Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android Tablet Review - HotHardware

Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android Tablet Review

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When it comes to the various tablets on the market today, perhaps the most obvious physical differentiator is screen size, which also greatly affects the footprint of the tablet. Currently, most manufactures offer screens that are approximately 7-inches diagonally or about 10-inches diagonally.

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Like the Motorola Xoom and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the Acer Iconia Tab A500 features a 10.1-inch screen that supports a resolution of 1280x800.To further compare the Iconia Tab A500 to the Motorola Xoom and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, let's compare the dimensions and weight of the three tablets side-by-side:

 
Acer Iconia Tab A500
Motorola Xoom
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Dimensions (inches)
10.24 x 7 x 0.52
 9.81 x 6.61 x 0.51
10.67 x 6.73 x 0.51
Weight (pounds)
1.69
 1.61
1.499

In terms of physical footprint, the bezel around the Iconia Tab A500's screen makes it a bit taller than the Xoom or Eee Pad Transformer and slightly wider than the Xoom, but the thickness of all three tablets is about the same. The Iconia Tab A500 weighs slightly more than the other two tablets.

The Iconia Tab A500's screen is vibrant and sharp. Viewing angles are excellent and we could view the screen at nearly a 90 degree angle. The screen did attract fingerprints, but it did not affect the responsiveness of the tablet.

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Click to enlarge

As far as styling is concerned, the Iconia Tab A500 features an Alpine Silver brushed metal aluminum chassis. This chassis is cool to the touch and gives the tablet a more high-end look than you'd get with a plastic or rubber finish.

In terms of ports and connectivity, the Iconia Tab A500 has a few options, including a docking port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro HDMI, 3.5mm headset jack, USB 2.0 port, and a microUSB port. Keep in mind that many tablets do not offer a full-size USB 2.0 port or a micro HDMI connection, so these are features that help differentiate the Iconia Tab A500.

With the full-size USB port, you can access media files stored on a flash drive or connect peripherals such as a keyboard. USB storage devices connected to this port must be FAT 32. It's also worth mentioning that Acer does not currently support the use of USB mice on the Iconia Tab A500. However, Acer does plan to add support for USB mice later this quarter via an over-the-air firmware update. Keep in mind that you can also expand the Iconia Tab A500's storage via the microSD memory card slot which is accessible through a slide-out door on the top of the tablet.

Update (7/8/2011):  We just got word that Acer is rolling out an update to Android 3.1. Indeed, our Iconia Tab A500 received the update a few hours after we published this review. In addition to Android 3.1, Acer says you'll get a smoother user interface experience, enhanced performance, and support for more standard apps. Other features that come with the update include a push of Adobe Flash 10.3, full support for Bluetooth and USB mice, and the ability to share 1080p video with external devices through the HDMI port.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Taking a look at the edges of the Iconia Tab A500, you'll find the docking station on bottom edge. The left edge of the tablet houses the power button, a headphone jack, and the microHDMI port. A reset button, USB 2.0 port, micro USB port, and the AC adapter jack are found on the right edge of the Iconia Tab A500. On the top edge of the tablet, you'll see a door that slides out to reveal the microSD card slot. When applicable, a SIM card slot can also be found behind this door (our test model does not have a SIM card slot). The volume rocker and a screen rotation lock switch are also located on the top edge of the tablet.

The front-facing 2 megapixel camera is located on the left edge of the bezel near the top of the device. When you flip the Iconia Tab A500 over, you'll see the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera and LED flash in the upper right corner of the tablet. Two speakers are located near the bottom corners. 

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Great review Jennifer! I read over at engadget that they are starting to roll out the 3.1 update for this tablet. Pretty crazy it has a regular and micro usb port. Those price points are kind of crazy too, I would definitely go for the 32gb version if it's only $35 more! Most 16gb/32gb tablet prices are separated by closer to $100. It looks like a real contender to the other android tablets.

I just looked at the accessories, pretty lame. They need to combine the two and make a docking station with a keyboard built in. Something like the Zaggmate one for the crapple. That is the whole appeal of the transformer for me, a keyboard docking station.......not a docking station, remote, and keyboard.

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We have a pretty limited selection of tablets in the office supply store I work at. We are supposed to start selling this tablet eventually so I can recommend it to our customers if they ask my opinion of the tablets we carry in store. Hopefully we get a display up so I can give it a test drive. Thanks for the review :)

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Pretty sweet!

There are going to be so many choices that I will put off buying a tablet too the point that I would probably never get one:P

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would like to see more of these tablets come with a full USB and micro HDMI this one does and the specs are good.Pretty sure my local office supply store may one up on a display pretty soon to check out..

To get my hands on one to check out would be fun to actually buy one at this time would be a luxury & would be able to do without .

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Love mine! Thank you Fry's Electronics...$398.00 in PDX.

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Oct. 6, 2011 After about a week of using my new Acer Iconia A500 the unit developed an issue where the battery would not charge. This was an intermitent trouble whereby at times the unit would charge the battery for a few seconds or maybe a couple of minutes before stopping the recharging process. I used multiple power adapters with the same results from each. I performed a factory reset and a hard reset on the unit but, the resets did not correct the issue.

I contacted Acer Support and sent the unit in for repair. I received the A500 back from the repair facility 8 days later still with the battery charging issue. They returned it to me without repairing or correcting the issue.

I contacted Acer Support this morning and again returned the A500 for repair.

After searching some of the Acer A500 forums, I found that other users were experiencing the same issues with their A500 tablets. If the power adapter is connected the battery status indicator indicates 'Discharging' but, the battery percentage stays the same. When the power adapter is removed, the battery percentage indicator begins to decline. When the power adapter is connected, the A500 battery does not charge.

Based on my experiences with this product and the Acer Repair Service, I would not purchase an Acer Iconia A500 again and I would not reccomend this product. Acer Service/Support has not offered to replace my defective A500.

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