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Acer Iconia Tab A510

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
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Manufacturer: Acer
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What's hot: Fast quad core, Android 4.0 ICS pre-loaded, nice display, good wireless, pleasing ergonomics, USB host with cable included.

What's not: Tablet gets hot when gaming, lots of price competition, heavier than recent competition.


Reviewed April 30, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

It isn't exactly raining quad core tablets yet, and few devices are shipping with Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's what makes the $449 Acer Iconia Tab A510 so appealing: not only do you get a 1.3GHz quad core Tegra 3 (the same used in the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime), but it ships with ICS.

Acer Iconia Tab A510

Acer's moving up in the world, and their budget-minded tablets are now quite nice machines without any of the gotchas of the early 2011 models. The 1.5 lb. Iconia Tab A510 does everything it promises to: and that includes robust WiFi 802.11b/g/n and a fully functional GPS (Prime, we're looking at you). It's fast, has a pleasing 10.1", 1280 x 800 capacitive touch screen and the usual Bluetooth, 1 MP front camera and 5 MP rear camera. It's one of the fastest tablets thanks to the quad core inside and it benchmarks the same as that other quad core tablet on the market, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Design and Ergonomics

While Iconia tablets won't win any design awards, this may be Acer's best looking tablet to date. It's 0.43" thick and comes with either a soft touch black or silver back. In honor of the 2012 Olympics, the tablet has Olympic rings on the back (Acer is an official sponsor of the games and I bet we'll see lots of Iconias there this summer). Sure, the tablet could be thinner, but we'll go easy on Acer since they managed to fit an absolutely capacious 9800 mAh battery inside for claimed 15 hour runtimes. You probably won't get 15, but we're still trying to kill this battery-- it really does last a long time.

Acer Iconia Tab A510

The soft touch back feels great in hand and is grippy. While there are thinner and more curvaceous tablets, the Acer has superior ergonomics. It's simply a pleasure to hold. At 1.5 lbs., you'll feel the weight if you hold it for an hour, but that's still true of lighter 10 inch tablets.

All ports are sturdy or covered; something we appreciate after using the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and to a lesser extent the Asus Transformer Pad TF300, whose thinness and curved edges leave one side of each port less than ideally supported and protected. The tablet has a combo charge and micro USB port on the bottom edge. The included 12v, 1.5 amp charger has a few extra notches on the connector to ensure you don't plug it into a smartphone or other device (its voltage is too high for smartphones). That's why there are a few notches in the micro USB port on the tablet: so it can accommodate the charger. You can also plug standard micro USB cables into the tablet for data transfer, and use the included micro USB to full size USB host cable with USB peripherals.

Acer Iconia Tab A510

The microSD card slot and SIM card slot (not functional on the WiFi model) are under a cover on the side, and the power button is on the left side. The power button illuminates to indicate charging status. The volume rocker is up top and has stipples so you can tell up from down.

When held in landscape mode, a portion of the right rear gets warm when charging (not alarmingly warm). That section gets hot when playing demanding games like Dead Space and Dark Meadows for 30 minutes or more. We measured up to 109F at the hot spot. The soft touch surface diffuses heat so it doesn't feel as hot to the touch as the metal new iPad, but this is the first Android tablet we've noted getting toasty. The tablet hasn't crashed or had any problems so far due to heat, and it cools down immediately if you switch out of the game. Video playback doesn't heat things up nearly as much as gaming, but the back spot will get warm (94F).


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Acer Iconia Tab A510 Video Review


Acer Iconia Tab A510 vs. Asus Transformer Pad TF300


Acer Iconia Tab A510 vs. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime


The Acer Iconia Tab A510 has the usual 1280 x 800 resolution display, and though it's not IPS, it has very good viewing angles and good brightness (320 nits, which puts it a little bit ahead of the 300 nit Asus Transformer Pad TF300). The tablet is plenty bright enough for indoor use and is viewable outdoors in the shade, but it can't combat direct sunlight (look to the 600 nit brightness Transformer Prime for that or the Motorola XYBoard 10.1). The display has a cool color cast, and that means blues are stronger and whites look bright white though not blue-white as they do on some Super AMOLED Plus Samsung displays. The new iPad, Asus Transformer Prime and Transformer Pad TF300 are warmer and more neutral. If you're interested in an even higher resolution display, check out our review of the Acer Iconia Tab A700 with a 1920 x 1200 display.

Our retail purchased review unit has no dead pixels and there's no light bleed to speak of. Colors are rich and we really enjoyed using this tablet for watching videos, viewing photos and reading. Contrast is high but not stark, and blacks are deep when watching videos. Though the Acer doesn't have a super high DPI Retina Display like the new iPad, we found reading using the Kindle and Nook apps easy on the eyes with good text clarity and whites that look white.

