Acer has added to its Iconia tablet line with the introduction of the A1, a 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPC display device, and Pocket-lint had a play with the soap-bar-shaped tablet at Acer's global product launch in New York city.
The A1 is all about Acer adding premium features above and beyond its earlier Iconia B1 model - which we first saw at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in January - including 3G connectivity in the top-spec A1-811 version. We did wonder when mobile connectivity was going to land and it's good to see Acer embracing that here.
The Iconia A1 runs Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, which we found ran smoothly throughout. The screen, too, is a small yet decent-sized 7.9-inch panel that's bright to the eye. The 1,024 x 600 resolution screen isn't HD, which may come as a disappointment, but we found it responsive to the touch when swiping through screens.
With a quad-core processor on board there's a lot more power compared to the B1 too, but that introduces a price premium: £149 for the 8GB Wi-Fi-only A1-810 version, or a bit more of a leap in price to £210 for the 8GB memory 3G-capable A1-811.
For the price point it's a fair balance for what's on offer and the ability to expand storage via a microSD slot means up to an extra 32GB can expand the stacks of content you can load for minimal extra cost.
In the tablet space it's all about being competitive and feature packed and we think the A1 succeeds where it matters. It's not a luxury finish by any means, and we're not keen on the clearly visible join around the product's sides, but otherwise the smooth plastic casing is comfortable to hold and practical. It's light, too, at around the 400g mark so it would be an ideal companion in a small bag without being a weighty burden.
We've not had enough time to judge how the A1 will cope under the strain of extended use, but Acer is claiming it will last for up to 7 hours. A Micro-USB port provides reasonable connectivity, while a 5-megapixel camera to the rear can also capture 1080p30 movie clips.
Overall this is a solid spec model for the price point - the near-7-inch tablet space continues to expand and it's good to see more options out there, although we don't feel that this Iconia has much wow factor.