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  • BishopZA - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    A fine review, but you failed to mention the biggest advantage the Iconia A500 holds over other Honeycomb tablets: An Integrated USB Port and Micro-SD card slot. Reply
  • wsandman - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I agree with you! The USB port and Micro SD card capability more the balance the scale for this device. The gripes about workmanship were not even apparent to me when I bought my A500. I believe that at $449 the A500 is very competitive with similar devices on the market when you balance ALL attributes. Also, once again an article that wanders from the topic of reviewing the worthiness of the device and ventures into a rant against the family of devices the unit falls under. In short, I like my A500 and have no regrets about its purchase. Reply
  • cknobman - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I completely understand your wanting to defend the Acer as you purchased it but a a potential buyer of a table (as I dont own one yet) I feel the reviewer did a great job and pointed out exactly what is wrong with this tablet.

    I passed on purchasing this device for the very reasons pointed out in this article and I had made my mind up of this a few weeks ago after playing with one first hand in a Best Buy store.

    The low overall build quality coupled with a mediocre screen, average performance SOC, and immaturity of the Android platform kept be from buying this especially at the $449 price point.

    I agree with the review at a $379 price point which is where I might bite into the table experience.

    Until more powerful hardware comes out and Android matures a little more I would never consider spending $400+ on a tablet especially when I can get so much more capabilities from a similar powered laptop.

    My 4.3' EVO smartphone fills the gap of latpop-tablet without me having to spend extra money.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Just a heads up, the screen is better than you give it credit for. By the numbers, it's brilliant, and even without advanced screen technologies, it looks decent in day-to-day use. Maybe not as good as the iPad, but still good. Reply
  • peterfares - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    You think the screen on the Acer is good? It looks like a crap PenTile display, though I don't think it even is. It had that fuzzy look that PenTile screens have. Reply
  • Rhitick - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    The screen on the Acer is excellent. I have one in the store, along with a Playbook, iPad 1/2, and a Viewpad (we rent tablets to people looking to try them). I am absolutely in love with the Iconia. The pics don't do it justice. We will be getting the Transformer in soon and I can't wait to try them back to back, but the USB port and MicroSD nail it for me. Reply
  • mdshullaw - Friday, August 19, 2011 - link

    I am a video technician of over 40 years now, and run my own business. I can tell you without any doubt the display on the A500 is superb. The contrast is the best I have seen on a tablet, and the brightness can blind you, so what is the point of having more brightness than you can use. This is why the brightness comparison of these devices is pointless and not an indication of the screens quality. The designers of the supporting hardware set limits to the brightness range for each brand and model. Having messed around with all the tablets extensively, I ended up buying the Acer A500., With an excellent display, partially metal case, full size USB, a fast processor and excellent graphics, it was an easy choice to make. Reply
  • micksh - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Most tablets have microSD slot except Galaxy Tab and LG Optimus.
    Galaxy Tab has USB OTG with $20 adapter. Eee Pad has it on keyboard and Eee Pad surely has microSD.
    Motorola Xoom has USB host. It may not be enabled in US yet on Xoom but it's there in Europe, as well as microSD support.
    Reply
  • Pokey-O - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    BishopZA - I completely agree. I bought the A500 and the eeTransformer, expecting to sell/return one.
    I expected to love the Transformer, it was the one I was excited about (and I did like it, ended up keeping it for the family), but I've found myself using the A500 constantly, the key difference? the USB port. I can plug my thumb drive in, I can charge my phone off one power point (when travelling). The Transformer has the USB and the micro-SD, but it's on the dock, not the tablet, which is really surprisingly frustrating, I don't want to HAVE to have the dock with me at all times... otherwise it's a notebook!

    Incidentally, Just a few other points I'd note from the above article:
    - Jarred/Vivek I agree the build quality is marginally worse than the Asus, but (and it's a little thing) the rounded edges of the A500 are more comfortable to hold than the eeTransformer's sharper ones
    - and with regard to tablets generally, they're mobile devices, they're not good for typing on a table, but when you're sitting on a bus/plane/taxi there's nothing easier to type on that the tablets, setting up a net/notebook is troublesome.
    - lastly on the typing, one thing i like about both the Asus and the Acer is that the narrower screen means you can hold it like you would hold (or would have held, back in the day) a blackberry and type with your thumbs are at really quite fast speeds. I've not owned an ipad, but when I've borrowed them I've found them a little too wide to type in this way comfortably.

