Acer has recently released their newest device in the Android tablet game and that is the Acer Iconia A100. Acer was one of the first to market with a Honeycomb tablet in the A500 (see our review) and this time around they are first again. This is not only the first 7" Honeycomb tablet, but the A100 is also the first device to ship with Android 3.2 Honeycomb on board stock. We've been enjoying this little portable tablet for the past week or so and today we have a few more details and pictures for you all to enjoy.
While the A100 isn't the thinnest or the prettiest device, it wasn't really designed for that most likely. It's a great product in a small form factor while keeping performance high and price low. Thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1 Ghz processor under the hood the performance is plenty fast and stable. First off here is a quick hands-on video with the tab for a better idea of the hardware.
As for the hardware we have a similar design and overall build quality to the big brother in the Iconia A500. While the A500 had a aluminum body that almost felt too thin and cheap the A100 has a nice sturdy feeling to the design but it is wrapped in plastic rather than aluminum. It does feel better in the hands so that is a good thing. The A100 features a 7" 1024x600 resolution display as well as the all famous NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 512MB of ram and this flavor comes with 8GB of internal storage. While it's not as thin as a Galaxy Tab 10.1 it is closer to the Xoom and comes in just under a half an inch thick.
For an idea on thickness here is the A100 and A500 sitting together
We also have a 5MP rear camera with LED flash, a 2MP front for video chat, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and even a SIM slot for GSM 3G connectivity. It also features a micro SD slot for up to 32GB of expanded storage for those in need.
On the top of the device we have the power and wake/standby button with a nice LED light to show when powered on, as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack and then some gibberish and FCC warning labels.
On the bottom of the device we have a dedicated charging port, stereo speakers, a micro HDMI port, micro USB, and a 30 pin dock connector for accessories and docks. The top has the volume rocker and portrait/landscape screen orientation lock.
Before we move on my only real complaint regarding hardware was the device could be a little thinner and then the viewing angles. The screen is nice and vibrant and the 7" form is really nice to carry around and take in the car but the viewing angles were quite poor.
Software and Performance
As far as software goes, we have Android 3.2 Honeycomb here, the latest iteration of Google's tablet OS and personally I feel 3.2 has finally made Honeycomb perform how it should. The update for 3.2 on the Xoom also made it just that much more smooth and added some overall stability. The Acer Iconia A100 running 3.2 Honeycomb has been a very smooth, fluent, and good experience and 3.2 really makes a big difference if you ask me.
The A100 did have a few apps pre-loaded for cloud services and things of that sort. Documents to Go, Media Server, AUPEO! a radio app that’ll allow you to utilize your FM radio embedded in the device with ease and a few other fancy apps. Other than those you have the standard Google apps and programs we've come to expect from an Android device. Gaming on the A100 was smooth and performs well thanks to the dual-core Tegra 2 CPU. The only THD specific game was Solitare SE but the Tegra Zone app offers plenty of Tegra HD specific.
Performance was decent and as always we've ran a few benchmarks for you to enjoy and compare to anything you may have at home. For a full rundown of all the benchmarks check out our Acer A100 Benchmark overview.
Vellamo Web Benchmark
and last but not least, Smartbench
Camera and Battery Life
Before I complain about the battery here are a few pictures of the beastly camera lens on the rear, and how well it performs.
The camera is 5MP and takes pretty great photos as well as 720p HD video recording. I didn't test the front facing camera as we've all seen how those look for now until we get some better cameras in the front.
Battery... Where do I even start? Acer was nice enough to throw in a 1530 mAh battery with the Acer Iconia A100 Tab. Yes I said a 1530 mAh battery, compare that with 4000 mAh on the 7" Galaxy tab and around 7000 on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 you've got to wonder why they went with such a small battery. It wasn't to keep the design thin and lightweight that is for sure. My Nexus One and HTC Sensation and most smartphones have around 1500-1700 mAh batteries as of late.
Even though the battery was small it did seem to perform fairly decent, so I guess I can't complain too much. The 7" screen size as well as the highly optimized and efficient Android 3.2 might have helped out but it seems to last about 8-10 hours from what I'm seeing. The Acer spec sheet does mention 5 hours of web browsing but that is with continuous use. A nice 3200 mAh battery like the original A500 had would have really gave this amazing battery life and truly made it a portable device because as is now, it's portability is slightly hindered by the battery life.
The Acer Icona A100 does have a lot to offer those looking to purchase it. Being the latest and greatest OS, a small and portable 7" form factor, a great price and a super powerful dual-core processor what else do you need? If you aren't looking for a larger 10" tablet and don't want last-gen hardware in the Galaxy Tab 7" this is the ideal purchase. While not everyone wants the portability of a 7" tablet those that do will not be disappointed with the A100.
Being smaller than any other tablet on the market while not sacrificing performance this dual-core Honeycomb tablet is just what any traveler needs. It may not be the prettiest but for what you are getting, and in the size you are getting it, I'm sure most would be happy to carry this bad boy around and play a few occasional games. The Honeycomb experience is nice on the 7" factor but maybe I'm just now used to it on a larger screen since I've used so many 10" tablets in the past. I kept finding myself reaching for my Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead of the A100. If I was headed out of town or on a camping trip this little Iconia A100 would be my first choice though that is for sure.
Make sure to click on all the photos below to see them in their full size glory to get a better view.