Acer's 10.1" Iconia Tab A501 goes AT&T 4G, $330 with contract

Acer's 10.1" Iconia Tab A501 goes AT&T 4G, $330 with contract

Summary: The 16 GB, HSPA+ A501 Honeycomb tablet shows up the iPad 3G in price and specs, but will consumers even notice?

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Rather than price its newest 10.1-inch 4G tablet like an iPad 2 a la the HTC Jetstream, AT&T is offering the 16 GB, Honeycomb-running Acer Iconia Tab A501for just $330 with a two-year contract or $480 unsubsidized, according to Engadget. (A 32 GB variant is also available from Acer but Engadget's source at AT&T doesn't believe the carrier will be offering it.)

The A501 is essentially the same as the Wi-Fi only A500 released back in April, though with a 4G radio. Unlike the similarly priced first-generation iPad 3G from AT&T ($529), the 4G Acer tablet has a larger and higher-resolution 10.1-inch TFT WXGA display with 16:10 aspect ratio and 1280 X 800, a dual-core 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor with integrated GeForce GPU, a full-size USB and HDMI port, as well as a micro USB and SDHC slot that can expand internal storage by 32 GB. You can also hook the slate up to a HDTV via HDMI to enjoy 1080p playback, or stream media between this DNLA-compliant tablet and other devices.

With a 10-point touch display and six-axis motion sensor meter control, the A501 is built for serious mobile gaming. Its press release claims it can "smoothly run premium HD arcade and online games on par with high-end game consoles." (A screenshot of Need for Speed is shown above.)

While the Acer tablet is not going to win any prizes for being slim or light at 0.52-inches thick and 1.69-pounds (the iPad 3G is slightly thinner at 0.5-inches and 1.6-pounds), it certainly has a sophisticated finish with a brushed aluminum back panel and edges that limit fingerprints to just the screen. Part of its heft has to do with the two 3260 mAh Li-polymer batteries that keep the tablet running for up to 8 hours of video playback or casual games, or 10 hours of Wi-Fi surfing, according to the press release.

Other technical specs include:

  • Sensors: GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, DLNA-support, Wi-Fi, 4G (HSPA+)
  • Display: Capacitive, multi-touchscreen, 80-degree viewing angle
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Dimensions: 10.24(w) x 6.97(d) x 0.52(h)-inches
  • Cameras: a 2-megapixel (front) for web conferencing and video recording; a 5-megapixel (rear) with flash and autofocus

AT&T will have these A501s in stores by this Sunday, September 18, so you can see for yourself whether this cheaper yet chunkier 4G Honeycomb tablet is a worthy iPad 3G challenger.

[Source: Acer press release, AT&T, Engadget]

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware, AT&T, Wi-Fi

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2 comments
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  • Gimme yer wallet

    Without knowing how much this "contract" costs, it's meaningless to say that the tablet is "cheaper." So I'll do your job for you and go over to the AT&T site to find out that a "with commitment" data plan is $35 per month, or $20 per month more than the iPad data plan. In your two-year contract period, you will pay $480 more to own a tablet that this article calls "cheaper."
    Robert Hahn
  • It is not 'like iPad 2' -- poor SoC, poor screen, lacking software ...

    .. environment. Tegra 2 almost ten times weaker in vector FP operations (no vector FPU), has three-to-five times weaker graphics, and the screen is just TN, which is really bad for tablet (even though it has 30% better details/resolution than iPad 2). Software platform is glitchy, inconsistent, tied with old version of Android Honecomb, and has very little actual tablet applications (comparing to like 100 000 for iPad 1/2).<br><br>It has to cost cheaper than $480.
    DDERSSS