Iconia A1: a first look

24 May

I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to buy a tablet you need to know what you really want to get out of it. The Iconia A1 fits somewhere between the budget tablet and the iPad mini so if you’re looking for a value for money device, with great Android features, then this should tick the box.

Iconia A1_front_leftBigger than the Nexus 7 yet lighter, gives the Iconia a cheap plasticky feel that takes getting used to. Once you get used to the weight, you then start to appreciate the lightness and the damage it won’t be doing to your wrist.

The Iconia A1 passes the ‘palm test’ if you have fair sized hands and if not, at least it’s light enough to hold and fits nicely in your purse. No, I don’t own a purse and my jackets don’t have pockets large enough so it starts to look like there’s a gender divide happening here. It’s either that or Acer might want men to go out and get purses – who knows?

So what’s inside?

The A1 runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2 using a quad core 1.2GHz processor so you get a pretty fast mobile device that can run multiple apps without a judder. The screen resolution of 1024 x 768 is not bad for a tablet of this price which puts it slightly above the Kindle Fire league but nowhere near the Nexus 10. It has 1Gb RAM and the model I’m holding has 16Gb storage, but just in case I need more, there’s an AcerCloud app which gives free extra storage and file syncing. similar to Google Drive.

 

The connectivity is pretty good with Bluetooth and Wifi as well as a microSD slot which can increase the storage capacity by another 32Gb. Add to that a micro HDMI port and a PC sync connector and the Iconia A1 starts to look like a pretty good package.

Iconia A1 side view

I trialled the WiFi version (not a great believer in 3G for such devices) which weighs in 20grams lighter than the 3G model. The usual Android gestures work fine and the A1 has a capacitive touchscreen with 10 point touch for greater accuracy.  Another cool Acer feature is the Touch WakeApp which allows you to configure the tablet to wake from sleep mode and launch desired apps with certain gestures like moving your thumbs apart to launch maps.

Why would you want one?

The Acer Iconia A1 is light, portable and as it gives you the ability to add users, I find it works well as a brilliant family tablet. The Nokia 920 has a kids corner, the Iconia A1 has multiple users… you’d think Apple might have picked up on this already.

The price is not bad for a tablet this size (should be in the region of 169 euros at launch) which is comparable to the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7.

Setting up your email is a cinch whether it’s an Exchange account or gmail (as Android will pressure you into getting one so you can use the Google Store app), I was able to get mine and the missus’ various email and Facebook accounts up and running inside 10 minutes; it’s never that painless with other mobile devices.

You’ll find most apps you need in Google Store, I added a few essentials to mine like SkyGo (didn’t seem to want to work), BBC iPlayer, Audible and Kindle. If you’re ever stuck for ideas in the car with under 10s, I recommend the Audible app and the Dr Seuss back catalog.

The Acer Iconia A1 should be in UK shops this Friday(31 May), go get yours.

Acer Iconia A1 photo forward

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