Acer Iconia Tab A210 Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction

The Acer Iconia Tab A210 is a 10-inch Android tablet sold at an affordable price, but in a time of crystal clear high resolution displays and powerful silicon it is facing an uphill battle. Its biggest advantage is the surprising presence of the ever convenient full-sized USB 2.0 port. With it, you can easily hook up a keyboard (and a mouse) and make this 10 incher into a true productivity machine. Or transfer your data to a flash drive. That freedom is empowering.

On top of that versatility comes a slightly skinned version of Android with the likable Acer Ring UI and a couple of neat apps for image and video consumption. Let’s see if those are good enough reasons to justify you buying an Iconia Tab A210.

In the box:

  • Wall charger
  • MicroUSB to USB cable

Design

Holding the Acer Iconia Tab A210 in your hand for the first time is a strange experience - it feels like a deja vu with a device from the past. With its chubby 0.49-inch (12.4mm) thick body, and a whopping 1.7 pounds (777 grams) the device is bulky even for a 10-inch tablet. It seems even heavier in comparison with other modern tablets - the otherwise similar Nexus 10 for instance weighs 40% less and is noticeably thinner. We found the heavy weight of the tablet to be too excruciating to your hands, especially for long browsing and reading sessions, so take this into account.


Those are some shortcuts Acer had to take while designing an affordable tablet such as the A210. However it’s not all bad. The curved corners on the back of the device and the soft touch patterned plastic cover actually feel nice to touch and hold, grippy despite that weight.

In terms of buttons, you only have on-screen ones on the front and all physical controls are on the sides. The power button is on the left hand side along with a microUSB, a full-sized USB 2.0 port and a microSD slot hidden under a protective lid. The device uses a proprietary charger that is plugged in on the right. Finally, a volume rocker and screen rotation lock are on top.


The back is plain, there is no rear camera on the Iconia Tab A210. There is a front-facing VGA camera for video conferencing, though, and that’s a welcome addition.

Display

The 10.1-inch IPS LCD 1200 x 800-pixel screen on the Iconia Tab A210 looks paltry at best. It comes with a pixel density of 149ppi, which means that you’d easily see jagged edges around icons and pixelization in general.

The screen could be still okay if it delivered vibrant, rich colors. Sadly, colors look a bit washed out and generally dull, and viewing angles are just average, with brightness degrading when you tilt the device. The glossy panel is reflective and not all that bright which will all make it harder to use the Acer Iconia Tab A210 outdoors.



Interface and Functionality

Originally launched a couple of months ago with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, good news is that right now the tablet runs on 4.1.1 Jelly Bean with the animation smoothening effects of Project Butter. On top of the stock Android is the light and likable Acer Ring.

Acer’s changes to stock Android start from the lock screen where a swipe to the right would familiarly unlock the device, but you can also slide to the left directly into one of four predefined apps like the Browser, Gmail, Gallery app and Google Now. You can change those pre-selected apps with ones that better fit your needs of course.

Once you have unlocked the tablet, you notice a double yellow circle in the center of the system tray. Tap on it and you get to the Acer Ring, a neat touch optimized screen with your bookmarks on the right and volume controls on the left. Right in the middle, you get four app shortcuts that you can customize and a large search button in the very center.

Acer has also tweaked the pop-up taskbar adding a useful eight quick toggles on it. You can easily activate or deactivate Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth or GPS for instance. There is a battery saver mode as well, quick access to settings and screen brightness adjustments.



Processor and Memory

The device features a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 with each of the cores running at up to 1.2GHz. There is 1GB of RAM on board and that was just enough for a buttery smooth Android experience. Navigating around the device happens without a stutter, but for more demanding content like the newest games (we tried Real Racing 3), the Tegra 3 starts to show its age, so this device will not be the perfect fit for hardcore gamers.

Here is how the Tegra 3 did in standard Android benchmarking applications:

Quadrant: 4363
AnTuTu: 12 496
NenaMark 2: 56.8fps

The tablet comes with 8GB of internal storage that is expandable via microSD cards of up to 32GB.

Internet and Connectivity

The Acer Iconia Tab A210 is a Wi-Fi-only tablet that ships with the stock Android browser. In Jelly Bean, it does not support Adobe Flash for video playback. Pages on the browser load up quickly and scrolling around and pinching to zoom in and out is a fluid and enjoyable experience.

Google Play offers an abundance of browsers, and that’s one big plus. You can get Google’s Chrome browser if you prefer with its brilliant cross-device syncing or any other browser for that matter.

In terms of connectivity, you get Wi-Fi b/g/n, a GPS chip, Bluetooth 2.1 and the microUSB and full-sized USB ports we mentioned earlier.

Camera and Multimedia

Don’t look for a rear camera on the Iconia Tab A210, it’s not hidden anywhere - it’s just not on this device. The tablet only features a 2-megapixel front facing camera, good for video conferencing, but little else.

Acer has done some work in video and music playback with home-baked apps under Acer’s clear.fi media suite that sync to the Acer’s own AcerCloud service. Video and music are two of those applications, and both are light, featuring a simple and intuitive interfaces.

Videos appear in a grid with the playback time listed below them and we managed to play all sorts of formats including MKVs and DivX/Xvid encoded movies. For music, a wealth of formats is supported as well starting from the lossy ones like MP3, but also lossless ones like FLAC.

Hook up a flash dongle or a microSD card and dive right into the Files manager application to easily access your documents, music and video on the go. The presence of that full-sized USB port gives a feeling of freedom and empowerment, and those who have a huge movie or music collection will appreciate that.




Battery life

The tablet features a 3260mAh battery that seems downright humble in comparison to other 10-inch tablets that often come with a 7000mAh or larger capacity battery packs. That lesser battery translates into a shorter longevity of the device. The tablet lasts for nearly six hours of video playback.

Conclusion

The Acer Iconia Tab A210 is an affordable 10-inch tablet, carrying a price of $350. It has one key advantage that will appeal not just to geeks, but all users - a full-sized USB 2.0 port that allows you to hook up a flash drive, a keyboard or a mouse. Practical and versatile.

Still, technology moves at a very quick pace. Right now, the 16GB Nexus 10 is an alluring alternative that launched a few months ago at $400 and offers one of the best screens out there, but also a thin elegant body and double the internal storage. If you are on a tight budget, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is another viable alternative. It costs much less and offers a drastically better screen and again double the memory. The Fire HD though runs on Amazon's heavily skinned and limited version of Android.

As much as we like the USB port it is not really enough to justify for all other shortcomings of the device. It is bulky, and the screen is mediocre at best. At this point in time, sadly, we feel there are much better deals out there than the Iconia Tab A210.

Acer Iconia Tab A210 Video Review:

Video Thumbnail


Pros

  • Has a full-sized USB port

Cons

  • Too thick and heavy to hold for long
  • Display not on par with competition
  • Sub-par battery life

PhoneArena Rating:

5.0

User Rating:

9.0
2 Reviews

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