Acer Iconia A1 hands-on

Acer Iconia A1 hands-on

Cheap Android tablets seem to be all the rage nowadays, as we’ve witnessed just the past recent holiday season. From the mighty Google Nexus 7, to other rival offerings such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and NOOK TABLET, manufacturers are ready to give the total package to consumers – while still being easy on the pockets. Well, Acer is here to serve us with its latest budget oriented Android tablet in the Acer Iconia A1.


Sporting a 7.9-inch 1,024 x 768 IPS display, the resolution isn’t anything magnificent, but it actually matches the iPad mini’s display in size and resolution. Needless to say, the numbers don’t do justice to get people craving to check it out – and quickly looking at it kind of shows that. In fact, we notice that the display has a tendency to show some distortion at various viewing angles. And on top of that, its brightness output seems a bit weak in the indoor situation we checked it out in, which makes us believe that it’ll be more difficult to view under sunlight. Despite its ho-hum resolution, there really isn’t much of an issue looking at it from a normal distance away – albeit, upon closer inspection, we can tell it’s not as sharp looking as some other higher resolution displays.


When you’re trying to reach a certain price point, especially one that’s under the $200 mark, design and construction tends to be affected the most – in the bad sort of way. Indeed, it lacks the impeccable design quality of the iPad mini, but at least the construction feels firm. Donning a plastic casing, it does contribute to easy holding for long periods of time with our hands, but it’s a really wide tablet to grasp. Essentially, we have to stretch our hand just to be able to grasp it. Frankly, the Acer Iconia A1’s design isn’t its most polarizing highlight, but like we mentioned already, you can only look good so much with a limited budget.


Under the hood, the Iconia A1 is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz MediaTek processor with 1GB of RAM – specs that hardly get any notice in this day and age. Regardless of its almost pitiful hardware, it’ll surprise many to know that performance isn’t affected negatively. In fact, in our quick look at the tablet, it’s able to handle most benign tasks without much fluff – such as navigating across the homescreen and opening apps. Well, it could be somehow related to the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean experience it’s running, but nonetheless, we’re content with what we see so far. Unlike other custom Android experiences, Acer’s take isn’t too obtrusive, as its customizations are mostly limited to widgets.


Obviously, this isn’t trying to compete with the big boys in the Android tablet market, but rather, it’s aiming to give some of those budget tablets a good run for their money. Out of everything, we have to give some props to Acer for putting a $170 price tag on the 8GB model – while the 16GB version will go for a decent $200. However, we’re curious to know how soon Acer will launch this inexpensive tablet, seeing that we might soon see an army of refreshed tablets from the competition.

Related phones

Iconia A1
  • Display 7.9" 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor MediaTek, Quad-core, 1200 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 4960 mAh



1. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

Why this article seems so negative ?

2. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I was wondering the same, almost pitiful hardware? For that price and compared to the crappy chipsets other OEMs are putting in similar priced tablets is quite good. In fact is better than the chip in the Apple iPad Mini in a device that costs half the price, so what else do you expect? A15s in a tablet under $200?

4. SGSatlantis

Posts: 227; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

My thoughts exactly! I mean what did you expect? It's a budget device with comparable specs to other mid to high end devices. So if this guy wrote the iPad mini review it would go like this: "ho-hum resolution, pitiful hardware, too wide, too slippery, but with a good design" and if you include the price it would get 3/10. This review is total BS.

12. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Because its not samsung ?? lets hear the praise they will make about the galaxy tab 3 with the epic and legendary 1024x600 screen.

3. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

I may consider it, but it has to be at a store locally. I am not jumping through hoops to try and find one.

5. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

This or HP Slate for my GF. I'll still hold out for the Nexus 7 refresh.

6. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

That is what I am waiting for.

7. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

actually that mediatek chips are not really impressive at all! i mean its like the power of a dual core snapdragon (even better than mediatek's) why not throw a snapdragon s4 there? here in the philippines there's a cheap phone with an s4 chip just for 6,999 philippine pesos! so its pointless to have this kind of chip even though they can have a way better and faster chip that can be offered cheaply as well!

8. tadaa

Posts: 267; Member since: Apr 18, 2013

those 6999 phones use an s4 play chip, which are only comparable to dual core mediatek chips. plus, i think the mediatek soc they placed here are a9's so the performance should come close to tegra 3 soc's.

9. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

6999 peso so that's around $170, yup that's got to be an S4 play. S4 play is an A5 45nm chip and comes with a crappy adreno 203 GPU. It won't hold a candle against the MT6589 which is probably the one powering this device (A7, 28nm, PowerVRSGX 544).

10. MultiYouTroll

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 19, 2013

But i have always wondered why they haven't made a quad core version of the snapdragon s3 processor with adreno 220 gpu for a budget device

11. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Price is good but its just too tick...11mm or more ??

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