    As someone who commutes I wouldn't be without my A500 now...
    Reply
  • jjj - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Can you please stop saying "plain-Jane LCD panel",there is no such thing and you sound like Engadget . Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Fair point, I'll stop saying that. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Monday, June 27, 2011 - link

    I was walking by Staples today and saw lots of banners advertising tablets Motorola Xoom, Blackberry Playbook, and Acer Iconia 500 among them). I couldn't help but stop in for a hands-on test. At first glance, the Iconia looked nice, but in the hand the Xoom sitting right next to it felt like a much more premium device. The Iconia was priced at $450. The Xoom at $600. So I guess that's what 1/3 higher price buys you. The Iconia was less sleek and had flex to it that nearby Xoom didn't show any signs of.

    My main impression is that these 10" tablets are much larger than I'd like them to be. The 7" playbook felt like a better size. If they could have kept the 7" screen size on the Playbook, but shrunk the huge bezel by 75%, it would have been portable enough for day-to-day usage as an internet portal and as an ereader. And if they then dropped the price down to about $300 (netbook prices), I might even be tempted to buy one.

    For now, they hold limited appeal (for me personally) due to large size and high prices relative to what you get in terms of performance and functionality. Maybe the next generation will get there.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Monday, June 27, 2011 - link

    Looking at my post, I can see why the Nook Color is doing so well. It's priced right and still feels like a fairly premium device despite that low price. Reply
  • MrMilli - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    quote: "The GeForce ULP used in Tegra 2 packs the same number of shaders (eight) as the old GeForce 8100, but they’re running at 300MHz (compared to 1200MHz on the 8100); that means it has about 25% of the horsepower of the old 8100 IGP, ..."

    Let's not forget that the Geforce ULP is a Geforce 6000 generation GPU. That means 4 pixel and 4 vertex shaders. I would say that it doesn't even have 15% of the horsepower of the old 8100 IGP.
    Reply
  • radium69 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    QUOTE:
    "What I really need for tablets to be useful is a killer app. I don’t carry around a clipboard ever, so they can’t fill that role. If I need to type an email or do any real work, a keyboard is generally a requirement. For everything that a tablet can do, a decent smartphone is similar and it can fit in your pocket. So on the one hand, I love having a larger 1280x800 display that I can actually use to browse the web, but on the other hand I just can fit something like that into my current lifestyle. The most use I got out of the A500, outside of testing, was on Sundays when I took it to church. I was able to replace several bulky items (scriptures and lesson manual) with a single device that easily fits in a briefcase, and it was easier to use than a notebook. I could still do the same thing on a smartphone or iPod Touch, but reading books/manuals on the iPod isn’t very easy on the old eyes. I would assume that students could benefit from a tablet in a similar manner, provided they can get all of their books and other materials in digital format. Carrying a <2 lbs. tablet around campus in place of three heavy textbooks sounds like a great idea, but I’m not sure about note taking and I always had a soft spot for scribbling in the margins—plus I know a lot of engineering courses have open book exams, and I doubt they’d allow a tablet to qualify as a “book”."

    This is what I think it's saying:
    A tablet doesn't excel in anything except portability. It might be usefull for students but not more.

    I think, you have covered it all. A tablet is just a "Tablet" might be fun for gimmicky sales and might bring laptop prices down. But they never can compare to a netbook or a decent notebook. And with the grow of smartphones all around I think we are looking at better battery life in our phones. So basically, all ground is covered with a net/notebook or phone.

    It all adds up to the equation...
    Productivity on a tablet is close to 0% anyway.
    I hope they be gone soon and focus more on phone progress and laptop progress.
    Reply
  • FrederickL - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link



    Yes, to a considerable extent they still are. However the author has mentioned the upcoming developments in hardware and I believe that the signs are that those developments are accelerating. In a year to eighteen months we are likely to be seeing a whole new generation of *much* more powerful tablets (both 7 and 10 inch form-factor) with much longer battery-life. If the rumours are to be believed we may even begin to see Win8 devices as early as Q4 2012. Combine that with a charging/extra ports docking station and a full song with choruses fully functional os that functions the same as on any work-station or laptop (*if* MS actually succeed in implementing what they say they are aiming for) then, and IMHO only then, we will have devices that will have a similar effect on the laptop market that the laptop has had on the stationary pc market. I imagine a 7 inch form-factor with a docking station in my tv-bench. When I put it in the dock it boots the conventional GUI to the TV and I can interact with it by means of mouse/keyboard from the comfort of my armchair. When I take it from the dock it switches automatically to the touch UI and I slip it into the inside pocket of my jacket knowing that I have something to read on the bus. At work it goes into a second dock etc. If I am travelling I take a small media keyboard with my tab if I know that I have a lot of writing/data entry to do. Such a device would replace my living room pc, my laptop and my Kindle. Now *that* would be a productive device!
    Reply
  • oliwek - Monday, July 04, 2011 - link

    "And with the grow of smartphones all around I think we are looking at better battery life in our phones"
    really? come on, android phones with heavy use do not last a full day without charging. ASUS Transformer tablet with dock on the contrary stays ON for 16 hours (9 hours for the tablet alone).
    Reply
  • darkhawk1980 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I came to most of the same conclusions myself, before I bought my Asus Transformer.

