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Acer Iconia Tab A100

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
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Manufacturer: Acer
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What's hot: Affordable tablet with top specs.

What's not: Weak viewing angles, plenty of display glare.


Reviewed August 30, 2011 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Looking for a 7" Android Honeycomb tablet? As of this writing, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is your only choice. The HTC Flyer/HTC EVO View 4G runs OS 2.3 Gingerbread, last year's 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab likewise is running 2.x , the 7" Lenovo A1 runs Gingerbread and it looks like the upcoming 7" Viewsonic will run Gingerbread as well. At the moment, it looks like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be the only Honeycomb 3.2 competition (likely at a higher price). In the absence of competition, the Acer A100 certainly becomes much more appealing, but even if there were competition, this 7" powerhouse tablet can hold its own. The Acer Iconia A100 packs all the features of 10" Android Honeycomb tablets into a smaller, much more portable package that can fit in a large pocket or purse. It has the same 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU, a gig of RAM, 8 or 16 gigs of storage, HDMI, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth and a GPS with compass. At just $329 for the 8 gig model and $349 for the 16 gig model (both expandable via microSD cards), the little Iconia seems like a bargain. The tablet ships with Android OS 3.2 Honeycomb; the latest version of the tablet OS that has support for 7" tablets and running Android OS 2.x apps in stretched screen mode.

Acer Iconia Tab A100


The A100 has a 1024 x 600 capacitive multi-touch display--that's the same resolution as better quality 7" tablets like the HTC Flyer and Galaxy Tab, and higher than most ultra-budget tablets that sell for $200 or less. The display is bright, extremely sharp and it has very high contrast. It looks absolutely great head-on, but viewing angles are oddly narrow when viewing from the bottom in landscape mode. Hold the tablet in front of you to watch a video and it looks great. Lay the tablet flat on a table and the video becomes unwatchable. If you hate narrow viewing angles, the tablet might drive you crazy. But there are workarounds: side viewing angles are wide, so those aren't much of an issue. If you wish to lay the tablet flat on a table while viewing content in landscape mode, simply rotate it upside down (with the home button to the left), and the viewing angle will be sufficient. If you hold it directly in front of you with no angle of rotation, the upside down view isn't as bright as the rightside-up view. Got that? Since this isn't an IPS display and it is glossy like all tablets, it's viewable outdoors but the display is harder to see.

Acer Iconia Tab A100

Design and Ergonomics

The Acer Iconia A100 is more rectangular than most 7" tablets. If you have smaller hands, you'll find it easier to hold in portrait mode when reading a book, and widescreen movie watching is perfect with little or no letterboxing on this 16:9 aspect ratio display. The tablet weighs 0.92 lbs., similar to the 7" Galaxy Tab and BlackBerry PlayBook. When using it as an ebook reader, my arms didn't tire as they do with 10" tablets, and the tablet worked well with Aldiko, Barnes & Noble Nook but not the Amazon Kindle app. It seems we'll need an updated version of Kindle that works with 1024 x 600 Honeycomb 3.2 tablets. In the meantime, older versions of Kindle (2.05 is the latest of older versions floating around the Net) work on the Iconia A100.

Acer Iconia Tab A100

The Iconia Tab A100 has a blue plastic back with a geometric pattern that reminds me of laptops from a few years back. It's not bad looking, but it's dated and it attracts fingerprints like crazy (a damp paper towel with a tiny bit of soft soap clean it best). The front is dominated by the display, and the corners taper to escape pure rectilinear boredom. The end caps are gloss black plastic, and they house small and not very loud stereo speakers, a micro USB port (not USB Host), micro HDMI port, charging port, reset hole and docking connector (right side) and power button and 3.5mm stereo jack (right). The power button illuminates in orange when the tablet is charging and turns blue when fully charged. The A100 uses the same 12 volt/1.5 amp charger with a small barrel connector as the Acer Iconia Tab A500 10.1" Honeycomb tablet.


Deals and Shopping:


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Horsepower and Performance

This little 7" tablet has the brains of a 10" Honeycomb tablet, and feels a bit quicker than those already speedy larger tablets. Why does it feel faster? Likely because it has the same CPU, GPU and RAM as the larger tablets, but it's moving less pixels given the 1024 x 600 resolution vs. 1280 x 800 for 10" tablets. 3D games, MPEG4 HD video and Adobe Flash 10.3 all run smoothly on the tablet, and it can handle 1080p video playback with fewer frame drops than some 10" Honeycomb tablets including the Acer Iconia Tab A500.

The tablet has a 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU with hardware graphics acceleration and a gig of RAM. It's available in 8 and 16 gig versions, and the 16 gig is only $20 more than the 8 gig, making it a wiser buy. You can further expand storage using microSD cards (the slot is under a door on the top edge), and we had no problem using 16 and 32 gig cards. HD 720p and 1080p movies played fine from class 6 and faster cards.

The Acer A100 scored 2040 on the Quadrant benchmark and 46.9 in the Linpack multi-thread benchmark test. Those are good numbers for a dual core tablet, reflecting its experiential speed.


