I may not be big on tablets, but I do like things that keep me preoccupied, informed, and entertained. The Acer Iconia Tab A500 does just that. Measuring at 260 x 177 x 13.3 mm and weighing at 730g, this machine—with its 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 TFT LCD screen—sports an incredibly sleek brushed aluminum design that has very little frills.
The power button, headphone jack and a mini HDMI port are on the left, while the charging micro USB and USB port are on right. The power button glows white when the tablet is on and orange when charging with the display off. At the top you’ll find the volume rocker and orientation lock and a small flap that protects a microSD slot while a docking connector is on the bottom. The 5-megapixel camera and impressive speakers are located at the back and a smaller 2-megapixel front-facing camera on the front.
Now if you’re not all too familiar with tablets, you may find the A500 a bit on the heavy side. And for someone with really small hands, I didn’t feel all that secure holding it with one hand while the other poked and prodded lest I want to throw Php 21,900 down the drain. And for its seemingly sturdy build, there were obvious creaks which just made you want to be even more careful man-handling it.
The Acer A500 is powered by Android Honeycomb and has a dual-core Nvdia Tegra 1Ghz processor which makes the tablet relatively fast especially when you want to surf the net or just go from one app to the next as my overzealous fingers did. Even my 4-year old had an easy time with it and enjoyed playing Angry Birds since the screen was larger than my mobile phone’s and the colors were much more vivid. Software included LumiRead, an e-book reader; SocialJogger, which is a Twitter and Facebook status update browse; NemoPlayer, a photo, video and music navigator; Clear.Fi multimedia browser; and Photo Browser 3D, which allows you to flip through digital scrapbooks of your camera images. Game Zone links to the included versions of the games Need for Speed: Shift and Let’s Golf. Whatever it is you’re doing, be mindful. The screen can get a little dirty with all the fingerprints and smudges so it’s good to have one of those display cleaner cloths handy.
What I personally liked about the A500 is its battery life. I’m not a heavy user generally but the tablet lasted a whole weekend without needing to make a run for the charger (which I deliberately left in the office). I guess it can go about 7 hours for the average user.
Display: 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 TFT LCD
OS: Android Honeycomb, 3.1
Processor: 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core processor, Tegra 2 chipset
Dimensions: 260mm x 177mm x
• Sleek design
• Impressive sound and screen
• Battery life
• A bit on the heavy side
• Slight creaks and smudges easily
It may take a strong arm to wield this tablet but for its price, you get considerably more for your money.
Buy Meter: 8.2
[This review originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]