Acer Outs the 7.9″ Iconia A1 – a $200 Nexus 7 Competitor

Acer-Iconia-A1-810-Tablet[1]Acer has just unveiled a new 7.9″ Android tablet, confirming the rumors that have been circulating the past few days.

If the Iconia A1’s performance lives up to the specs then this is a seriously capable tablet. It’s running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU. It ships with 1GB RAM, 8GB/16GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, and a PowerVR SGX graphics chip.

Unlike the Nexus 7, the new Iconia A1 has both front and rear cameras (5MP and VGA resolution). This tablet is also equipped with Wifi/Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, and a gyroscope.

But the news isn’t all good.

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Acer had to cut corners somewhere and they chose to use a cheaper screen. The Iconia A1 has a 7.9″ IPS panel in the screen but it’s an older and lower resolution screen. The screen resolution is only 1024×768. While that is thesame screen resolution as on the current iPad Mini, it is absolutely anemic compared to the screen on the Nook HD, KFHD, or the Nexus 7.

The screen resolution might only matter to a specs geek but I know it will turn some away. I for one can’t tell you why it would matter. I have an 8″ tablet sitting on my desk at the moment that has a similar screen resolution. It’s quite usable, and it is one of the tradeoffs that comes with a lower price tag.

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The Iconia A1 has a 3.25Ah battery which is expected to offer 7 hours of battery life on a single charge. The weight is listed at 460 grams. There’s no info yet on the ship date but according to the press release the MSRP is $199, with some press reports saying that this tablet will be sold for $169.

The lower resolution screen and the weaker battery make the Iconia A1 merely an alternative to the year old Nexus 7 and not actually superior. That might be a good reason to pass on this tablet. There will be better options on the market in the next 2 to 3 months. The next Nexus 7, for example, should be more powerful than the current model and is rumored to cost $200.

Specs

  • Operating System: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Processor: MediaTek MT8125 (4-core, 1.20GHz, Cortex-A9)
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Internal storage: 8GB/16GB versions (11.8GB free to the user in the latter)
  • Graphics: PowerVR SGX
  • Display: 7.9-inch 1024 ? 768 pixel, capacitive IPS
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Cameras: 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera, recording 1080p video and a VGA front camera
  • Sensors, other connectivity: GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, 3.5mm jack, MicroSD card slot, Micro USB 2.0
  • Battery: 3250 mAh battery
  • Thickness: 11.10 mm
  • Weight: 460 grams

7 thoughts on “Acer Outs the 7.9″ Iconia A1 – a $200 Nexus 7 Competitor

  1. I guess it’s really a question of how badly you want the SD card vs. how much you like the Nexus 7 screen. I imagine the next Nexus 7 still won’t have an SD card slot…

  2. Very expensive for the specs offered. A number of Chinese tablets with 9.7 inch screen and resolution of 2048×1536 pixels sell for less than that (though with less perdormant processor).

  3. The “older and lower resolution screen … is only 1024×768″. This is also the resolution of the iPad Mini, so many people might not find this kind of lower-level screen a serious problem.

    1. True. I should have mentioned that.

      But it’s also fairly likely that the iPad Mini is going to be updated this year with a higher resolution screen. The Iconia A1 should have had a similar higher resolution screen, IMO, instead of the XGA resolution screen.

  4. Sounds like a very decent lower-end tablet, but has some of the important features that are lacking in many generic no-name chinese tablets. Namely: Multi-Mb back facing camera for taking pics, bluetooth, GPS, and card slot for those of us that want to be able to swap out movie collections for traveling.

  5. I would appreciate some kind of test of WiFi and GPS. I have had tablets, which don’t hear a word from wifi where my other equipement is totally satisfied. I have had tablets with GPS which don’t find but a bird or two in Mojave desert, when my other eqipement show a full squadron of birds in a car under full tree shade.

    IMHO GPS and WiFi are the most important devices in a tablet for a traveller, camera and BT coming next.

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