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Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 Review - Software, Gaming and Performance Review


Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 – Software

The Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 runs Android 6.0, and has quite a few Acer software customisations. However, on the surface it looks just like standard Android, which is a good thing.

You get plain homescreens and the “white page” apps menu seen on vanilla Android gadgets.

The main Acer alteration is an extra custom homescreen to the left of the default one, called Left Page. It’s a feed that spits out news stories and Facebook/Twitter updates; it’s similar to the bonus HTC homescreen, BlinkFeed.

Related: Best Android Tablets 2016

Left Page

It’s a neat idea, but its implementation isn’t perfect here. Left Page is a little sluggish; it crashed several times during testing. It will need to overcome such issues if it’s to be used every day.

The rest of the Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40’s custom software comes in the form of extra apps. Some are simple utilities, but there are a couple of apps for kids too. There’s a digital colouring book and Kid Center, a video app with numerous clips – like a pre-school YouTube. Like the design of the A3-A40, these kids’ apps are unusual and may put some off. The bigger issue is that they can’t be deleted; the idea that these are “system apps” is somewhat comical.

This isn’t a bloat-free tablet. However, I do appreciate that it looks and feels much more like “normal” Android than older Acer devices. And with 32GB storage, space isn’t in short supply.

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Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 – Specs, Benchmarks and Performance

The Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40’s basic navigation feels reasonably responsive, apart from the slightly sluggish Left Page homescreen. Acer has stretched the CPU, however. The tablet has a fairly weak MediaTek MT8163 processor, the kind of chipset that we’d normally see in a 720p device, not a 1080p one (and this tablet is 1200p).

Sure enough, this results in issues with high-end games. Asphalt 8’s frame rate is fairly poor; you’ll need to turn down the graphics to “low” to get it running acceptably. It’s a similar story with Dead Trigger 2 – it’s choppy even at the default “medium” setting, and it’s rare to see this game run poorly.

This is proof that the hardware requirements of 1080p/1200p devices are of the next level up, which would be an eight-core processor. The Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40’s CPU has four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz.

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Most casual games run well enough, but the Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 isn’t a particularly good gaming device, which is no great surprise when you consider that 1,920 x 1,200 is the absolute maximum resolution supported by the chipset.

General performance when switching between the homescreens and apps menu is fine, but app loads are a little slow. The tablet doesn’t feel annoyingly laggy, but you can tell that this isn’t a super-powerful device. Performance is simply acceptable, nothing more.

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Looking a little deeper, the MT8163 uses the dual-core version of the Mali-T720 GPU. This isn’t a high-end GPU, and while it’s used in a number of phones, it’s almost always in models from obscure brands such as Bluboo, Mlais and Cubot.

The GPU would do the job in a 1,280 x 800 tablet, but we’re seeing its limits tested here. The Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A40 also uses DDR3 rather than DDR4, but this is very unlikely to be a performance bottleneck when there’s a reasonable 2GB of RAM on board.

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