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Review: Acer Iconia Tab A700 heavy on display [Video]

July 11, 2012|By Michelle Maltais

The Acer Iconia Tab A700 is nothing to look at, but it's got a little something on display. What it lacks in design, it brings with resolution.

It has a 10.1-inch screen that's kicking 1920 x 1200 pixels — that offers a 16:10 aspect ratio. Its LED-backlit display offers a pixel density of 224 ppi, which is definitely something to look at and outdoes most other Android tablets.

The NVIDIA-powered A700 runs a lightly skinned version of Android's Ice Cream Sandwich and packs a zippy 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor with a gig of RAM. It performed admirably, with no notable glitches.

The A700 has 32 gigabytes of internal storage that you can boost to 64 GB with a micro-SD card. It also has a micro-HDMI port.

In terms of cameras, there's a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. It shoots crisp 1080p video. The cameras are certainly serviceable if you really feel the need to give your arms a workout by holding it up for any length of shooting time.

The A700 includes Dolby Mobile 3 and 5.1-channel surround sound, making audio nearly as crisp as the images it can enhance. Its volume is impressive at the top end, able to hold its own without headphones in a small room.

With a price tag of $450, a downside to the A700 is that it is Wi-Fi only.

Svelte it is not. It has no sleek curves to speak of, and the overall design isn't particularly inspired. Weighing in at 1.47 pounds, it's only a hair heavier than the trim and curvy iPad. But boy, did that difference in design weigh on my wrists after holding it for a while.

You might have no issues with this, but I have some repetitive-stress issues. And I literally had to strap on my wrist brace after about an hour with this tab. That said, the dimpled, rubberized back did make it easier to hang onto.

Now, Acer isn't going for model differentiation here. It's almost an exact duplicate of the A510, which heavily favors the A500. In fact, side by side, you can't distinguish which is which by just looking.

In terms of software, Acer has adorned ICS with a few of its own offerings, such as its signature ring launcher on the system bar, offering shortcuts to frequently used apps such as the browser. The additions, however, don't make it feel alien if you are accustomed to ICS.

Something to note: I found the keyboard a tad challenging to successfully navigate. There's something about the orientation that just didn't feel natural. It may be that I'm accustomed to Apple's iPad, but the virtual keys are about the same size and almost in the same spots.

It may be as simple as a visual cue. The iPad has white keys with a bit more drop shadow on a light-gray background. The Iconia A700 has dark-gray keys on a black background.

Overall, the Acer Iconia Tab A700 is an iterative upgrade from the A510, offering a better display than most Android tabs on the market now. Its design isn't anything to get excited about, but it's a serviceable tab. That said, it's not the best option out there for the price. 

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