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.

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