Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android Tablet Review

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User Interface

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 runs on Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb. This OS was designed with larger screened tablets in mind. In large part, the Iconia Tab A500 uses the base Honeycomb without very many additional tweaks or add-ons, and that's ok by us. Acer does include a custom interface with the tablet, and it adds some useful functions, such as grouping similar applications. If you take a look at the application screen, you'll see icons which house additional programs. These icons are labeled eReading, Games, Social Jogger (which integrates Facebook and other social networks), and Multimedia. While browsing the app listing, you'll also see hollow icons that remind you there are additional apps on the next page

     

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Like many other manufacturers, Acer ships the Iconia Tab A500 with a few extra apps. On the tablet, you'll find clear.fi, Need for Speed: SHIFT, Lets Golf, and others. A trial version of Hero of Sparta is also installed. The tablet also comes with NVIDIA Tegra Zone, which provides information and links to various games and other apps that take advantage of the Iconia Tab A500's dual core Tegra 2 mobile processor.

Thanks to the tablet's high-res16:10 widescreen display and HDMI port, the Iconia Tab A500 can be used for enjoying HD entertainment. Currently, you can output 720p HD video to external devices via the HDMI port. In the second quarter, Acer plans to push out an over-the-air update that will provide 1080p video to external devices through the HDMI port. For enhanced sound quality, Acer includes Dolby Mobile technology which is said to provide more realistic sound with extended bass response and enhanced high frequencies. Although the two rear speakers sound great, you won't get the full experience from the Dolby Mobile technology unless you plug in a pair of headphones. When headphones are connected, you'll enjoy surround sound effects. 

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.

     

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As you may have noticed from the application listing, the Iconia Tab A500 comes with Acer clear.fi, which is a cross-platform solution that lets you share content with DLNA compliant devices. With clear.fi, you can access digital photos, videos, music, and more wirelessly.

Although the Acer Iconia Tab A500 does support Adobe Flash, it does not come pre-installed. Rather, you'll need to visit the Android Market to download and install it. Acer plans to push Flash to tablets via an over the air update in the second quarter.

Update (7/8/2011):  See above note, this update is now available.

     

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