Acer Iconia Tab A500 hands-on

Acer Iconia Tab A500 hands-on
Sometimes good things come from unexpected locations, and that's precisely the Acer Iconia Tab A500. Acer is one of the largest computer makers in the world, but we were still surprised to see a tablet offering from it, when Verizon announced its LTE lineup in December.

Now, after we handled the Acer Iconia Tab A500 here at the MWC Expo, we have to say we are starting to understand why. First off, it is one of the most stylish tablets we've seen. In a sea of glossy, smudge-prone black plastic tablets, Acer's high-end tablet has an aluminum casing, with tastefully engraved logo on the back.

The back also hosts the 5MP camera with LED flash, which is capable of 1080p Full HD video recording, since the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is powered by the 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset. The 1GB RAM and 16 or 32GB internal memory plus microSD card slot finish up the rather 2011 spec sheet. The tabet doesn't skimp on the front-facing cam either - we found a full 2MP shooter there.

It is rather slim at 0.51" (13mm), and the metal chassis doesn't add to the weight - 25.75 oz (730 g) is about the norm for a 10" tablet. The resolution is also up with the best out there - 800 x 1280 pixels, and the screen is bright, with very good viewing angles. Looking around the sides we noticed that this thing is loaded - stereo speakers and Dolby Mobile support, microUSB port, HDMI-out, and something we don't see very often - a USBHost port, for hooking up a mouse or a keyboard directly to the tablet. There is some kind of a dock connector on the bottom, so expect more accessories to come for the Acer Iconia Tab A500.

The unit we handled was running Android 2.2 Froyo with some skinning going on, so we will save our judgement on the interface for the final version coming in April, which will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Acer claims 10 hours of Web browsing and 8 hours if you are watching YouTube via Wi-Fi (there will be Wi-Fi only version), while for watching HD video the 3260mAh battery will ensure you get at least 5 hours of battery life. Acer's media sharing system will be preloaded on the tablet for streaming multimedia across your home network.

We came away impressed with the build quality and the spec sheet on the Acer Iconia Tab A500, and when we add the stylish design, plus the fact that it should appear in an LTE reincarnation on Verizon, there will be a lot more to say about it.

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