Lower-cost tablets are all the rage these days. Where most budget tablets were once borderline unusable, tabs like the Acer Iconia Tab A210 can now offer fast processors, decent-quality screens and almost all the capability of more expensive devices, all for well under £300.
It may not be desirable or all that slick, but the Acer Iconia Tab A210 does tick some of the right boxes for the tech-heads.
The Acer Iconia Tab A210 is a 10.1-inch tablet. It's still the most common size among Android tablets, and while it sits happily among its 10-inch peers, it's as much a reaction to the low-cost Google Nexus 7 as rival full-size models.
Acer's plan here is to shave off all the thrills to provide about 85 percent of what the top models offer for around 60 percent of the price. For a 16GB Acer Iconia Tab A210, you're looking at a cost of around £250. It sits half-way between the Google Nexus 7 and iPad 4.
One of the first casualties of going for an Acer tablet is style. Although the Acer Iconia Tab A210 uses a similar frame design to the higher-end models in the range, it's not particularly attractive. The textured silver back is a single piece of curved, dotted plastic, but it bulges out conspicuously and lacks grace - a bit like the lid of a budget laptop.
The Acer Iconia Tab A210 isn't slim or light, either. At 712g and 12.4mm thick, it's a chunky beast that'll give you forearms the size of thighs if you try and hold it one-handed daily.
This is a landscape orientation tablet that you're meant to hold in two hands. However, its edges aren't smoothly curved but relatively sharp on these sides. In-hand comfort is just ok, nothing more.
A lack of design panache robs the Acer Iconia Tab A210 of the desirability factor that's a pretty important part of a tablet. And although valuing function over form is a strategy we can respect, the added weight factor means it encroaches into what the tablet is actually like to use too.
There are some hardware benefits, though. The Acer Iconia Tab A210 offers above-average connectivity. All the connectors bar the power plug sit on the left edge, some out on show, others under a little plastic flap. Nakedly showing their wares are the headphone jack, microUSB socket and full-size USB. It's the USB that's a break from the norm, letting you plug in a keyboard or mouse easily. A thinner tablet simply couldn't fit one in.
Under the plastic flap on this edge there's a microSD memory card slot and a little recessed reset button. The flap isn't exactly graceful and cements the Acer Iconia Tab A210 as vice president of the tablet world's chess club, in aesthetic terms, but it helps to ensure that your hands don't rest over any of the sockets.
The Acer Iconia Tab A210 isn't a tablet most will be proud to hang out with, but there are a few thoughtful hardware tweaks like this.
There's an autorotate lock on the top edge - which is extremely useful for extreme lounging - and there are stereo speakers on the rear, rather than just the mono you might expect in a low-ish-cost tablet. And while the back doesn't look great, it is lightly textured to give a more pleasant surface for your digits to rest upon.
The Acer Iconia Tab A210 - it's not cool, it's not sleek and it's not hugely desirable, but it doesn't make any downright wrong hardware decisions either. Aside from the dated-feeling cylindrical power socket, that is - it's so 2007.