Acer Iconia A1-810 review: An affordable, forgettable 8-inch tablet

Colors in the photos were a nice balance between bright and saturated. Josh Miller/CNET

On the other hand, the photos taken by the front-facing camera looked terrible and successfully brought my self-esteem down two notches. It was like looking in a sad funhouse mirror that aged me 10 years and gave me an extra tan. All of the photos came out blurry and lacked any low-res charm.

The solitary speaker on the tablet is located on the back bottom-right corner and, depending on how you're holding the device, it can be easily obstructed. The way the volume rocker changes depending on what orientation the tablet is in, so when holding it in landscape, the volume up and down functions are reversed from how they are when you hold it in portrait mode. At maximum volume the speaker sounds tinny and weak. Audio quality at medium and low volumes is average and listenable.

One lonely speaker. Josh Miller/CNET

Performance
The Iconia A1-810 is zippy and lag-free while performing regular activities like checking e-mail and browsing. The tablet even fared well while multitasking and quickly switching between different apps. At one point the tablet randomly shut down on me, but other than that I didn't have any problems.

Gaming performance isn't mind-blowing but it was consistently smooth. Riptide GP ran without a hitch, but the A1-810's unimpressive gyroscope was outperformed by the iPad Mini's. 3D Mark test results reiterate that the Iconia A1's gaming abilities are good, but not great.

Device CPU GPU RAM OS tested
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad (4412) Mali T400MP4 (quad-core) 2GB Android 4.1.2
Google Nexus 7 1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 ULP GeFOrce (12-core) 1GB Android 4.2.2
HP Slate 7 1.6GHz dual-core Rockchip RK3066 Mali T400MP4 (quad-core) 1GB Android 4.1.1
Acer Iconia A1 1.2GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 PowerVR SGX544 (single-core) 1GB Android 4.2.2

3DMark score (Normal, 720p)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Acer Iconia A1-810
3,113
HP Slate 7
2,892

Graphics test 1, 720p (GPU, in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Acer Iconia A1-810
13

Graphics test 2, 720p (GPU, in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Slate 7
20.6
Acer Iconia A1-810
10.5

Physics test, 720p (CPU, in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Acer Iconia A1-810
24.5
HP Slate 7
14.5

Text on the screen is readable and clear although not the sharpest. Aside from the times I tried to use Touch WakeApp, response to swipe and touch was fast and accurate. I only encountered a few instances in which my swipe was misinterpreted.

When it came to video performance, in side-by-side comparisons with the iPad Mini and Nexus 7, the Iconia A1-810 held its own -- it was just as sharp and clear. It even handles dark levels better than the Nexus 7. Watching a 1080p HD video on the screen's 4:3 display reinforces the fact that its overall design is geared toward browsing and reading instead of media consumption. The black bars that frame 16:9 videos are accentuated by the tablet's thick bezels and make video playback too small to visually revel in.

HD video was clear and sharp but small on the 4:3 display. Josh Miller/CNET

The A1-810's viewing angles are good but suffer in bright light. This is not uncommon for devices with glossy screens, but the tablet's underwhelming maximum brightness contributes to this problem. Despite this, I was still able to easily use it outdoors in direct sunlight. The Iconia A1's screen brightness is comparable to the Nexus 7's, but with a lower resolution at 1,024x768 pixels instead of 1,280x800 pixels. The higher resolution on the Nexus 7 produces consistently sharper images.

Tested spec Acer Iconia A1-810 Apple iPad Mini Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Google Nexus 7
Maximum brightness 285 cd/m2 399 cd/m2 458 cd/m2 288 cd/m2
Maximum black level 0.27 cd/m2 0.49 cd/m2 0.47 cd/m2 0.28 cd/m2
Maximum contrast ratio 1,055:1 814:1 974:1 1,028:1

Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.

Video Battery life (in hours)
Acer Iconia A1-810 7.5

Conclusion
Calling the Acer Iconia A1-810 an iPad Mini replacement for Android fans because of their similar screen specs is a superficial comparison that overlooks the A1's few unique merits. Its 4:3 aspect ratio fails to deliver a wide enough canvas to make it appeal as a good movie- and TV show-watching device, and both the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD rock better screen quality and similar performance for the same price.

However, while the A1-810 doesn't sport the sleekest design, its connections and low price will appeal to those who care more about affordability than looks.

The Acer Iconia A1-810 is a humdrum Android tablet that might not fit comfortably in one hand, but if your needs and budget are modest, could fit them perfectly.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
    Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Type Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Weight 14.5 oz
  • Operating System Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Storage 16 GB
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