Acer ICONIA TAB A500 Review
Much like the two previous Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets we’ve checked out, the Acer ICONIA TAB A500 runs very well thanks to its 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 250 Cortex A9 processor with 1GB of RAM. In landscape, it runs very smooth even when things like live wallpapers are activated, but unfortunately, there are some instances of slowdown and lag in portrait – though, it can be related to something with Honeycomb itself. Nevertheless, we’re able to execute the most basic of operations without much fluff and follows in performance with other Honeycomb tablets – namely the G-Slate and XOOM.
Since it packs on the stock Android 3.0 Honeycomb experience, it doesn’t necessarily deviate from what we’ve seen already in other tablets when it comes down to personalization. However, Acer packages along some additional widgets that supplement the existing set available with the platform – these include things like the Acer clock, Agenda, Digital Clock, MusicA, SocialJogger, and Weather widgets. For a detailed and comprehensive look at Honeycomb’s rich set of features, you can read more about it in our in-depth Honeycomb walkthrough article.
Launching specific applications can be executed directly within the app panel, but as an alternative, the tablet offers a separate interface that categorizes them so it’s organized to your preference. You can get access to it by clicking either the eReading, Games, Multimedia, Social icons in the app panel, and once you’ve done that, you’ll be transported to its separate categorized interface. It doesn’t actually add any new functionality aside from its organization aspect, but it’s still nonetheless just another way to launch apps.
Naturally, you’ll find all the useful set of Google apps on board with the ICONIA TAB A500, like Google Latitude, Google Maps, Google Talk, and YouTube, but there are some additional ones preloaded as well. Some of the noteworthy ones include things like LumiRead, which is another app that allows you to purchase eBooks and read them. Moreover, you have the Tegra Zone app, which is a centralized hub where you can download some of the games that showcase the GPU’s prowess. Sadly though, the only full game installed with the tablet is Need For Speed Shift, while others like Heroes of Sparta and Lets Golf, require you to download them upon launching the respective apps.
Organizer & Messaging:
Being the usual Honeycomb flavored tablet, there is nothing absolutely different in terms of experience with the Acer ICOINA TAB A500’s Calculator, Calendar, and Contacts apps. It’s nice that things are synced with your Google account, like your calendar and address book, but it’s even better because Honeycomb presents them to you in a manner that’s optimized to take advantage of the tablet medium. Specifically, most of the organization apps utilize the common theme of relying on a paneled arrangement that makes for a practical presentation.
When it comes to inputting text, you have the stock Honeycomb keyboard that’s more than usable in landscape thanks to its responsiveness and large sized buttons. However, we can’t say the same about the portrait option mainly because of the wide amount of area needed to be covered by our thumbs – thus requiring a large amount of travel and work. Yet, we find it even more odd to find an XT9 Text Input keyboard as an alternative to the stock one. Regretfully though, it seems to be nothing more than the stock keyboard used by most Android smartphones – while providing predictive options as you begin to type.
With an abundant amount of real estate, the Gmail experience shines brightly with its exceptional performance by offering us a productive experience. Walking on the same path as its other Honeycomb brothers and sisters, you’ll find an almost desktop like experience with the tablet since it offers things like threaded view, the ability to label items, and a two-panel layout that presents emails in their full fidelity. Alternatively, setting up other email accounts is a breeze because it mainly requires you to provide your email address and password for automatic setup. However, if it’s not one of the popular email services out there, you’ll probably be requested to dish up additional information, like server addresses and ports, to correctly get things set up.
1. JaimeCarlos (Posts: 25; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)
I prefer the Asus Eeep Pad Transformer much more...
+ More elegant
+ Better camera
+ Better 720p video record
+ Better Price
6. GeorgeT (unregistered)
But no usb onboard!
9. ernstk (unregistered)
@JaimeCarlos Iconia has hdmi and is plenty elegant. And better price and keyboard on the Transformer are mutually exclusive, as the keyboard is extra and bundled it would cost far more. Iconia is getting a Bluetooth keyboard as well, but this is neither here nor there as it's a tablet, not a net book. I'm sure the Transformer is a great tablet as well, but I've yet to see one in store. It's clear though that when you wrote this comment you haven't had your hands on either of these.
3. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
So this begs the question then. What do you choose if you have the choice of WiFi only versions of the Xoom, Tab 10.1, or this?
