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Acer Iconia Tab A700 With HD 1080p Display Review
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Date: Oct 03, 2012
Section:Mobile
Author: Jennifer Johnson
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Introduction and Specifications

Apple upped the ante in the tablet market with its Retina display found in the third-generation iPad, which offers a resolution of 2048x1536. Since then, some Android tablet manufacturers have followed suit by increasing screen resolution and providing a better display overall. Acer's latest Iconia Tab A700 is one such tablet that aims to deliver a more vibrant display than the majority of Android-based tablets on the market today.

The Iconia Tab A700 features a 1080p Full HD Display with 1920 x 1200 resolution. Although the resolution isn't quite as high as the latest iPad's display, it's very vibrant and colorful, and the resolution is plenty high for such a small screen. In addition to a great new display, the A700 also features a long battery life that Acer claims will last for up to 10.5 hours of video playback. Of course, we'll put the A700's battery through our standard test in the coming pages to see how it really compares to others on the market.

 

In addition to focusing on a high-quality display, Acer put a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-plus-one-core processor as well as 1GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard flash storage in this tablet. The tablet also features a microSD card slot as well as an HDMI port for sharing content with other devices.

The Acer Iconia Tab A700 In Action

Acer Iconia Tab A700
Specifications & Features

Operating System
Android 4.0.4
Display
10.1-inch Full HD multitouch 1080p display (1920 x 1200 resolution)
Processor
1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad Core Mobile Processor / Super 4-Plus-1 quad core with 5th battery-saver core
Memory
1GB DDR2
Internal Storage
32GB
Wireless Connectivity
802.11b/g/n wireless
Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR
Standalone GPS and GLONASS

Camera
1MP Front-facing webcam
5MP Camera with Auto focus

Audio
Dolby Mobile 3 (upgradable to Dolby Mobile 3+)
Dual analog microphone
Stereo speakers

Ports and Expansion
microSD memory slot
Micro USB 2.0
Micro-HDMI
3.5mm Combo Jack (Headphone/Speaker)

Sensors
G-sensor, E-compass, L-sensor, Gyro-meter
Size
10.2 x 6.9 x 0.43 inches
1.47 lbs.

Battery
9800 mAh lithium polymer battery
Battery Life
up to 10.5 hours of video playback
or nearly 8 hours of web-surfing

Price
$449.99

 


Other multimedia features of the A700 include a 5MP rear-facing camera, 1MP fixed-focused front-facing camera, and Dolby Mobile 3 with 5.1-channel home theater surround sound capabilities.
 
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Design

Acer offers the A700 in both black and silver colors. Our test model is black and features a silver edging on both the left and right sides of the tablet. With the exception of the casing, the models are identical. The edges and corners of the tablet are slightly rounded, giving the tablet a nice look and feel.

Like many other 10.1-inch Android tablets, the A700 has no hardware buttons on the front. Above the multitouch 1080p display that supports a resolution of 1920 x 1200, you'll see the 1 megapixel front-facing web cam. An Iconia Tab logo resides at the top right corner of the tablet in the bezel and the Acer logo is located in the center of the bottom bezel. We should note that the display collected some fingerprints during our testing of the tablet, but they didn't seem to impact overall performance.

Viewing angles on the A700's display are very good. If you take the tablet outdoors, however, you'll find the screen is a bit difficult to read under direct sunlight though it's not significantly worse than other tablet displays. In addition, you will notice some glare when viewing the screen under direct sunlight and in other well-lit environments.

On the left edge of the A700, you'll find the power button and 3.5mm headset jack near the top edge. The right side of the A700 houses the microSD card slot which is revealed when you open the rotating cover, along with the micro HDMI port. We aren't a big fan of the door design on this tablet because the rubber stoppers that hold it in place occasionally get in the way of closing it so that it sits flush. With a little bit of wiggling though, you'll get the door back in place. The hinge can also sometimes interfere with the ease of inserting and removing a microSD card. Unless you're changing microSD card slots frequently, this should be a minor inconvenience.

