Computing

Acer Iconia Tab A700 Review: Sharp Looking, Slow Moving

The Acer Iconia Tab A510 was a decent tablet, but the screen was lame. The new Acer Iconia Tab A700 is essentially the exact same tablet, but with a 1080p screen. Purty! But how do those extra pixels affect the performance?

What Is It?

A 10.1-inch 1920×1200 tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on Nvidia’s 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor.

Who’s it For?

This thing was built for movie watching.

Design

The 16×10 screen is the same size as the A510. It’s thicker than the Transformer Prime or the iPad. There is a micro HDMI out, a micro USB out, a nice pair of Dolby speakers and a rubberised back.

Using It

The Tegra 3 powers through most uses, but it does struggle in places the A510 didn’t. The screen is better than the first two iPads (and the A510), but not as sharp as the new iPad display.

The Best Part

Gotta go with the screen. It’s really pretty. The whites are whiter, the blacks are deeper, and the colours really pop.

Tragic Flaw

The additional pixels slow down the overall experience. It feels slower than the A510, even if the benchmarks measure them as even.

This Is Weird…

The touchscreen response lags and trips. This could cost you your life (in a video game).

Test Notes

  • The 9800mAh Li-polymer battery gets insane standby times and over 10 hours of usage.
  • Playing the game Oscura on the A510 was smooth, but on the A700 it seems to play at half speed. Buttons presses get missed. It turns into a bloodbath.
  • The optional protective case is nice — it won’t automatically turn the screen off like the iPad’s does, but it’s thin and grippy.
  • Acer put a twist on Ice Cream Sandwich by adding the Acer Ring (pictured), a customisable shortcut launcher that you can pop up from anywhere in the UI. It’s pretty, but you’ll almost certainly never use it.
  • At 649g, it’s lighter than the A510, but it still isn’t light. At .43 inches (11mm), the thickness feels heavy. It’s blocky and not fun to hold on the train.
  • It comes with a little microUSB-to-USB adaptor so you can plug in a jump drive, or a USB keyboard or mouse. Handy, maybe?
  • Acer loads this thing up with tons of bloatware — close to a dozen programs you’ll probably never use. It’s enough to make a brand new tablet look cluttered right out of the box.
  • The sound it produces is pretty good. Definitely better than the Transformer Prime. At least the speakers are on different sides.

Should You Buy It?

Probably a pass. What the A700 gained in screen quality it seems to have lost in performance, keeping it right at the three star ranking. At $US450, it’s certainly not the worst deal out there, but the Nexus 7 is only $250 in Australia — and buttery smooth by comparison. Acer hasn’t officially brought the A700 to Australia yet either.

Acer Iconia A700 Specs

• Network: Wi-Fi only
• OS: Android 4.0
• CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor
• Screen: 10.1-inch 1920×1200 pixel LCD
• RAM: 1GB
• Storage: 32GB + up to 32GB microSD
• Price: $US450