- Strong display
- Expandable memory
- Video output
- Poor cameras
- Drab design
Review Price £449.99
Acer Iconia A700 Review - Design and Screen
IntroductionThe Acer Iconia A700 is what we might call a "full-size" tablet. With a 10.1-inch screen, its body is large enough to ensure that you won't want to carry it around with you at all times. Like the iPad, this is primarily an at-home device, although if you spend an hour sat down on the train on the way to work, it'll make a great travel buddy.
Acer Iconia A700 DesignIf you spend the whole journey standing up, the Acer Iconia A700 isn't so hot. At 665g it's roughly on-par with the weight of a full-size iPad 4, but is a little too heavy to use one-handed for extended periods of time. This is true of just about any 10-inch tablet, though.
Specific to the Acer Iconia A700, the tablet has a more studious, slightly less stylish look than some of its peers. It's down to the lines. The ends of the tablet are fairly angular plates of silvery plastic, where most tablet-makers opt for a more smooth-edged design. It doesn't ruin the ergonomics of the tablet, but leaves it with a less finger-friendly feel.
Acer has tried to make the rear of the tablet feel good on the digits, though. As a lower-cost tablet among its peers, most notably the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, its use of plastic rather than metal throughout comes as no surprise, but the back has been rubberised to avoid the cheap impression of some kinds of plastic.
Asus used the same technique when it made the Google Nexus 7, and while the effect seems less impressive here in a much more expensive tablet, it still works. Again, though, the dotted texture to the rear works in tandem with the workmanlike sides and the unavoidable "PC" connotations of the Acer logo to make the Iconia A700 rank among the less desirable big-name Android tablets.
As is common with more functional-looking tablets, physical connectivity is decent. On one of the silvery plastic egdes, there's a flap that covers the microSD memory card slot, letting you cheaply and easily expand on the 32GB of internal memory. Next to it, though, is a filled-in plastic hole where the 3G SIM slot would have been. It's another reason why this is a tablet that is practical rather than beautiful.
Up on the edge itself, rather than under the flap, is a microHDMI video output. On the bottom edge is a hybrid socket that accepts either the power adapter or a microUSB cable. The power plug uses a slightly different shape connector, but being able to jam in any old microUSB cable to transfer music and videos is a plus - many tablets use proprietary plugs. Connect the Acer Iconia A700 to a computer and its internal memory will show up as a media drive, allowing drag 'n' drop transferring of files.
Acer Iconia A700 ScreenThe Acer Iconia A700 is currently the high-end Android option in the Iconia line, and its most important flagship feature is its 10.1-inch screen. It's one of the most affordable Android tablets to use a 1,920 x 1200 pixel display.
However, unlike most high-end Android tablets, its display doesn't use IPS technology, made famous by the iPad and iPhone ranges. Acer says it uses an equivalent tech, but there are some visible differences between the screen types.
The Acer Iconia A700 screen takes on a blue hue when viewed from an angle, and this becomes very apparent when in a darkened room. This ensures the Acer Iconia A700 screen isn't quite as hot as the best, but in other respects it's excellent.
The high resolution makes text look smooth and sharp in all the right places, and colours are vivid. The screen's surface is highly reflective, mind, making it a pain to use in bright daylight, and doesn't appear to be oleophobic, causing fingerprint smudges within seconds. Brightness is respectable, but will have trouble competing with a sunny day.