On the bottom edge of the A700, you'll see speaker grills on either side. A reset button as well as a microUSB port is located in the center. The top edge of the A700 houses the volume rocker, rotation lock switch, and a microphone pinhole.

When you turn the A700 over, you'll notice the textured surface that feels a bit rubbery and a bit like smooth leather. Overall, we really liked the back cover on the A700—it's different from others we've seen, feels great in your hand, and makes the tablet feel secure in our hands. The finish also resists fingerprints. The rear-facing 5 megapixel camera is found near the top edge of the tablet in the center.
 

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User Interface

The A700 ships with Android 4.0.4. Acer has confirmed plans to update the tablet to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean sometime in October. One of the more notable tweaks Acer includes is the addition of the Acer Ring. Basically, the Acer Ring is an app shortcut and carousel bookmark add-on that lets you pull up one of four applications, search the tablet, or access various Internet bookmarks. You can customize the four apps that appear in the carousel using the Settings menu. If you're a purist who doesn't want to use the Acer Ring, you can disable it using the Settings menu.

     

When you unlock the tablet, you'll also notice a ring-like interface that provides quick and easy access to the browser, gallery, Google search, and the camera. The A700 has five customizable home screens. Out of the box, three of these five home screens are left blank, leaving you plenty of space to add shortcuts and widgets.

As far as other add-ons and software is concerned, the A700 comes with a number of preinstalled applications and links including Acer Print, Amazon Kindle, Amazon MP3, AUPEO!, EquiView, Evernote, Files, HW Solitaire, Monopoly, Netflix, Polaris Office, Real Racing 2, VirusScan, WildTangent, and more. You can disable some (but not all) of these apps using the Settings menu if you like.

     

As you might guess from its name, Acer Print lets you connect supported printers to the tablet for easy printing. The Clear.fi features on the tablet have been divided into individual Photo, Video, and Music apps. One of the included apps we really liked was the Acer Files app. This file manager provides full access to the Internal Storage found on the tablet as well as access to any microSD cards. Acer Files uses a very simple user interface which is exactly what we like to see from a file manager on a tablet.

     

The quality of images we were able to capture using the A700's 5 megapixel rear-facing camera were on par with what we'd expect. Since the tablet's camera doesn't have an LED flash, images that were taken under low-light indoor settings were particularly grainy.

   

   

   

Other images taken indoors under well-lit conditions turned out quite good. Some of the outdoor images taken with strong sunlight also showed some color variations from what we would have preferred. Again, though, images were as good as other 5 megapixel cameras we've seen on other tablets.

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Performance: CPU and Web Browsing

Next, we'll take a look at how the Acer A700 tablet compares to other tablets by running and examining a few benchmarks that are currently available in the Android Marketplace.

CPU Performance testing
Android CPU testing

Overall, the Iconia Tab A700 fared well in the Linpack multithreaded test, just missing the top five scores by a few MFLOPS.

Web Browser/JavaScript Performance testing
Android Browser Testing

Compared to other tablets we've seen, the Iconia Tab A700 didn't fare very well in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, coming in near the bottom of the chart.

In the Rightware BrowserMark test, the A700 posted a more respectable score, though the tablet was still in the lower half of all scores compared to other tablets we've seen.

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Performance: Graphics GLBenchmark

GLBenchmark is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark with a number of performance metrics incorporated within. We specifically use the Fill Texture Fetch suite to measure raw texture fill rate of a graphics core and the Egypt Off Screen test to measure 3D performance in frames per second. The Off Screen test renders workloads at 1280x720 for all devices, but off-screen, so Vsynch and screen refresh are not limiting performance.

Graphics testing
OpenGL 3D Rendering Performance

The GLBenchmark tests paint a very similar picture to what we've already seen: Although the Iconia Tab A700 posts reasonable scores, they aren't chart-toppers by any means. Keep in mind the A700 has a higher resolution screen with the same 1.3GHz Tegra 3 processor and DDR2 RAM found in previous generation models such as the Acer Iconia Tab A510. Some of the tablets that outscore the A700 in our various benchmark tests have speedier processors and faster RAM.