    The Iconia, while it has a few nice features (ie screen is one of the better LCD's, built in USB and microSD), it's not enough to make it a worthwhile buy while a tablet like the Transformer exists. At $350, it's a great buy. At $400, it's maybe worth it if you like the included USB. At $450, it's over priced and not worth it at all.

    Lastly, concerning the 'usefulness' of tablets, it really depends. I don't want to lug around even a 2 lb netbook to work and back (I carpool about 35 to 40 minutes 1 way to work), and my company doesn't allow personal computers in the building (tablets are not defined as computers where I work, as stupid as it sounds). That being said, a tablet works very well for me. I also get ALOT more use of it at home now while watching TV, and even taking photos and videos of my son with it. It is bulky and clunky for photos/videos, but I make do and I enjoy it very much. While productivity isn't the main reason for my purchase, I can see where this would have it's uses. I think the biggest problem is the lack of a good annotating application (similar to Iannotate for iOS) on Android. If one did exist, it would really benefit Android as a whole in the schooling market.
    Reply
  • haplo602 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I think Jarred nailed it :-) The tablet is a portable document reader, nothing more. Basicaly I can find a single use for it. When I travel and don't want to carry a laptop. These are usualy short and light trips. Use for web, email, ebook, movies and simple games.

    Paired with a stupid mobile (like my SE C510) for tethered connectivity.
    Reply
  • Belard - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Same as before... man, you guys are sometimes too 'techie".

    Not a creation device, but a playback device. Yes, my iPad is weak compared to my dual-core ThinkPad or my QuadCore Desktop with a 24" screen. But try relaxing in bed or the sofa with a notebook or desktop computer. Be cozy with those devices... not going to happen.

    How about boot up time? These tablets are instant on... vs. 1-2 minutes for a typical notebook or desktop. (I put my notebook in sleep mode half the time, restart time is still about 6~10 seconds).

    Try reading an ebook from your notebook to you kid(s)... especially while the cuddle next to you.

    Theres a reason we have desktops and notebooks... and a tablet is no different. Its designed to function for its form-factor. High-end gaming, I'm not really seeing it... gotta have REAL buttons and twisting-tilting your screen for a steering wheel sucks. Steer buttons on the side of the screen would be better. There is a REASON a $120~180 Nintendo DS or PSP make good game platforms, but not good e-readers or browsers.

    Why do we have more than 2-3 times of glasses and cups? Why have a saucer when a plate will do? Anyone with a knife-block with 6~20 types of cutting tools?

    - - - -
    Productivity on a tablet can vary, depending on your needs. I've only bought my first notebook 3 years ago because I had a need for a portable computer, but for the most part - its first year was very light usage.

    In about a 14 months, Apple has sold 25 million ipads (10 million iPad2 in 2 months)... they are not going anywhere.

    Funny thou, in the movie 2001, the astronauts in Discovery are using a tablet that is as thin as the iPad2 (if not thinner) and about the same size. Not bad for a movie from 1968... then in the movie 2010, they used an AppleII as a notebook... that is HUGE. :)
    Reply
  • theyard - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Agree...but even Acer can't seem to figure that out. Saw this post on their mktg genius http://diglr.tumblr.com/ Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Agreed - Tablets are, for the most part, a luxury item. You buy them to quick browse the web, check email etc, while sitting on the couch or in bed. Exactly the things I'm doings with my phone, but with a much bigger screen. I was holding off buying one until iPad2 came out, but it looks like iPad3 is close enough to wait for - this is a luxury item for me - I can wait. Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Exactly.

    A common misconception regarding Android is that you need to constantly kill tasks running in the background.

