- Intel chipset
- Diagonal size
- MicroSD card expandable memory
- Metal body with stereo speakers
- Low pixel density
- Poor color interpretation
- Runs an older version of Android
- No micro-HDMI port
Quick TakeAcer's latest Iconia A1 tablet has a low price, a speedy processor, and a beautiful design. Too bad its display isn't equally as good.
Last year’s Acer Iconia A1-810 had promise but also some glaring shortcomings. The latest edition, the Iconia A1-830, offers significant improvements like somewhat more modern specifications for a price well under $200.
This is a 7.9-inch tablet with Android OS 4.2 (Jelly Bean). It comes in a metal and glass body, not a plastic one like its predecessor. The device is based on a dual-core Intel Atom processor, which will be the most important advancement for many users, because the previous Iconia A1 used unconvincing Mediatek hardware.
The design of the new device is also clearly more elegant, and the A1-830 is one of the smallest 7.9-inch tablets available.
Build and Design
The Iconia A1-830’s body is highly robust and solid — nearly on a premium level and not what you’d expect for a product that cost as little as this one does. The entire front side is covered in glass, the back in metal, while plastic is used only on control keys and the upper edge of the device, which is where the antennas are located.
Weighing 0.8 lbs. (380 grams), it is quite heavy for a 7.9-inch tablet and eventually becomes tiring if held only in one hand; however, since this is one of the slimmest tablets in the world, and as its edges are rounded, it feels great to hold.
The tablet’s dimensions are 8.0 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches (203 x 138 x 8.2 mm), making it roughly the same size as the Apple iPad mini, which it greatly resembles.
The IPS LED backlight screen has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, which is identical to the previous model and results in a relatively humble pixel density of 162 ppi. This is the identical resolution and size as the first iPad mini, which means the flaws are approximately the same as on that device: image sharpness is below average and individual pixels can be identified with the naked eye. There is also ‘teething’, especially when straight slanted lines are animated, as they are change their angle.
On the other hand, the contrast is above average, with very convincing black tones and somewhat dirtier white tones. Color interpretation, though, deserves a minus, as the colors are insufficiently saturated, with colder tones dominating.
It is clear that in order to maintain the relatively low price, Acer has compromised on the screen, the only feature that did not see an upgrade compared to the previous Iconia A1. Low pixel density and poorly interpreted colors are noticeable at first glance, and despite the premium feeling provided by the convincing and beautiful body, the display makes it clear this is a tablet for less demanding users.
Taking real-world use into consideration, however, the low resolution did not turn out to be a problem while watching movies, and the slim left- and right-size screen bezels made multimedia consumption on the 4:3 display quite bearable.
Buttons and Ports
The front of the Iconia A1-830 includes an Acer logo located under the display, and a 2-megapixel webcam, while the control keys (Back, Home and Tasks) take up a part of the user interface on the screen.
The rear includes another Acer logo as well as a 5-megapixel camera — like most tablets in this class, the A1-830 does not come with a LED flash. Stereo speakers are located at the bottom of the back side.
The upper edge includes an audio jack and and a micro-USB port, while the lower edge does not hold any elements. The left edge is equally blank, but the Power button, volume rocker, and microSD memory-card slot are on the right.
It’s a shame that the micro-HDMI video-out port was omitted from the latest Acer Iconia A1, as its predecessor included one.
Page 2 describes the performance of the Acer Iconia A1-830.