The A100 doesn't have 3G, though there is a covered slot where a SIM card carrier could've been installed (it's next to the microSD card slot). If Acer ships a 3G version, it will have the model number A101, just as the A500 with 3G is the A501. The tablet ships with WiFi 802.11b/g/n single band, and it has average range for a tablet. That means it doesn't have the range of full sized notebooks, but it does maintain a good signal up to 35 feet when using Apple's AirPort Extreme wireless router and 40 feet with the D-Link DIR-655 (both with walls between the tablet and router). Beyond 55 feet (with walls in between) the signal becomes too unstable to rely on.

The Acer also has Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR and a GPS with digital compass. In our tests using Google Maps and Google Navigation, the A100 got a fix quickly indoors and maintained that fix when driving (we used an HTC Sensation 4G as a mobile hotspot so the Iconia could continually download fresh map data on the road).

Software and Multimedia

Acer customizes the launcher with groups that are basically icons that lead to custom folders for social networking, multimedia, reading and gaming. These are actually a very handy way to organize apps (I have 55 apps on my tablet and it's not fun wading through them to find what I want), and you can add and remove apps from these groups. There's also Acer's SocialJogger for Facebook and Twitter social networking,, nemoPlayer (an attractive music player, photo viewer and video player), Auopeo!, Movie Studio, MusicA, Zinio and Google Books. This is much the same software as bundled with the A500 tablet.

The tablet comes with the standard suite of Google apps including the Webkit web browser, email, gmail, the Android Market, YouTube player, Gtalk with video chat, Google Books, Google Maps and Navigation, a calculator, PIM apps, a clock, camera and camcorder apps and Gallery.

The tablet has a 2 megapixel front video chat camera that works decently with Gtalk and a rear 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash that takes sharp photos and 720p video.

For streaming content, the Acer Iconia A100 supports Google Movie rentals (integrated into the Android Market), streaming TV episodes from TV networks using Adobe Flash but not Hulu (Hulu blocks mobile clients, though Hulu Plus is available for some mobile devices). It also works with Amazon Instant Video and (both use Adobe Flash). There's no Netflix, but we're hopeful it will arrive at some point since we're seeing it on other Tegra 2 Honeycomb tablets like the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer.

Battery Life

The Acer Iconia Tab A100 has two 1530 mAh Lithium Ion batteries (the A500 also has a dual battery configuration). 3,060 mAh is a bit lower than the 4,000 mAh battery used in the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab or 5,000+ found in 10" tablets. With WiFi on, and display brightness set to 40% we found the tablet lasted 5.5 hours on a charge when playing casual games, browsing the web, playing a few YouTube videos, checking email and using social networking apps. That's about the same as the 7" Galaxy Tab, but shorter than the 4,000 mAh single core CPU HTC Flyer by almost 2 hours. We don't expect the same battery life from a 7" dual core Tegra 2 tablet as we get from a 10" tablet since the 10" has room for a larger battery, but we'd like to see closer to 7 hours from the Acer. The tablet charges very quickly, as a consolation.


Granted, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 currently has no competition in the 7" Android Honeycomb tablet market, but even if that weren't the case, we'd still recommend it. In fact, I bought one for myself. With a starting price of $329, this little tablet is extremely portable and it packs the power of a 10" Honeycomb tablet. It's very fast, has a bright and sharp display (albeit with weird viewing angles), is stable and it runs the latest version of Honeycomb. It handles Adobe Flash well, plays MPEG4 video like a champ, has a GPS and all the trimmings you'd expect from a tier 1 tablet. The battery life could be better though, and the viewing angles will be an issue for some folks.

Price: $329 for 8 gigs and $349 for 16 gigs



Acer Iconia Tab A100

Above: the Acer Iconia Tab A100 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7".

Below: the Vizio 8" Tablet and the Acer Iconia Tab A100.

Acer Iconia Tab A100


Acer Iconia Tab A100

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Display: 7" capacitive multi-touch color LCD. Resolution: 1024 x 600, supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer, has ambient light sensor.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable. Batteries are not user replaceable. Two 1530 mAh batteries.

Performance: NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz CPU with 1 gig RAM and 8 or 16 gigs internal flash storage.

Size: 7.68 x 4.6 x 0.5 inches. Weight: 0.92 pounds.

3G/4G: None.

Camera: 5 megapixel autofocus rear camera and 2 megapixel front video chat camera (works with Google Talk).

Audio: Built in stereo speakers with Dolby Mobile software, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n (single band n 2.4GHz) and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR.

Software: Android OS 3.2 Honeycomb. Google apps: search, voice search, Maps, Navigation, Places, Gmail, Email, web browser, Gtalk with video chat, Books (Google ebook reader), Gallery, YouTube, Music, Clock, Calculator, Contacts, Calendar and Latitude. Acer and third party apps: nemoPlayer,, MusicA, Media Server, Social Jogger, Zinio and HW Solitaire SD.

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


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