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Performance: Graphics and System Level

An3DBench XL is a benchmarking tool based on an Android port of the jPCT 3D engine. The app runs a total of seven tests that look at graphics processor fill rate and complex rendering workloads and scenes. We've got numbers from three of the tests in the graph below. 

Graphics Testing
3D Graphics Testing
 

The Emperor's New Clothes test is limited by V-Sync which results in similar performance across all devices. As you can see, the A700 comes in near the top, but there isn't much of a range in scores from the best to the worst. In the Flower Power test, we again see the A700's limitations since it comes in near the bottom compared to other tablets. The A700 fares much better in the Magic Island test, earning a mid-range score.

AnTuTu Android Benchmark
Subsystem level performance measurements

The Android-based AnTuTu benchmark does a nice job of measuring individual subsystem level performance for our tablet competitors here, with models for CPU, GPU, RAM and IO (or storage subsystem) performance.

In the CPU component of this test, the A700 comes in behind the Asus Transformer Prime in Performance mode but beats the same tablet when it is running in Balanced mode. Again, though, the GPU and IO scores in this test show the A700 lagging behind the competition.

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Battery Life

In an attempt to quantitatively measure the A700's battery life in a controlled benchmark environment, we ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics, Flash media and text. The page automatically refreshes every three minutes, we loop the page and also setup a screen lock utility that keeps the display from sleeping during the test.  Battery life is measured down to the minute the tablet finally shuts down.  The Wi-Fi radio is enabled in this test to simulate battery life in real-world web browsing over a wireless connection. The stock browser was used.

Battery Life Tests
Untethered Up-Time Measurements

 

For this test, we set the A700's display to 50% brightness, which is still plenty bright and easy on the eyes. The A700 lasted seven hours and 40 minutes untethered before it powered down, which places it right about in the middle of the pack.

 

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Performance Summary and Final Thoughts

If you've been envying your Apple iPad-toting friends with their high-res Retina displays, but are a die-hard Android user, the A700 presents an interesting alternative that's worth considering. In addition to its display which supports a higher resolution than we've seen on most Android tablets to date, the A700 also offers plenty of onboard storage (32GB) as well as a microSD card slot and micro HDMI connectivity.

As our performance tests have shown though, the A700's high resolution display holds back performance in a few tests, due to its more demanding fillrate and memory bandwidth requirements. During real-world testing, we were mostly pleased with the tablet's responsiveness, but there were some instances where we felt it wasn't quite as zippy as it should have been. That said, the display on the A700 is really gorgeous. To many users, the better display found on the A700 might be worth taking a small hit in performance in graphically intensive apps. But take note, it may not feel as fast as other Tegra 3-based devices with lower resolutions displays.

Although more than seven and a half hours of battery life is nothing to frown upon, the A700's battery life is still shorter than what we've seen on some other tablets. We would have liked to have seen the A700 last longer in our standard HotHardware battery test, but in all truthfulness, the A700's longevity will likely be adequate for most users. It's also important to keep in mind that different activities and uses of the tablet will affect battery life.

In terms of screen resolution, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T (1920x1200) and the latest Apple iPad (2048x1536) also offer very impressive displays. The Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T runs $499 for the 32GB model while the 32GB iPad runs $599. While the Acer Iconia Tab A700's $449.99 price is competitive compared to these tablets, the performance improvements offered by these other tablets will likely make them more compelling, especially given the small price difference between the A700 and the Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T.

All in all, we enjoyed our time with the Acer Iconia Tab A700. Although it's not a tablet that really stands out in terms of performance, it still offered a very enjoyable user experience.

 

     
  • 1920x1200 display
  • micro HDMI port
  • An upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean should be available in a month or so
  • Lackluster performance
  • Average 5 megapixel rear-facing camera

 



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