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The Acer Iconia A100 7″ Beast

The reviews posted on the interwebs about the the Acer Iconia A100, 7″ tablet have been for the most part mixed.  Well we’ll tell you that the Acer Iconia A100 has a 7″ tablet just right, especially right now.

Last year, when Samsung introduced the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, it was in a 7 inch form factor. Where it fell short was that it released with Froyo which of course is a phone operating system.  It has since been upgraded to Gingerbread, again a phone operating system. While we have the argument that a phone operating system gives the tablet access to hundreds of thousands more apps than there are for Honeycomb, you do lose the functionality that comes with Honeycomb.  The A-100 gets all this right.

More after the break
Coming in at just .92 pounds, it’s a little heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but what you get in exchange for the weight is a tablet with a unique curvature that feels very good in the hand.  The extra weight means it feels solid in the hand. The curvature means it’s easier to hold and less likely to drop.

One of the things that makes the A100 stand out is ports and if you’ve been a TDG reader long than you know that more ports= more productivity.  The A-100 has the following, “ports”

– a microHDMI port to mirror the A100 on an HDMI equipped television with the proper cable
– a microUSB port for transfering data to and from your PC or Mac to the tablet. Acer has bundled in an Acer Sync app to exchange data. If you’re using a Mac with the Acer A-100 you need to attach the cable, start Acer Sync than the Android Transfer protocol app.
– A covered microSD slot for up to a 32gb micro SD card. It appears that there is a sim slot under the same cover.

These few things make the A100 just as functional as the A500 tablet, without the larger form factor. At 7 inches it’s pocketable in a suit coat or sport coat, back pants pocket or other large pocket. It’s small enough to fit in a laptop bag, briefcase or purse.

The A100 is powered by a 1ghz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.  It has 1gb of RAM on board which makes computing a breeze.  It has a 5 mega pixel camera on the back complete with an LED flash and the ability to take 720p HD video.  It also has a 2 megapixel camera on the front for video chatting or hanging out using wifi.

The overall user experience is fantastic. It’s what you expect from Honeycomb in a smaller form factor. The 1ghz dual core processor made multi-tasking and swiping through home screens a  breeze.

Although Acer didn’t do their own custom UI they did include a couple of “book shelves” for e-books, games, and apps to make it easier to locate and quickly launch things from easy places.  There is also a social jogger app that aggregates your typical social networks.  The fact that they didn’t do a full blown UI lets you customize Honeycomb the way it works for you.

Our experience

We used  the A100 tablet exclusively last week while covering CTIA.  The 1530mah battery didnt seem to have a baring on what we were doing although we did use it plugged into the wall quite a bit.  I used a microSD card in an adapter in my DSLR camera and changed microSD cards quickly, loading the card into the A100 to upload photos to lightbox and word press.

On the fly while standing up during press conferences, the A100 coupled with Flex T9 made filing and even live blogging a cinch especially in a standing room only keynote on Tuesday morning last week.

I did watch two movies on battery only one evening and that ran the battery down pretty bad.  Engadget and PC World seemed to get 4.5 hours out of the battery and we would concur with that. The one thing we did notice was that a 2 hour charge picked it up pretty well.



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