The Bottom Line
May 1 2012 - Acer's Iconia Tab A100 was one of the first really affordable 7-inch tablets when it was released some time ago. Since then, prices have dropped dramatically and new less expensive options were released. Thanks to the recent release of the Android 4.0 upgrade, the A100 has new life in it. It is one of the better performing 7-inch tablets on the market but it sacrifices a lot of running time for this performance and its small size. This overall makes the tablet a much more of a niche tablet choice for those wanting a compact Ice Cream Sandwich based device the is priced between the low and high ends.
- Android 4.0 Update Improves Stability And Smoothness
- Performance Similar To Large 10-inch Tablets
- Phyiscal Home Button
- Below Average Battery Life For 7-inch Tablet
- Display Could Be Better
- Price Competition Makes It Less Of A Value Then When It Was Released
- 1GHz Tegra 2 (Cortex-A9) Dual Core Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 8GB Storage
- 7-inch WSVGA (1024x600) Multitouch Display
- 2 Megapixel Front Camera, 5 Megapixel Rear Camera
- NVIDIA Tegra 2 Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- micro-USB, micro-HDMI, microSD, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 7.7" x 4.6" x .5" @ .9 lbs.
- Android 3.2 (Android 4.0 Upgradable)
Review - Acer Iconia Tab A100 7-inch
May 1 2012 - The Acer Iconia Tab was originally released in the Fall of 2011 but it has a major advantage now compared to many other 7-inch Android Tablets because it has the Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0 update available for it. This provides the tablet with a much smoother experience than the previous Honeycomb or Android 3.2 versions. In addition to providing a smoother experience it also seems to provide a much more stable application environment.
Style wise, the Iconia Tab A100 is essentially a scaled down version of the Iconia Tab A500. There are a few cosmetic differences between the two. There is less trim visible on the front of the A100 and there is a physical home button which is not found on the A500. The rear of the tablet uses plastic rather than metal or rubberized textures found in more expensive tablets but it is functional. The rear camera is also centered on the top in portrait mode rather than on one edge as in the A500. Its overall size is very similar to that of the Amazon Kindle Fire with a half inch thickness and weight of .9 pounds.
The base processor is the same NVIDIA Tegra 2 that is found in the majority of the first generation of tablets. It is a standard 1GHz dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor that offers a good amount of performance while being very efficient. This means the actual performance is near identical to just about every 10-inch tablet that uses this same setup but better than that of the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus which uses a Cortex A8 processor instead. One big difference here though is that the storage is only available with an 8GB configuration that is half the amount found in a typical tablet. This means it can hold fewer applications and media files than many other tablets but it is on par with both the low cost Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire.
The main reason for its compact size is the 7-inch screen on the system. With the smaller size, it does run a lower resolution of 1024x600 compared to the more typical 1280x800 found on most of the 10-inch tablets. This means it does not support true 720p high definition video playback and web pages will be a bit smaller in terms of what is visible on the page. Viewing angles are decent in the horizontal plane but vertical angles did cause some significant color shift. Brightness was decent but not quite as high as some other tablets. It is very functional indoors but does have some issues when used in bright outdoor conditions with lots of glare.
Since this is a smaller 7-inch tablet, it is no surprise that it features a smaller battery than the prevalent 10-inch models. At just 11.3WHr is is less than half the capacity as the 10-inch version and actually lower than other 7-inch tablets. In video playback testing, this results in just over four and a half hours of running time. This puts it several hours less than the Kindle Fire and roughly an hour less than the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. This is probably one of the more disappointing aspects of the tablet as it probably won't last a whole day with even moderate usage.
Originally priced at $350, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 can now typical be found for between $280 to $330. This makes it one of the most affordable options for those looking at a tablet that is running Android 4.0. It is certainly more affordable than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. The downside is that the tablet is in the same size segment as the Kindle Fire which sells for $200. While it doesn't offer the same level of performance, the pricing of the Iconia Tab A100 will still turn off many buyers who aren't as concerned with the OS or the performance.