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Acer Iconia A1 review

Andrew Williams

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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Very little bloatware
  • Good features and performance for price

Cons

  • 4:3 aspect screen looks larger than 16.9
  • Some apps don't like the 4:3 screen
  • Struggles with most intensive games
  • Screen only so-so

Key Features

  • Quad-core 1.2GHz CPU
  • Android OS
  • Memory card slot
  • 7.9-inch IPS screen
  • 3G version available
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: £149.99

What is the Acer Iconia A1?

The Acer Iconia A1 is an Android tablet that wants to offer a cut-price alternative to the iPad mini, and a larger-screen alternative to the Nexus 7. It has a 7.9-inch screen, quad-core processor, expandable memory and even a video output – all for £150.

Yes, it may suffer from most of the niggles we see in other top budget tablets, but this is an impressive effort that deserves attention if you love the iPad mini’s size but not its price. And it’s much better than Acer’s other budget tablets.

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Acer Iconia A1 – Video Review

Want to see the Acer Iconia A1 for yourself? Check out our video review below.

Acer Iconia A1 – Design and Build

Acer has a history of producing well-priced laptops and tablets that offer good value in the spec-per-pound equation, but not always impressive build. However, the Acer Iconia A1 tries pretty hard to up Acer’s game.

There’s nothing fancy about the Iconia A1’s construction. It has a hard white plastic back and silver plastic sides, but feels solid in a manner that can stand up to the Google Nexus 7. There are no worrying creaks and it doesn’t feel as though the thing might fall apart any minute.

It feels better-made than the Iconia B1 tablet, which we got to grips with earlier this year.

The Acer Iconia A1 is, however, a good deal chunkier and heavier than the iPad mini – which it emulates to an extent. It is 10.5mm thick and 400g in weight.

That extra thickness is no problem at all, but the weight makes it that bit less comfortable to use one-handed than either a Nexus 7 or iPad mini. Maybe it’s down to our weedy forearms, but we did find it tiring after a while – two-handed is best.

What is just as important as weight in the Acer Iconia A1, though, is the aspect ratio. With a 4:3 aspect screen, the A1 isn’t as elongated – relatively speaking – as other Android tablets, which generally have widescreen displays.

This shape of screen is the perfect fit for a tablet this size, seeming to offer a much larger screen than a 7-inch widescreen tablet without a dramatic loss of portability. Apple was smart with its design of the 7.9-inch, 4:3 aspect iPad mini, in other words.

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Acer Iconia A1 – Connectivity

Although it’s hard not to compare the Iconia A1 with the iPad mini given they’re aiming at the same design goal, other aspects of the tablet’s hardware are 100 per cent Acer.

Look at its edges and you’ll see design follows function. On the right edge there’s a microSD memory card slot and a microHDMI video output. These, and the pinhole mic that sits between them, are clearly labelled in style-less, guile-less fashion.

The Acer Iconia A1’s intentions are in the right place, but it won’t be winning any awards for its looks.

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These connections do make the tablet much more flexible – the 16GB of internal memory is enough for a healthy bundle of app installs, but won’t go far if you start dumping video onto the tablet.

Another big win for the Acer Iconia A1 is its inclusion of GPS. Download an app with offline maps and you can use it as a GPS system. NFC is left out, and there’s currently no 3G version available, but one may be released later this year.

George Dantzidis

May 4, 2013, 10:33 am

Can't wait till I get my hands on it.

prettynormalperson

May 4, 2013, 10:23 pm

So Apple release a smaller iPad following the success of the Nexus 7, despite saying they never would and they are an inspiration because one of the many many different tablets is the same size.

Total nonsense and just another attempt to shoehorn Apple into every article.

andyvan

May 4, 2013, 10:31 pm

Really? It's the same size, and aspect ratio (4:3), as an iPad mini and it's the only Android tablet I know of to match it in this way. If that's not reasonable grounds to compare and contrast, I don't know what is. The only person with an agenda here is you.

Michael Kehm

May 7, 2013, 6:36 pm

1,024 x 768 is less than the Nexus 7, but with a bigger screen... there are higher 4:3 resolutions...

prettynormalperson

May 7, 2013, 7:18 pm

The "design inspiration of the moment" because one of the many many available Android tablets has the same screen size and ratio.

Gary Wood

May 7, 2013, 10:28 pm

*cough* Archos *cough*

prettynormalperson

May 8, 2013, 3:04 pm

Are you referring to the Archos 80 G9 tablet that came out months before iPad mini and had an 8", 4:3, 1024x768 screen?

TR reviewed it themselves I see, of course the review points out how its just like an iPad because of the ratio. I see a pattern emerging. I wonder if the iPad mini review mentions how Apple is using Archos for inspiration. http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

TR you should learn to take feedback and to leave Apple out of non Apple reviews.

andyvan

May 8, 2013, 4:33 pm

Fair enough, you've found one, but I don't seriously believe Acer was sitting there going "let's make a tablet just like the Archos!".

I appreciate that Apple isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's not reasonable, or sensible, to write about any tablet without reference to an iPad, just as it would make no sense to write about an iPhone without mentioning the numerous Android (and other) alternatives.

prettynormalperson

May 9, 2013, 10:49 pm

You can mention that it shares similarities in size and ratio to the iPad mini without fawning over Apple. That was my original point and that is what myself and many other people are fed up with.

Viktor

June 23, 2013, 7:52 pm

stupid review the battery in the Acer Iconia A1 is 4960 mAh....

MidianNightbreed

June 27, 2013, 1:53 pm

So would the Lenovo Ideatab A2109 be faster than this, even though it has 1GB less RAM (the Tegra 3 processor picking up the slack)?

Dave Ash

October 20, 2013, 5:04 pm

All these reviewers are biased to game playing, talking in milliseconds and clouding ones judgement due to new tablets on the market.. The unit feels big in the hand although far better viewing than any 7" with nice contrast and detail. Internet speed is as fast as the Asus Memo pad HD7, settings (wifi, gps etc) are also better accessed. The camera is not as good as the Asus Memo pad although I use a camera for photos and thats where the card slot is a plus. In my opinion you need to take these reviews with a pinch of salt and test yourself. Finally the new Nexus loses my vote as every retailer has the unit on demo so you cant test.

Radek

December 24, 2014, 8:56 pm

good value for the price!

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