Acer Iconia Tab 10 - Performance, Battery Life & Verdict

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Acer Iconia Tab 10 – Software

The Tab 10 comes with vanilla Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s not the latest version of Google’s operating system but we’re pleased that Acer hasn’t tampered with the software. It’s refreshing to see, since most manufacturers pre-load devices with their own customised “skin” for Google’s OS. Samsung has TouchWiz and HTC has Sense, for example, and we’re not fans of either interface. You’ll find the pure, stock version of Android on Google’s own smartphones and tablets, like the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9.
 
Acer has pre-installed a range of apps on the Iconia, some of which you’ll have heard of, such as Evernote, Kindle and McAfee Security. You might not be so familiar with some of the other apps, though.


 
iStoryTime, an eBook store for young children, is a family-friendly addition that lets you read or listen to a range of heavily illustrated books. Four come free with the Iconia – Madagascar, The Giant Smurf, Ice Age and Robin Hood – but you can buy loads more, most of which cost around £1.90.
 
Zinio is targeted at grown-ups, allowing you to subscribe to a wide range of magazines. Astro, on the other hand, is a productivity tool that helps you organise your files, if you’re into that. We could live without either of them, and they use up over 50MB of storage too.
 
The handiest free program you get with the Iconia is undoubtedly the Float Gadget. It lets you quickly check your calendar, use Google Maps and the calculator, and compose memos in a little box floating on the screen. It stays on display even if you fire a game or movie up though, so you have to close it when you don’t want to see it.
 

Acer Iconia Tab 10 – Performance

If you’re after a tablet that’ll let you play high-end games while downloading multiple apps in the background, the Iconia Tab 10 isn’t for you. It costs less than £200, after all. If, however, you want something that’ll let you browse the web and watch HD TV shows and movies, it’s worth considering. We came across one irritating problem, though.
 
We, entirely accidentally, discovered that it’s possible to unlock the Iconia by pressing down hard on the screen with an open hand. We have no idea why this happens, or if the problem is confined to our test sample – we’re awaiting word from Acer on this – but it’s clearly a glitch. The good news is that it’s very difficult to do this accidentally, since nobody ever really squeezes their tablet.

The 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT8127 processor running the show comes paired with 1GB of RAM. It’s a basic combination that lets you use the tablet casually, but struggles with heavy use. For example, scrolling is usually zippy and YouTube videos play smoothly, but performance becomes laggy as soon as you try to download anything at the same time.


 
We found no such issues with gameplay though, with the Iconia handling Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3 and Dead Trigger 2 well in real-life use. Performance was slick in all three cases, though it took Real Racing a torturous five minutes to initially load up.
 
It achieved a multi-core score of 1,207 in Geekbench 3, which is disappointing. In comparison, the £129 Tesco Hudl 2 scored 1,914 and the Yoga 10 HD+ hit 1,414. The Iconia could only manage 4,698 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, which is similarly poor.
 
The left side of the Iconia’s rear (in landscape mode) warmed up a little after we used it for long periods of time, especially while gaming, but it never got worryingly hot.

Related: Tablet Buyer’s Guide
 

Acer Iconia Tab 10 – Camera

Tablets don’t have the best of reputations when it comes to photography, and the Iconia’s 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing snapper don’t do anything to challenge that. The biggest win is that the primary camera features an HDR mode, which captures more detail in the brightest and darkest areas of pictures.
 
In every other respect, they’re completely average, which isn’t necessarily a criticism. Pictures are dim, blurry and washed out, but the selfie camera will let you make perfectly reasonable Skype video calls. We’d recommend whipping your smartphone or an actual camera out if you want to capture high-quality images, even to share on social media.
 

Acer Iconia Tab 10 – Battery Life

The 5,700mAh battery packed into the Iconia is okay, but nothing to write home about. With screen brightness and volume set at 40%, it took just over eight hours to drain from full to empty while playing YouTube videos. It would easily last most of the day under less strenuous use, like a spot of reading.
 
A 30-minute blast on the charger took it up to a measly 7%, which would theoretically only give you 34 minutes of YouTube joy. Poor.
 

Should I buy the Acer Iconia Tab 10?

The nicest thing we can say about the Iconia Tab 10 is that it’s adequate. Unfortunately, that just about sums it up. It doesn’t excel in any areas.

While it’s marketed as an entertainment device, its display isn’t sharp enough and the speakers are average and far too easy to cover up accidentally. Performance and battery life are also unremarkable, and the 16:10 aspect ratio isn’t ideal because of the screen’s size.
 
The best elements are that it’s relatively cheap and good looking, and it runs stock Android. However, the Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ beats it in almost every respect, and now costs less than the Iconia. What’s more, the Yoga also features a far superior Full HD screen, a built-in kickstand, class-leading battery life and a speedier chipset combined with 2GB of RAM.
 
The Iconia is far too plain to warrant a recommendation. Unless it drops in price, you’ll be better off turning to Lenovo’s 10-incher.

SEE ALSO: Tablet Buyer’s Guide

Verdict

There isn’t a lot to hate about the Acer Iconia Tab 10, but its main rival is superior in almost every respect.

Score in detail

  • Performance 6
  • Value 7
  • Design 7
  • Software & Apps 7
  • Sound Quality 6
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Features 6
  • Battery Life 7
  • Build Quality 6
  • Heat & Noise 7
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