Acer ICONIA TAB A500 Review
Sticking to it with the stock Honeycomb camera interface, there’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Specifically, there’s one large dial on the right side of the interface that allows your thumb to quickly navigate between the various settings of the camera. For a tablet, there should be more than enough appealing shooting modes to satisfy most users out there, but it doesn’t quite offer as many manuals modes as we’d like. Regardless of that, we can get up to an 8.0x digital zoom level by pressing on the “+” button. Moreover, there’s an on-screen toggle to switch from camera to video mode, while another one perched close-by will switch it to the front facing camera.
Although it sizes up evenly against the competition with its 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, we’re far from being impressed with the tablet’s photo quality, partly because outdoor images have a light amount of detail, muddy appearance, and drab looking color production. Conversely, indoor images have some graininess to them, with fine detail blatantly lacking to sufficiently consider them as being passable. In low lighting conditions though, the LED flash manages to illuminate the shots, but it tends to make them look over-exposed. Yeah, you can shoot photos with this tablet, but are you willing to whip it out knowing that its production is less than desirable than most other things?
Horrifically, we’re more than shocked by the sheer ugliness of the tablet’s so-called 720p video recording. In fact, it’s almost hard to believe that some devices out there have the guts to mention that they shoot in high-definition – especially this one! Granted that it shoots at the smooth rate of 29 frames per second, that’s probably the only thing going for it, but it doesn’t take away from the super muddy looks of its video capturing results. Furthermore, its audio recording is almost appalling with its muffled tones. Honestly, you just might cry from watching any of its 720p videos just because it’s downright abysmal.
Acer ICONIA TAB A500 Sample Video:
Browsing through content with the Gallery app is indeed nice, but there is an alternative experience with apps like Photo Browser 3D and nemoPlayer. As a matter of fact, the Photo Browser 3D app has a book like appearance, while flipping through photos is accomplished by placing your thumbs on the sides of the display while tilting the tablet. With the nemoPlayer’s photo gallery, it organizes photos by month, but aside from that, there isn’t much different with its operation and functionality.
Of course, we openly adore the eye-catching look of Honeycomb’s stock music player, but there’s another one offered by the nemoPlayer app. Getting into its music player interface, it’s pretty much straightforward with its presentation – like displaying the album cover, on-screen controls, and track information. Fortunately, the Acer ICONIA TAB A500 boasts a Dolby Mobile mode, which is accessed through the Android settings menu. With it activated, the audio emitted by its speakers is pretty good and pleasant to the ear, but lacks some bass to prominently make it stand out.
Whether you’re going to watch high-definition videos with the stock player or using the one offered with the nemoPlayer, the performance either way is fantastic. Loading up a video encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution, it plays it very smoothly with no evidence of any slowdown or lag. Adding to the fact that it has a sizable display, which of course produces some good visuals, it’s the perfect concoction for all your video watching requirements.
With 16GB of internal storage, it should be sufficient for most people, but if you’re big into shooting high-definition videos, it might be inadequate. Luckily though, there is a functional microSD card slot, unlike the Motorola XOOM, which allows you to supplement its capacity.
Internet and Connectivity:
In order to get that desktop like web browsing experience, the very first thing that’s required to do is to click the “Link to Adobe Flash” icon in the app panel. Once installed, the overall web browsing experience is fittingly good thanks to its usual set of features like smooth kinetic scrolling, responsive pinch gestures, and double tap for automatic resizing. Additionally, it doesn’t particularly degrade in performance when Flash content is present. However, we experienced just an abundant amount of freezes, lock ups, and force closes that just might hamper some people who are constantly web browsing. Still, we’d suspect that future updates would bring some stability to it.
Due to its affordable price tag of $449.99, the Acer ICONIA TAB A500 is only a Wi-Fi only tablet, rather than being cellular connected like its counterparts in the Motorola XOOM and T-Mobile G-Slate. Just like most things nowadays, you’ll find things like GPS for your location based services and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR to get other wireless devices to connect with it.
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: 849; 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: 2962; 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.