Despite the measly 16GB of internal storage, I'm thinking this is the best choice out of the group because it has a USB port AND microSD expansion.
4. urdaddi (Posts: 18; Member since: 27 Jun 2010)
Looking at this Acer Tab right next to the Xoom at Best Buy....I could not see a difference.....and I tested them pretty good to the point I was irritating the sales people by being there for so long. In my opinion, the Xoom has 2 problems off the bat : 1) no current working SD slot & 2) price.
Additionally, I got a Droid X on it's launch date and soon found out that Motorala was slow to get updates out and just absolutely horrible with communicating with it's customers.
So I opted for the Acer Tab. I have not regretted it yet. I am finding it to be a very good deal for what I paid for it. You can more or less comensate for a smaller internal memory with the ability to use USB drives and SD cards.
5. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3042; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Tablets are still extremely new, a lot of patches need to be made before I will consider spending more money than my freaking rent is.
7. tnfsmith (unregistered)
I would refer you take this tablet
8. imchillyb (unregistered)
I picked up this tablet from St***es and I've had it for a couple of days now. I love this chunky beast. I consistently get 8+ hours of heavy use out of it. That is with auto brightness on, The live wallpaper Shadow Galaxy running, WiFi chugging away, and a mountain of games and media streaming apps thrown at it. The USB drive was nice for me as that's how we backup our data at work. I have a couple year old Mi*****ft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000 that paired with it flawlessly. I found it a pleasure to have the full screen tablet experience while retaining a mostly full size keyboard. It was well worth the $450 pricetag imo. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. I'll answer all I can.
10. Howlingwolfuk (unregistered)
Is the American version different too the uk one as i just bought one of these and the internal storage is 32g not 16g as quoted here
11. Bigdog4au (unregistered)
E-bay has these for 379. with free shipping now
12. ÜI (unregistered)
hello to all the people who have bought this product...I just like to ask you if the 3g version of this tablet has SMS functionality?
14. J (unregistered)
I have one of these and definately worth it for the price
15. Iconia A500 Battery Charging I (unregistered)
Oct. 6, 2011 After about a week of using my new Acer Iconia A500 the unit developed an issue where the battery would not charge. This was an intermitent trouble whereby at times the unit would charge the battery for a few seconds or maybe a couple of minutes before stopping the recharging process. I used multiple power adapters with the same results from each. I performed a factory reset and a hard reset on the unit but, the resets did not correct the issue.
I contacted Acer Support and sent the unit in for repair. I received the A500 back from the repair facility 8 days later still with the battery charging issue. They returned it to me without repairing or correcting the issue.
I contacted Acer Support this morning and again returned the A500 for repair.
After searching some of the Acer A500 forums, I found that other users were experiencing the same issues with their A500 tablets. If the power adapter is connected the battery status indicator indicates 'Discharging' but, the battery percentage stays the same. When the power adapter is removed, the battery percentage indicator begins to decline. When the power adapter is connected, the A500 battery does not charge.
Based on my experiences with this product and the Acer Repair Service, I would not purchase an Acer Iconia A500 again and I would not reccomend this product. Acer Service/Support has not offered to replace my defective A500.
16. Carlos B (unregistered)
I bought this one a few months ago from Best Buy. To decide which one I would use, I compared this one to the ASUS Transformer and a Toshiba also available at that time at the store, and finally I decided to buy this one with the corresponding leather sleeve and screen protector. I don't regret my decision! This thing's really cool! It has a very neat look, it has a very good performance and it's practical. I know it can be bulky or heavier compared to other tablets, but to tell you the truth I don't even feel it when I'm carrying it in my backpack everywhere I go. I also have to tell that the MIcro SD and USB port options are great additions since they allow me to share data fast and easy, without worrying about additional cables, or wireless connections, and all that stuff. I just had a problem connecting it to my Nokia N8 to use my data services on the tablet, because Nokia uses Symbian^3 OS and it cannot create real wifi hotspots (even using Joiku). However, I got my Nokia stolen a few days ago and since then I bought a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, powered with Android. I didn't have to do anything, just activate the hotspot option on my cell phone and now my tablet is working great anywhere. I really recommend it. In fact I would also say the aluminum back cover gives it a bit disctintion and style, I like it.