Analyzing The Acer Iconia Tab A200
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This week we reviewed the recently introduced Acer Iconia Tab A700 while today we have a look at another tablet from Acer which came out in the first part of the year. It’s the more affordable Iconia Tab A200 model which comes with a dual core CPU unlike the A700 which packs the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip. When it came out it had a retail price tag of $349 but now you should be able to get it for less than $300 which is a pretty sweet deal for such a product.
The tablet measures 10.2 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches and it weighs 1.6 pounds so it’s not the lightest or slimmest models on sale today but even so it feels nice when you hold it in your hand. Thanks to this thicker size, Acer had enough room to install a full-size USB 2.0 port which is sitting on the left spine along with the miniUSB port, power button and the headphone jack. Below this USB 2.0 port are the Reset button and the microSD card slot which are both protected by a plastic cover. On the right side there’s a power jack, while on top you will have access to the rotation lock switch and the chrome volume rocker.
Acer used glossy plastic for the front of the Iconia Tab A200, while the thick black bezel is surrounding the tablet’s 10.1-inch display. Above this screen sitting in the center is a front-facing 2.0 megapixel camera, as opposed to the A500 where the camera sits in the upper-left hand corner, thus making video chatting a little bit odd.
The back of the tablet adopts a titanium-colored finish that is soft upon touch and features a nice dimpled pattern that not only improves grip but at the same time it eliminates the issue with fingerprints and smudges. Along the tablet’s bottom are the two speakers while a rear-facing camera has not been installed on this model.
The tablet comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that has a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels. It manages to provide some vivid colors but the viewing angles are quite limited, while when viewing videos you’ll notice a decent amount of pixelation. In addition, the brightness level is not very high as opposed to other tablets, such as the Asus Transformer Prime or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
As far as those rear speakers are concerned, these will provide mixed results as some songs will sound great while other will be muffled. These speakers barely have enough oomph to fill a room but we’ve seen worst among 10-inch tablets.
The Acer Iconia Tab A200 comes with the traditional Android keyboard that consists of big dark gray virtual keys that have enough space between one another not only in landscape mode, but also when holding the tablet in portrait mode. Also on board is the XT9 Text Input keyboard which also offers enough spacing in both situations. Both of these keyboards will provide the user with a rather mild haptic feedback, while for accessing numbers and punctuation marks you’ll have to make the switch to an alternate keyboard.
Several weeks ago the tablet received the update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which means that the lock screen now has a big digital clock with the battery status and date as well sitting to the left while to the right is the lock. If you press & hold the latter it will reveal four shortcuts which you can customize by going into Settings. As standard, these four shortcuts are for Gmail, Google Search, Gallery and the Browser.
Just like other Iconia Tab tablets from Acer, the A200 comes with the company’s Ring interface which can be launched by tapping on the circle which you will notice sitting in the system bar. In this menu you’ll be able to open one of the three apps or you can take a screenshot. Sitting to the right of the browser shortcut is the gallery of URL thumbnails which you can thumb through, while in the center there’s a Search icon. On the outer left you will have access to the sliding volume control.
As you would expect from a tablet running on ICS, this one offers five homescreens, with the first one holding the digital clock widget that will also show you the weather and date. On the right side of the screen there are no less than eight apps, including SoundHound, Acer Clear.fi and YouTube.
Under the hood of this tablet from Acer is a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1.0 GHz with 1GB of DDR2 RAM which although it might not sound that great it’s actually enough to provide the user with a smooth and silky experience. Menus and applications will open very fast while switching between the running applications is done without any noticeable amount of lag. Also quick are multitouch gestures like pinch-to-zoom.
That 2.0 mpx front-facing camera is capable of taking photos at a maximum resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 pixels while video recording can be done at up to 720p. Most of the photos grabbed with this camera are on the dull side and the sharpness level is also quite low. As far as the video is concerned, most of your recordings will turn out to be grainy so the quality is far from being stellar.
If you are interested in the performance of the battery, you might want to know that the one in this Acer Iconia Tab A200 can last for about 8 hours and 40 minutes during LAPTOP Battery Test which as we said in previous articles it consists of web surfing over a Wi-Fi network. This performance is pretty good since the average among Android-running tablets is of almost seven hours.
We end our review by mentioning that the tablet is available in 8GB and 16GB versions, as well as with a choice of a metallic red or a titanium gray finish. It might not be the best tablet you’ve seen but it can offer a fair compromise between price and features which certainly some of you will appreciate.