The tablet market is one market which seems to be slowly being pushed out. As phones reach phablet status and laptops begin to hit the 11-inch marker, it seems the tablet has little room to maneuver. As such, some manufacturers have taken their foot off of the pedal when it comes to tablets. However, Acer is not one of them. The company already has a number of tablet options to their name and now an update to their 10-inch model has arrived in the form of the Acer Iconia Tab 10. Time to take a look.
Editor Notes: The Acer Iconia Tab 10 was reviewed over a period of two weeks and running on Android 4.4.2
The Acer Iconia Tab 10 is unlikely to be winning any design awards this year. In terms of the hardware, there is very little to comment on from an individualistic standpoint. The appearance of the device, especially on first impressions, is one of a generic tablet. The Iconia Tab 10 comes in white and adopts somewhat of an iPad perspective from the front. Not to mention, the silver accents on the back do little to combat this impression. It is also worth pointing out that there is some serious bezel action going on here with the Iconia 10, looking as though it has a surround all of its own or trapped within a picture frame.
In terms of the actual build, again, no design winner here. The device is designed to be affordable while also designed to be portable. With these two points in mind, the Iconia Tab 10 is largely plastic and feels this way. That said, in spite of any amazingly obvious design points, there is nothing wrong with the hardware. It is slightly plasticky, but is built well and does feel like a long-lasting, albeit, basic option. Of course, for a tablet the two most important factors are going to be the display and the processor. The display is consistent with the rest of the tablet offering an average (but sufficient) Full HD IPS LCD display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution. This results in a decent video and gaming experience when considering the cost of the device. In terms of the processor, you are looking at a MediaTek (MT8127) Quad-Core Processor (clocking at 1.5GHz) coupled with a Mali 450 for graphics processing. So again, nothing special but also nothing critically wrong.
The tablet is reasonably light and does come with enough hardware connections to make it a worthwhile purchase. These include a microSD card slot, mini-USB and mini-HDMI which are all positioned (along with the power button) running down the left-hand side of the device. The top, bottom and other side remains largely unoccupied, with only the volume keys positioned along the top edge. In terms of the physical dimensions, the Iconia Tab 10 comes with a width of 10.08 inches, a depth of 6.73 inches and a height of 0.35 inches while weighing in at 1.12 lbs
Following on from the hardware summary, the software likewise is unlikely to be the reason you opt for the Iconia Tab 10. During the review period, the device came running on Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) which is what comes running out-of-the-box. As such, all of the KitKat additions are in attendance and present. Besides this, the software was also rather generic in terms of what is offered. This is largely a stock type experience and therefore unlike some of the other manufacturers, there are few specific-Acer branded or clever software tricks up the Iconia Tab 10's sleeve. That said, this is a device with budget in mind, and therefore, one should not expect the likes of a Samsung level of software tweaking. If you are looking for a close-to-stock tablet then this will certainly work. One notable Acer software feature which was noted and should be briefly touched upon was the Floating Widget app. Once activated, the floating widget essentially offers users an on-screen calendar/map/calculator/notepad feature. This was rather handy for those who need a quick fix to any of those features which can be quick launched from the homescreen as default.
In contrast, one notable negative with the software on the Tab 10, is the level of bloatware in effect out of the box. It is not excessive, however, it is there and to a fairly hefty enough degree. Most notably is the high level of Amazon bloatware which seems to be in effect with as little as five Amazon apps and a full page banner all included. Not to mention, a number of other strategic commercial partners throwing their wares in too. These include the likes of Evernote, Hulu, McAfee, OfficeSuite and TuneIn.
While on the subject of apps, there are a few of Acers in there too. While there is little Acer software, there are a number of Acer apps which effectively act as Acer advertisements. These include, Acer Suggests which offers suggestions on other apps you might want to download as well as Acer Accessories, which basically offers a quick route to the Acer Accessory site for any hardware add-ons you might want to purchase. Other than this, the Iconia Tab 10 does come with a lightweight and stock-like level of software.
Cameras are always a slightly sore point when it comes to tablets. At present, and in spite of being a mobile device, manufacturers do not typically offer a higher level of camera ability of features on their tablets. That is, in comparison to smartphones. This trend is typical and continued when it comes to the Iconia Tab 10. The rear camera is a 5-megapixel offering while the front facing option is a more modest 2-megapixel camera. Neither offered spectacular images and instead were much more of a mediocre level when tested. Not to mention, the general software on offer for the camera on the Iconia 10 is also rather basic. Focusing was difficult and lacked the ability to effectively focus to any great detail. You can check out a small selection of the type of images you can expect from the Iconia Tab 10 below.
There were certainly no major issues when it came to either the performance of the Iconia Tab 10 or the battery life. Although, both were considered somewhat middle of the road, this is actually where the device excels. Due to it's generally close-to-stock nature and no overwhelming battery hogging features or abilities, the Iconia Tab 10 ran smooth, and without issue. This was largely thanks to the sufficiently sized 5,950mAh battery which comes packed within the unit. As such, on a general usage basis, the device ran fine for 6-7 hours without any obvious issues.
As you would expect, and in reality not a specific Acer issue, but the device does begin to run hot quite quickly when any video or gaming was played for any significant duration. Although, this was not necessarily hotter than what you would expect or find on similar range tablets, it is a point to note.
The Acer Iconia Tab 10 is a solid performing tablet. There is no overwhelming reason to pick up the Iconia Tab 10 specifically. That said, if you are not after the latest Nexus or Samsung device but are more interested in a solid performing, close-to-stock experience and one which comes at an affordable price then this might be the tablet worth picking up. At the very least, it is one worth considering. Priced at $249.99 this is an an affordable option and one which does compete on most specs and abilities. This is not a tablet to be picked up expecting anything out of the ordinary. However, this does seem like a workhorse option, which will give you all the abilities of a solid tablet and at an affordable price.