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Cracking Open the Acer Iconia Tab (A500)

Bill Detwiler cracks open the Acer Iconia Tab. Inside this Android tablet, he found hardware from NVidia, Elpida, SanDisk, and Broadcom.
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The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is one of several 10-inch Android tablets priced below the Apple iPad. It has a stylish exterior, dual-core processor, and comes in 16GB and 32GB versions. Follow along as I crack open the Iconia Tab A500 for a look at the hardware inside.

For more analysis of the Iconia Tab's hardware, check out my post, "Acer Iconia Tab teardown: Easy-to-service, 3G-ready".

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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As of this writing, the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is available in 16GB ($449.99) and 32GB ($499.99) versions.

The current versions only support Wi-Fi connectivity, but there is speculation that Acer will release a 3G version on AT&T (the A501) in mid-2011.

As with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, there's already a spot on the A500's motherboard for a 3G card.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The Acer Iconia Tab A500 has a dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 1GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1280x800), a 2 MP front camera and 5 MP rear camera. The Iconia Tab comes with Android 3 Honeycomb installed.

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Along with the Acer Iconia Tab device, the box contains a USB cable, power adapter, and product documentation.

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The Acer Iconia Tab A500 weighs 1.69 lbs. and measures 10.24" (W) x 7.0" (H) x 0.52" (D). It weighs slightly less than the Motorola XOOM, but more than the Acer Eee Pad Transformer, Apple iPad 2, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

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Along the bottom edge of the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is the device's docking port.

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The Acer Iconia Tab's volume button, screen rotation lock switch, and microSD card slot are located along the top edge.

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Along the Acer Iconia Tab's right side are the DC-in jack, Micro USB, USB port, and reset button.

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The Micro HDMI power, headphone jack, and power button are located along the Acer Iconia Tab's left side.

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On the back of the Acer Iconia Tab, you'll find the the 5MP camera and LED flash.

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The small cover along the Acer Iconia Tab's top edge hides the microSD card slot and second slot that's cover with a thin piece of gray plastic. This second slot will likely be used for the upcoming 3G version's SIM card.

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The Acer Iconia Tab has no external case screws. Luckily, the back cover is very easy to remove. Using a thin metal blade, I started near the docking port and popped loose the cover's plastic catches.

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Once the Acer Iconia Tab's cover was loose, I switched to a plastic spudger to avoid damaging the case. Working my way around the case, I popped loose all the plastic tabs in a few minutes.

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When the Acer Iconia Tab A500 was released, only Wi-Fi versions were available. Acer has indicated that it will launch a 3G or 4G version of the Iconia Tab (A501) in mid 2011. There's already a spot for the 3G or 4G card inside the A500.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Upon removing the Acer Iconia Tab's back cover, I noticed the left speaker was damaged. I did not cause the damage when removing the back cover, so it must have come from the factory this way. I'm not sure how, or if the damage will affect the speaker's sound quality.

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The Acer Iconia Tab's 3260 mAh, 24Wh Li-Polymer battery (BAT100) is held in place with standard Phillips screws.

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Before removing the Acer Iconia Tab's motherboard, I detached all the cables connecting it to other parts of the tablet.

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The Acer Iconia Tab was straightforward to open and disassemble. Provided you can get replacements parts, the average tech or tinkerer should have little trouble servicing this tablet.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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