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.

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