Acer Iconia Tab A510
Acer's new Android tablet, the Iconia Tab A510 ($449.99 list), doesn't give you quite enough for your money.dell inspiron 1545 dvd drive
The tablet market is insanely competitive: You have to deliver on
style, price, or apps to succeed. While the A510 (Best Deal: $449.99 at
Best Buy?) is a decent Android 4.0 tablet with the latest quad-core
processor, it's beaten by its competitors in nearly every
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If you're used to the sleek metallic edges of the latest Asus or Toshiba
tablets, the A500 will be a bit of a disappointment. At 6.9 by 10.2 by
.4 inches (HWD) and 23.5 ounceshp pavilion dv7-1240us dvd drive
it's slightly thicker and heavier than its top competitors. For
instance, the Asus Transformer TF300 ($399, 4 stars) is just a little
slimmer at .38 inches and lighter at 22.2 ounces, and the Asus
Transformer Prime ($499, 4 stars) is slimmer andhp pavilion dv7-1285dx dvd drive
But it's not the size that's the issue here. Acer uses a lot ofibm lenovo thinkpad sl410 dvd drive
plastic and not much metal in the black-and-silver case, leading to a
slightly chintzy feel. The mildly textured plastic back is practical,
but doesn't feel premium, even when compared to other plastic tablets
like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) ($249, 4 stars).
The A510's odd-looking MicroUSB jack comes with an adapter that turns ibm lenovo thinkpad t500 slim dvd drive
into a full-sized USB port. The tablet supports external USB keyboards
and storage, as long as that storage is formatted as FAT32. That's
pretty hot; it means you can play videos off an externalibm lenovo thinkpad t510 dvd drive
hard drive on this tablet. Asus and Toshiba tablets have that feature
too. There's also a built-in mic on top, a rotation lock, and dual
speakers on the bottom.
Turn on the Iconia 510 and you get a workaday 1280-by-800-pixel LCD
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which is absolutely standard on midrange 10-inch tablets. That's on par
with the latest models from Asus, Samsung, and Toshiba, although many
tablet watchers are holding out for the upcoming 1920-by-1200 models,panasonic uj-845-b
which will compete more closely with the new Apple iPad's ($499, 4.5 stars) 2048-by-1536-pixel screen.
Acer touts its 9800mAh / 36.26W battery as a curepanasonic uj-868a sata dvd drive for apple
for battery-life blues, and we got strong performance with it: 9 hours, 34 minutes of continuous video playback panasonic uj-875
Wi-Fi on and brightness turned to max. That beat out the 7 hours, 53
minutes we got on the Asus TF300 (Best Deal: $417.62 at
CircuitCity.com),sony vaio pcg-792l dvd drive
not to mention the five and a half hours the new iPad achieved.
Android and Apps
The A510 runs Android 4.0.3 with a light skin,sony vaio pcg-frv35 dvd drive
Acer's Ring UI. Take a look at our full review of Android 4.0 (4
stars), Ice Cream Sandwich, for more details on the basic OS here.
Pressing a virtual button at the bottom of the screen sony vaio vgn-t350p slim dvd drive
up five quick app shortcuts, a carousel of Web bookmarks, and a volume
control. The tablet also comes with a few custom widgets and apps. Acer
Print lets you print documents or Web pages sony vaio vgn-z520n slim dvd drive
a wide variety of Wi-Fi-enabled printers. Aupeo is a custom radio app.
McAfee does antivirus duty, Polaris Office reads Microsoft Office
documents, and clear.fi is a DLNA media server.
Benchmarks came out looking great, as they generallyacer aspire 5536g dvd drive
do on tablets with Nvidia's blazing Tegra 3 processor. Running here at
1.3GHz, the A510 scored faster than the 1.2GHz Asus Transformer Pad
TF300T and roughly on par with the original Transformer Prime acer aspire 5720z dvd drive
Deal: $499.99 at P.C. Richard & Son), which also had a 1.3GHz
But I encountered strange performance slowdowns when testing the A510.
Sometimes on-screen buttons weren't responsive; I found this both on the
built-in keyboard and in Zen Pinball. Sometimes screens took an extra
moment to render. These issues didn't occur all the time, but they
happened often enough to annoy (and to lose some pinball games).
10-inch Android tablets still have a problem with finding good apps in
Google Play. As most apps are designed for small phone screens, many
prominent apps look pretty awful on large Android tablets. The A510
offers two options to help with this problem: You can download either
Tablified Market ($1.49, 4 stars), with a list of 1,500 or so top-notch
tablet apps, or Nvidia's Tegra Zone, with a few dozen high-quality games
designed for Tegra-powered tablets. Those outlets improve the
situation, but app availability still falls far short of the Apple iPad,
which has over 200,000 third-party apps with UIs designed specifically
for tablets. The A510 connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
(albeit only on 2.4GHz, not 5GHz). It had no trouble connecting to our
WPA2-protected networks. It also supports Bluetooth 2.1. And there's a
blocked-off SIM card slot behind a door on the side, a sloppy
touch—either eliminate the slot or make it active.
Multimedia and Conclusions
The A510 has 32GB of built-in storage as well as a microSD card slot
that supports 32GB cards, hidden behind a door on the side. It plays all
the usual audio and video formats, including MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WAV,
WMV, H.264, MP4, DivX and Xvid (in AVI containers). Video files up to
1080p resolution looked sharp and clear. Oddly, though, the built-in
micro HDMI port only put out 720p resolution to our TV.
The tablet has a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1-megapixel front camera.
Indoor shots taken with the rear camera looked noisy, with a decidedly
purple cast. Not great. Low-light photos showed some blur from low
shutter speeds. Outdoors, images were sharper, but still with that
purplish color imbalance. The front camera's 1-megapixel still images
actually had better colors.
The tablet records 1080p video at 30 frames per second outdoors, but
indoors that drops to a jittery 16 frames per second. 720p videos
indoors clock in at 20 frames per second. As I know the Nvidia Tegra 3
processor can handle 1080p at 30 frames per second without breaking a
sweat, this is probably just a cut-rate camera module.
If the Iconia Tab A510 cost $50 less, it would have a different rating.
Priced at $450, this tablet sits in an uncomfortable middle ground. It
certainly has some things going for it, most notably its long battery
life and powerful speakers.
Unfortunately for the A510, you can get more capable tablets for less.
The Asus TF300T, at $399 for a similar 32GB model, gives you 95 percent
of the A510's speed, along with a better camera and slimmer form factor,
for less money. The Apple iPad 2, currently running $399, is another
prime competitor—it isn't as fast as the Iconia 510, but it has far, far
more tablet-optimized apps. I'd also keep an eye out for Toshiba's
upcoming tablet line, which we did a recent hands-on with. It promises
Tegra 3 power and Android 4.0 with USB host mode in a sleeker body.