Acer Iconia Tab A700 In-Depth Review
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The Acer Iconia Tab A700 is one of the few tablets on sale today that has a high resolution display which could make it a worthy adversary of Apple’s third-gen iPad which has the gorgeous Retina Display. The new A700 is basically the A510 mode but with a 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution display. However, it seems that Acer did not provide additional hardware power for the tablet in order to handle the new high-res display, resulting in a rather sluggish performance.
You will notice an attractive silver plating on both sides of the tablet, while the back of the A700 is very grippy thanks to some sort of composition that seems like a mixture between leather and rubber. We don’t know what sort of material this is but what’s important is that it provides the necessary grip for securely holding the tablet in your hand. One other reason why it feels comfortable to hold is due to its rounded corners, just like they are on the recently introduced Nexus 7 from Google.
Acer has installed the headphone jack and the power/lock button on the left spine, while the right side holds the microSD card slot (up to 64GB card supported) and the microHDMI port. The microUSB port sits in the middle of the bottom edge while next to it is the reset pinhole. On the far left and right sides of the bottom are the speakers. The top of the tablet is quite busy as this is where you’ll find the rotation lock switch, volume rocker and the microphone pinhole. Right in the middle of the top bezel sits the 1 megapixel front-facing camera and to its left is the ambient light sensor. At the opposite side on the back of the tablet is the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera.
The recently introduced Acer Iconia Tab A700 runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.4), making it the first tablet to hit the market with this version of Google’s OS. Improvements to the screen rotation speed have been made while web page zooming should now be smoother than before.
If you have used a tablet from Acer before it means that you are probably familiar with the bundled software that comes with the A700. You will find the Acer Ring which is essentially an application shortcut and carousel-like bookmark hub which will appear after tapping at the bottom of the screen where there’s a green ring symbol. All of the apps and bookmarks that appear there are fully customizable and you can include as much as four apps or as many bookmarks as you want. This might seem useful but accessing the applications the old fashioned way is still the fastest way to do things so an extra step to do the same job is not a thing that we are willing to do since there’s an easier way around.
Also available with the Iconia Tab A700 is Acer Print which if you did not know is a built-in setting which will give you the possibility of adding printers via a network or by scanning a bar code, and after that you can directly print straight from the tablet. On board you are also going to find the very useful Acer Files which will provide you with direct access to the file system of the tablet with the help of a well-designed user interface which manages to be extremely intuitive.
Also on board is Clear.fi that in this tablet has been divided into independent Video, Photo and Music apps, but these still work for aggregating multimedia content on your home network and then stream media to and from the tablet. With the bundled Polaris Office application you can create and edit various Microsoft Office files, such as Word, PowerPoint or Excel files.
This is the second tablet coming from Acer which is powered by the quad core Tegra 3 processor developed by Nvidia, after the aforementioned A510. The CPU runs at a clock frequency of 1.30 GHz, while on the Transformer TF300 from Asus it runs at 1.20 GHz. The Asus Transformer Infinity houses the same CPU but in this case it’s clocked at 1.60 GHz. The Iconia Tab A700 packs 1GB of DDR2 memory, whereas the Infinity comes with faster DDR3 memory. Available for the moment only in a 32GB version, the Acer Iconia Tab A700 comes with support for Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, along with an accelerometer and a gyroscope.
We should mention that this is the very first Android tablet to hit the market with a 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution display since the Asus Transformer Infinity will be out in a couple of weeks. Although both tablets have the same high-res display, the one on the Asus model is considerably brighter and provides wider viewing angles. In addition, the colors are more vibrant and accurate, while the contrast feels better.
The Acer Iconia Tab A700 is fully capable of playing both 720p and 1080p clip from outside sources without any problems. As for the tablet’s cameras, these have just about the same quality as the rest of the cameras we’ve seen fitted so far on tablets so the quality is far from being spectacular. The rear camera doesn’t have an LED flash and even if there’s plenty of light available; the photos grabbed by the rear camera are mostly grainy and dull. The tablet with probably the best camera so far is the Transformer Infinity which takes great photos with the rear camera.
As we mentioned earlier, the dual speakers have been mounted by Acer on the bottom edge of the tablet. Even though it sports two speakers, the sound is still muffled especially when you hold the tablet in your hands. If you lay it down on a table, the quality of the audio will be improved but it’s still not that great as it is on the Transformer Infinity from Asus which by the way has just a single speaker.
All things considered, Acer has made some improvements to the A510 by launching this A700 model but there are still some areas which need to be fixed in order to make this model more competitive among Android-running tablets.