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Acer Iconia Tab A500 review

Andrew Williams




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Nice screen
  • Honeycomb OS
  • 32GB internal memory


  • Uninspiring design

Key Features

  • 10.1in PVA screen
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS
  • 32GB internal memory
  • Capacitive touchscreen
  • 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: £348.50

Android tablets come in waves. First there were the budget models, which lapped around our ankles, too often chilling us to the bone with their penny-pinching compromises. Now it's the turn of their expensive cousins, like the Acer Iconia A500 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer. At almost £500, the Iconia sits in iPad 2 territory. But can it compete?

The Acer Iconia A500 is a 10.1in Android tablet. In this most basic sense, it's very similar to the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer. This barrage of tablets welcomes the new Android Honeycomb 3.0 operating system to the market. It's the first version of the Google OS to be made specifically for tablets.

In entering the stage alongside other big-name devices, the Acer Iconia A500 risks being seen as an uninspiring also-ran. Design-wise, it doesn't do much to differentiate itself either. Its back is made of brushed metal and it's much slimmer than its Windows 7 sibling, the Iconia W500, but it's thicker and heavier than some alternatives. It weighs 756g and is 13.3mm thick. That's significantly weightier than the 680g Eee Pad Transformer and chunkier all-round than the iPad 2, which is just 8.8mm thick and 601g.

Consequently, the Iconia A500 isn't very comfortable to hold one-handed for extended periods. However, much as the iPad 2 left many a reviewer bleating about how much easier the device is to hold one-handed than its predececssor, a 10in tablet is never going to be as comfy to hold this way as an Amazon Kindle or a 7in tablet like the HTC Flyer and Archos 70. It's a compromise of the form factor, not just this specific design.

Iconia A500 8

However, the Iconia A500 isn't as snazzy-looking as some Honeycomb tablets. Metal body bits aside, the design isn’t that impressive. The handful of plastic cutaways in the body, for the left and right edges, the microSD slot and the dock port eat away at the tablet's sense of style, as does the seam that joins the back and front body plates. The issue is that the Iconia's look suggests that these elements are unfortunate necessities, by trying to make the plastic bits look as much like the brushed metal as possible. A fashion designer doesn't apologise for his clothes - this is more Primarni than Armani.

Acer Iconia Tab A500 4

With more metal on show the A500 should seem higher-end than the Eee Pad Transformer, but it doesn't. Its look is less bold than this and the iPad 2, and as such also less desirable. It's nice, in a rather pedestrian way. Much like the word "nice" itself.


June 20, 2011, 4:56 pm

ld be interested to see a review of the Iconia W500. Is there likely to be one? Or have I missed it?


June 20, 2011, 5:01 pm

Hi markc1728. We do have a review actually! If you search for W500 in our search box you should be able to find it easily enough.

John Smart

December 14, 2012, 7:02 pm

My on off switch packed up! Is this common? Very pleased with the rest of the tablet but the on/off switch going wrong??

Ross MacLean

April 5, 2013, 5:05 pm

I had my Acer Iconia A500 for 13 months and one day it wouldn't come back on. I had it looked at by a technician and he said that the diodes had blown. I then sent it to Acer to be assessed and after spending £55.15 on that, they have just sent me a bill for £274.91 to fix it. I paid that for the tablet in October 2011. Trust me avoid Acer tablets like the plague.

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