The auto-brightness function works well, and doesn't stray annoyingly far to the dark side. Though the Tegra 3 and GeForce GPU support dynamic range switching to save power (the display dims when white backgrounds are active), it doesn't seem that Acer uses this feature. We're glad because that feature degrades image quality without sufficient improvement to battery life.

Screen sensitivity is average, and there's a setting that allows you to select from three levels of touch sensitivity (the middle setting is the default). Acer goes with the large font option for the system wide font setting, while other tablets use the "normal" setting, but you can change this to suit your tastes.

Performance and Horsepower

The quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 T30 with fifth low power companion core and 12 core GeForce Graphics processor are currently top of the line for Android tablets. When Qualcomm's dual core S4 Krait CPU hits tablets (it's currently just appearing on smartphones), it will probably give the Tegra 3 a run for the money, but the number of cores and Nvidia's reputation for graphics processors will probably get the public's attention for some time.

The Acer Iconia Tab A510 is every bit as fast as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the first Tegra 3 tablet by many months. In fact, it's a bit faster because we didn't suffer the pauses and "wait/force close" dialogs that we get on the Prime. In terms of synthetic benchmarks, they're nearly identical, with the Acer leading by just a tiny bit in graphics. The Acer A510 bests the slower clocked Asus TF300 by a consistent but small margin in synthetic benchmarks. Unlike Asus Tegra 3 tablets, there are no user-accessible speed settings for the CPU and GPU.

Currently, the A510 and the Prime (along with the slightly slower Transformer Pad TF300) are the fastest Android tablets on the market. They're all fast enough that you won't likely feel like they're slow or outdated a year from now. Android isn't often CPU-bound if you've got a decent dual core CPU let alone a quad core CPU. The Acer has the usual 1 gig of DDR2 RAM and 32 gigs of internal flash storage. It has a microSD card slot if you wish to expand storage, and microSD card content automatically appears in Gallery and other apps making for seamless storage expansion.


  Quadrant GLBenchmark 2.1Egypt Offscreen AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test
Acer Iconia Tab A510 3807 69 fps 10,910 1788
Toshiba Excite 10 4143 63 fps 11,056 1935
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime 3801 61 fps 9846 1814
Acer Iconia Tab A200 (dual core Tegra 2) 1800 42 fps 5025 2185
Asus Transformer Pad TF300 3425 69 fps 9559 2257

Sound and Multimedia

No more anemic audio from Acer tablets, the Iconia Tab A510 has robust stereo speakers with Dolby Mobile sound, and they're loud by tablet standards and reasonably full. Good stuff. While I'd never choose a tablet's built in speakers for music playback given a choice between them, headphones or external wired/Bluetooth speakers, the sound is pleasing for video sound tracks. It certainly beats the mono iPad and poorly located dual speaker setup on Asus 10" tablets.

The tablet can play 720p and 1080p high profile MPEG4 video handily, and it can output that 1080p with 5.1 audio (we tested it by plugging the Iconia A510 into our Sony receiver via micro HDMI). The tablet supports MPEG4 and AVI, and if you need other formats, there are third party video players on the market that add support for additional formats and codecs.

Audio input via the built-in mics has improved from Acer's first Android tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab A500. We found the built in mic worked decently with the voice recorder (we noted some flanged sound but voice was still clear) and for Skype. You can use the combo 3.5mm stereo headphone/mic jack for Skype conversations and the front video chat camera delivered decent video. When recording video, the mic picked up a full array of ambient sounds, including small birds chirping in the distance, which is both good and rare.

Expandability and Special Features like USB Host

The iPad 2 and New iPad might seem to have a strangle hold on the world of tablets, but the Iconia Tab A510 fights back with Android's strong points: computer-like versatility and expandability. The tablet has a microSD card slot to augment the 32 gigs of internal storage and a micro USB port with USB host capability. That means you can use USB peripherals with the Iconia Tab A510: keyboards, mice, USB flash drives, game controllers and even portable hard drives. Acer goes one step extra and includes a USB host cable in the box, since those are hard to find in stores. And yes, the tablet supports NTFS, for those of you who want to use external hard drives formatted NTFS. External storage support is excellent, from microSD cards to flash drives and NTFS self powered-hard drives. The various storage items appear in third party file managers (not just the built-in file manager as with Asus tablets) and their contents automatically appear in Gallery (photos and video) and Google Play Music. The Acer lacks Asus' USB Ethernet adapter driver, alas.

WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS

We don't usually have to dedicate a section to wireless, because it works well on most devices. Thanks to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and its GPS and WiFi troubles, these wireless radios suffer scrutiny, but we're happy to report they work well on the Acer A510. WiFi reception is very good, with virtually no throughput speed falloff 25 feet from the router. The 802.11b/g/n single band WiFi radio managed a strong signal at various distances from our 802.11n network and matched our promised ISP's speeds up to 40 feet from the access point with a wall in between. The tablet switches between bridged WiFi routers (wireless network extenders) quickly and smoothly (many tablets don't).