    I think it was actually pointed out here in a review that the underlying linux kernel manages memory and tasks on it's own and does not require the OS to do it itself. But consumers and reviewers alike often think that they have to kill background tasks as if they are running in full and eating up all of their RAM.
    Reply
  • ViLB - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Great comment and you beat me to the punch. Its annoying to no end to read people complain that there isn't a dedicated task killer on android when they don't understand how Android works. Reading that in a Anandtech review is a bit of a letdown. Reply
  • ViLB - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I test drove the A500 and didn't like it because of the build quality for many of the reasons stated here. I disagree with the usefulness of tablets thoughts or the lack thereof in the review. I'm a graphic artist and I've found my Xoom to be invaluable for creating quick sketches and some finished renders using Autodesks Sketchbook Mobile. Being able tto output psd files, jpegs, create layers etc is a godsend. I've been able to create small animations with my Xoom as well using Movie studio. Add this to the movie/music/reading/gaming functions, USB and Bluetooth m/KB support, apps like Documents to Go, ezPDFreader, Adobe PDF creator etc and there are tasks I perform on my tablet before I touch my laptop. Of course tablets arent a replacement for laptops and notebooks and won't be for a few years at least but depending on the user and their needs, tablets can be very important to workflow.

    To suggest, as a commentor has, that tablets are only good for document reading is ignorant at best.
    Reply
  • coolhardware - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Dear Anand et al., could you guys start doing some additional video playback tests on the Android tablets and phones? Similar to the lists here about high-res MKV capabilities of various devices:
    http://www.jdhodges.com/2011/06/can-android-do-108...

    I think a lot of readers enjoy "alternative" video/container formats like MKV etc and it is nice to know which devices are capable of playing what... I would love to see your thorough review techniques applied to a topic like that! Thx.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    It looks warmer to me. A lot warmer. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Hmm, it yellows out at angle, but you may be right. Let me rerun the numbers and get back to you, but the difference isn't nearly as big as that picture would suggest - that was more to show the difference in viewing angle and how early discolouration starts in the Acer vs the IPS displays. Reply
  • crispbp04 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    i am anxious to see what your thoughts are on the windows based iconia tab.

    While you're at it, get your hands on an MSI Windpad 110W and compare the two generations of brazos!
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I've been running Android basically since the EVO came out last year, I know how it works. Just because I don't technically need to manage memory doesn't mean I don't want to manage the apps I have running in the background. It's a control thing, I think. There's a reason why ATK and other app killers are so popular on the Android Market...

    I know it's not a task manager, it's just that it really easily could be. It literally has everything it needs to be a task manager, except for the kill task button.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    You can change the control method for Real Racing HD. There are actually quite a few different options ranging from "we pretty much drive for you" to "good luck controlling everything on a tablet" :P. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah, basically. Reply
  • stevessvt - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 last weekend, hoping to love it as much as I do my HTC Thunderbolt. The 2 main programs I wanted most for it are Netflix, and Yahoo chat. Neither one is available for it. I found eack ones APK's on line, but they still wouldnt work. I brought it back and bought an iPad 2, even if they dont make a specific app for it, at least the iPhone specific apps work just fine. Shame, really, the GT 10.1 is a beautiful machine. Reply
  • berrykerry789 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I wanna win :) Reply
  • shabby - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Budget not found in a $449 honeycomb tablet, now this $349 archos 10" tablet sounds interesting...

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/23/archos-intros-8...
    Reply
  • Confusador - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I've been waiting for this review, even though I'd already decided to wait for Kal-EL, so it's nice to see that it was not lost. I do have to echo what others have said that it's nice to see the included USB port, despite the otherwise lacking hardware. Now that Android has USB host mode, I can only hope that others will start to do the same. Reply
  • Randomblame - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - link

    We will not see amazing android games until some actual game studios start developing for the platform and I fear that won't happen. They like stability, slow progress. Until the mobile/tablet market starts to slow down I think we're in a wait and see game. Direct x 7/8 era games werent that bad remember everquest? Ultima online? with bluetooth peripherials tablets can have buttons and controls but honestly we just need games that kick ass! Pocket empires is one I am incredibly addicted to despite it's ridiculously buggy crappy controls and interface. Once you figure it out it's fun and you can get past the nes style top down boring graphics. Because it's got something deeper game play! We need an epic game that gives us a reason to buy a new tablet every 6 months... Reply
  • vision33r - Sunday, June 26, 2011 - link

    Because all the big studios are busy in iOS land. New high quality iPad games comes out every week in the App Store. For example, Castle Attack HD for iPad was FREE last few days. It's a high quality tower defense game.

    For the past few years I have not found more than a dozen games on the Android market that is of high quality. Way too many low quality and poorly optimized games.

