With the Motorola XOOM, I made my opinion known that I believe 10-inch tablets to be too big. Reading emails or moving your eyes around a web page is one thing – but for playing a game or watching a movie, you need to move the screen further away than you could comfortably hold the tablet.
Acer does have its smaller, 7-inch, A100 tablet coming at the start of September though. If you’re only ever going to lay on the sofa looking up film actors on IMDb or Tweeting about the X-Factor, the smaller screen (and lower weight) should steer you towards the A100.
The A500 offers a good battery life, but requires a separate power supply to charge. While it has a micro-USB socket for PC-only connectivity (a really annoying situation for Mac users that I hope is rectified with a future update), you can’t charge it this way. It means packing another charger when travelling, which is inconvenient. Charging is only necessary after around 10 hours of usage, albeit with the brightness turned down low. For maximum enjoyment, expect this to be almost halved when you turn the brightness up to the max.
It’s biggest problem isn’t the screen brightness, but its weight. It’s a price to pay for a very solid metal construction. However, its big plus is the integrated USB socket. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will have a USB adapter option, but means carrying around another lead. Acer has really struck gold with this simple addition, giving another reason for the undecided to consider buying a tablet.
All that needs to happen now is for Google to give the hardware the software support it needs, meaning the move to Android 4 can’t come soon enough.
The Acer ICONIA Tab A500 is a heavy beast, which means you’ll probably find yourself using it when seated most of the time. With the latest version of Honeycomb, there are a number of improvements to improve the user experience, but it can still seem like quite a change from the Android OS you’re more likely used to. It still suffers from some inconsistencies when running a mix of apps designed for Android 2.x and 3.x, which won’t be fixed until Ice Cream Sandwich (V4) comes at the end of the year. The performance is excellent, and battery life is good too, but the even more impressive feature is the USB port that allows the easy hook-up of flash drives, keyboards and mice. It means you could consider this as a device you could really be productive on.
Ratings (Out of 5)
[wpgalleryimage title=”Editors-Choice-4Star” float=right]PERFORMANCE: 4