Acer Iconia Tab A100 doesn't look like a dull rectangle.
Acer tries to add a little personalisation by grouping applications together. The main screen contains icons for Games, eReading, Multimedia and Social. Predictably enough, tapping one of these launches an app browser.
Choose eReader and you get two icons — for the LumiRead and Kobo e-reading platforms. Choose Games and, rather sadly, there's just one app available — a collection of solitaire card games.
The Multimedia area offers a little more choice, with three options: YouTube, MusicA, which identifies music playing locally over the air, and the nemoPlayer, which you can use to share music, video and stills over DLNA. Social gives access to Google Talk, a Facebook client and Acer's SocialJogger social media aggregator for Facebook and Twitter.
Frankly, with multiple home screens available that can be filled with shortcuts to apps, we find these tiered access models rather irritating. Adding insult to injury, Acer has failed to include some apps in its groupings — the Media area is missing the Gallery and Music Player apps, for example. We're also surprised that although Acer includes its own Clear-fi media-sharing application on the Iconia Tab A100, it does not earn a space in the Multimedia group.
The Acer Iconia Tab is a neat Android 3.0 tablet. However, Acer could have done more to enhance the audio output, and should have done less in terms of providing application groupings.