    Can't blame the devs, fragmentation hurts software development and a lot of android users are just cheapskates and drive all the quality developers away.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, June 26, 2011 - link

    What "big studios" would that be ?

    What for Win8, and then you'll see some real development happening.
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Sunday, June 26, 2011 - link

    this looks like its about the same LCD as the xoom?

    i tried that one out in the store, and the ipad and the LG pad (forgot the name) beat the pants off of it in view angles.
    even in the store's controlled lighting, i found the xoom hard to see and i had to tilt it around a lot until i found a sweet spot to view.
    for someone without great eyesight (me), it's really essential to have a great screen.
    these devices are basically big screens, so it should be the best part.
    Reply
  • VTArbyP - Sunday, June 26, 2011 - link

    As usual, it takes me a while to figure out for myself why something becomes a hot. My iPod Touch was a revelation in comparison to the Palm Pilot it replaced. Who knew an MP3 player would become what it is!

    My view is that tablets are the fulfillment of the promise of a "paperless" society. The User Interface works; much better than any before it. The batteries last long enough, and color / video / 3d abilities give it scope for growth far beyond paper or even e-ink readers. If you read the end of this article, you see that the tablet works best in place of paper, books, web browsing and such. You simply don't need to print much with a tablet around - much more so than with its smaller forebears. Add back a stylus and hand written notes can be easily added. Meanwhile, Asus has the pseudo-netbook NAILED in the eee pad transformer. All the pieces, size, UI and apps, are here for tablets to save the trees and go far, far beyond printing!

    When you think of a tablet in this light, you can guess at the future. Tablets will add i/o: 1) to use them as an extra display for your "bigger iron" be it a PC or a game console. 2) to transfer any and all info (work / play / whatever you are doing) to and from PCs / Smart Phones and the Cloud. You may have noticed that display ports have disappeared from new Macs, Thunderbolt will do all data transfer including video. I'd stake good money that the iPad 3 will have Thunderbolt and use it in the way I described.

    I haven't even touched on the convertible smart phone / tablets out there or coming soon! Beware though, it's not that one "smart item" will replace what went before, rather that all of them will work together for a complete solution.

    Frankly I find this vision of the future almost scary. I'm just glad that I can see a world with little use for paper coming beforehand.
    Reply
  • VTArbyP - Sunday, June 26, 2011 - link

    Over edited post, sorry folks! Line 1:"becomes a hot." ought to be "becomes Hot." 2nd paragraph: "Add back a stylus and handwritten notes are easy." should replace the "Add back a stylus and hand written notes can be easily added." sentence. Reply
  • ex2bot - Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - link

    (A relatively minor point:)

    Jarred gives his overall take on tablets without ever using the leading tablet and its superior (in size and scope) software library?

    In my experience with the iPad 1, I don't use my laptop nearly as much as I used to. Mine is a bit of a special case in that I'm not able to sit at a desk for more than a couple hours due to a disability. The iPad lets me surf the web, read books and magazines (Zinio and Kindle!), play games, and do anything else that doesn't requre lots of typing while lying down. I'm sure the Android tablets have the similar advantages.

    I do agree about the gaming being limited. Games tend to need real buttons.

    Ex2bot
    Reply
  • henryvol - Monday, October 10, 2011 - link

    Oct. 6, 2011 After about a week of using my new Acer Iconia A500 the unit developed an issue where the battery would not charge. This was an intermitent trouble whereby at times the unit would charge the battery for a few seconds or maybe a couple of minutes before stopping the recharging process. I used multiple power adapters with the same results from each. I performed a factory reset and a hard reset on the unit but, the resets did not correct the issue.

    I contacted Acer Support and sent the unit in for repair. I received the A500 back from the repair facility 8 days later still with the battery charging issue. They returned it to me without repairing or correcting the issue.

    I contacted Acer Support this morning and again returned the A500 for repair.

    After searching some of the Acer A500 forums, I found that other users were experiencing the same issues with their A500 tablets. If the power adapter is connected the battery status indicator indicates 'Discharging' but, the battery percentage stays the same. When the power adapter is removed, the battery percentage indicator begins to decline. When the power adapter is connected, the A500 battery does not charge.

    Based on my experiences with this product and the Acer Repair Service, I would not purchase an Acer Iconia A500 again and I would not reccomend this product. Acer Service/Support has not offered to replace my defective A500.
    Reply
  • khernau - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    That looks great! I would love to get something like this. I have an old laptop, but it's not working right now. I need to see about getting some acer repair parts for it. Hopefully it can be fixed!

    http://www.acerparts.ca
    Reply

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