If you are looking for a low cost seven-inch tablet, then your eye may be drawn to this new offering from Acer, the Iconia One 7.
Coming in at £110 including VAT, the price certainly attracts. Unfortunately for Acer, though, Asus has recently launched a tablet at a very similar price — the £119 Asus MeMO Pad 7 (ME176CX).
On the face of it, the Acer Iconia One 7 might not seem like a bad deal at all. Headline features of a 1,280 x 800 pixel screen resolution, front and back cameras, 16GB of built in storage and microSD card slot, and a dual core Intel Z2560 processor might all seem to stack up well together.
Importantly, if you just want a tablet for a bit of web browsing and mobile email, then the processor should be up to the job. Things don't move with lightning speed, but they are far from painfully slow.
Memory, too, is OK — there's 16GB built in, of which 10.89GB is free for your use. The microSD card slot on the right edge of the chassis is there if you need to add more.
The screen is the same resolution and size as that of the Asus MeMO Pad 7 (ME176CX), and sitting the two tablets side by side they have equally good viewing angles — and both can tend to a slight fuzziness of text.
It's nothing I couldn't live with in a low-cost tablet, and I found it fine for reading websites and doing email, and fine for ebook reading. But if you want more clarity and have more money, then the £199, 1,900 x 1,200 Nexus 7 is worth looking at.
If you are a fan of location-based services, then note well that there's no GPS here. It is a strange omission, and one that many are likely to not notice until after purchase.
The operating system is Android 4.2 – way behind the current leading edge Android 4.4. It works well enough and some people won't be concerned that it is so far from the leading edge, but I'll just mention anyway that the Asus MeMO Pad 7 (ME176CX) runs on Android 4.4.
There's no complex skinning of Android here, but Acer has added a range of apps to the Android standard fare as well as access to the Acer Cloud off-device data storage service.
Added apps include Amazon’s Kindle (and the range of Amazon apps), Astro File Manager, Audible, eBay, Evernote, McAfee Security, Office Suite Pro, Tune In Radio and Zinio. All of these can be downloaded from the app store, of course, but only the Amazon apps and eBay can be removed from this tablet, so if you don't want the others, well bad luck.
There are two cameras, but both are disappointing. A one-megapixel front-facing camera doesn't sound like a disaster, but to have only a two-megapixel camera on the back is something of an insult. Predictably enough, photos are generally OK for viewing on the device itself, but I wouldn't want to take any photos that I particularly wanted to keep with this tablet.
The chassis is a bit creaky in the hands, and while the overall footprint is perfectly acceptable for a seven-inch tablet, the Acer Iconia One 7 is relatively thick at 9mm. This makes it feel a little clunky in the hands. At 320g it feels heavy, too.
Overall it is difficult to pinpoint any one element of the Acer Iconia One 7 and say that makes it a terrible tablet, though the use of Android 4.2 and the low resolution cameras are big disappointments. Taken as a whole, though, if you are on a very tight budget and yet can find another £10, I suggest you head in the direction of Asus.