The GPS managed to get a fix with WiFi off in 20 seconds indoors and in less than 6 seconds with WiFi on. That's good for a mobile device working without aGPS assistance. Keep in mind that you'll either need to pre-load maps or use the mobile hotspot feature on your smartphone or a MiFi to download map data on the go since the tablet lacks 3G/4G to download maps when away from a WiFi access point.

Battery Life

WiFi tablets generally have decent battery life, but the Acer Iconia Tab A510 just won't quit. The absolutely huge 9800 mAh Lithium Ion battery and refreshingly power frugal Tegra 3 make for class-leading runtimes. Our tablet typically lasts 10 to 11 hours of actual use time on a charge, and that translates into several days on a charge with moderate use. Acer claims up to 12 hours of video playback time or 15 hours of general use, but with brightness set to 50% and WiFi on, we saw less. Turn off WiFi and set screen brightness low, and we assume you'll get an hour more.


The tablet comes pre-loaded with Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Like most Android tablets, the user interface is standard Android without customization. Acer adds their Ring launcher (the bull’s eye on the bottom task bar). Tap it and you’ve got quick access to four apps of your choosing, browser bookmarks, volume and search. Acer also includes their dLNA client and server for streaming multimedia over your WiFi network, and Acer Print for wireless printing over WiFi (sweet!).

Polaris Office for tablets is on board, and it has a lovely UI and the ability to view, create and edit MS Office compatible documents. VirusScan Mobile is pre-installed and isn’t removable though you can disable it. Honestly, we feel that it takes up CPU cycles and isn’t really necessary, but should a virus outbreak hit ICS,  it might be comforting. And yes, like all Android tablets, it can handle Adobe Flash, which is a free download from the Google Play Market.


Tablet cameras rarely please us. It's not that we think it's awkward or silly to have a rear camera on a tablet; rather the quality generally disappoints. The Acer Iconia Tab A510 is no exception: it shoots passable but unremarkable photos and decent 1080p video with better than average audio. There's no flash and we assume this isn't a fast lens, so low light photos have noise. Outdoors shots are reasonable, though they're nowhere as good as the HTC Jetstream, the tablet with the best camera as of this writing.

The front 1MP camera is good enough for video chat, and our Skype partners reported we were easy to understand and we looked passably sharp and colorful.


We really like the Acer Iconia Tab A510 Android tablet. It's running the latest OS on what's currently the fastest CPU, the Tegra 3 T30. It's fast (aside from Android's occasional hiccups), more stable than other ICS tablets we've tested so far and it should be reasonably future proof. The tablet can handle 1080p video playback, Tegra Zone games and anything else you throw at it.

The tablet feels marvelous in hand, and battery life is exceptional. Demanding users will love the microSD card expansion, HDMI out and USB host feature with cable included. As a computer replacement, the Iconia Tab A510 holds up, even if there's no matching keyboard dock available. Grab a Bluetooth mobile keyboard, and you're ready to tackle image transfer from your camera, MS Office documents, movie watching, web browsing and email.

Price: $449 $429 for the 32 gig WiFi model.


Related Articles:

Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Review

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Review

Acer Iconia Tab A200 (dual core, 10.1" ICS Android tablet)


Acer Iconia Tab A510



Acer Iconia Tab A510



Acer Iconia Tab A510



Acer Iconia Tab A510

Above: the Acer Iconia Tab A510 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.



Acer Iconia Tab A510

Above: the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 and Acer Iconia Tab A510.


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Display: 10.1" capacitive TFT LED backlit display. Resolution: 1280 x 800, supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer. Has ambient light sensor, digital compass and gyro sensor.

Battery: 9800 mAh, 36.25Wh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 1.3GHz quad core Tegra 3 T30 CPU with 1 gig RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage.

Size: 10.2 x 6.9 x 0.43 inches. Weight: 1.54 pounds.

Cellular: N/A, WiFi only.

Camera: 1.2 MP front camera that works with Google Talk and Skype Video chat. Rear 8MP camera that can shoot 1080p video.

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

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

Software: Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Full suite of Google apps: search, voice search, Maps, Navigation, Places, Gmail, Email, web browser, Market, Gtalk with video chat, Books (Google ebook reader), Gallery, YouTube, Music, Clock, Calculator, Contacts, Calendar and Latitude. Acer and third party apps: Polaris Office tablet edition (view, edit and create MS Office docs), Acer Ring launcher, Acer Print (wireless printing), AUPEO! streaming radio, Media Server (dLNA), HW Solitaire SE, Amazon App Store, Amazon Kindle, VirusScan Mobile, Astro File Explorer, Tegra Zone, SoundHound and Netflix.

Expansion and Ports: 1 SDHC microSD card slot, micro HDMI port, micro USB sync/charge port and 3.5mm headphone jack. Micro USB port supports USB host, and cable is included in the box.


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