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Acer Iconia A510 review: Acer Iconia A510

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To define its position in market, Acer is relying on the tablet's battery life, claiming a whopping 15 hours of continuous use. Of course, to meet this goal, you'll need to turn off all connectivity and set the screen brightness to auto-brightness. Impressively, our review stretched beyond the 15-hour estimation when we simulated these conditions in the CNET labs, playing a 720p video file continuously for just under 17 hours. However, we should point out that the auto-brightness is extremely conservative, and, while we are happy to find Acer's claims to be accurate, they don't really reflect real-world use.

For that, we conducted our regular battery-drain tests and were surprised to find that the battery life halved with the screen turned up to its maximum brightness setting — clocking in at about 7.5 hours. We also ran an internet-connected battery test, and rated the A510 at just over six hours of continuous web browsing on a Wi-Fi connection.

Compared to

Acer Iconia A510 ASUS Transformer 300T Motorola Xoom 2 iPad (32GB)
Nvidia Tegra 3
quad-core 1.3GHz
Nvidia Tegra 3
quad-core 1.2GHz
TI OMAP 4430
dual-core 1.2GHz
Apple A5X
dual-core 1GHz
10.1-inch LCD
1280x800 pixels
10.1-inch LCD
1280x800 pixels
10.1-inch LCD
1280x800 pixels
9.7-inch LCD
2048x1536 pixels
32GB plus microSD card expansion 32GB plus microSD, SD card and USB 32GB plus microSD card expansion 32GB
AU$492* AU$599* AU$720* AU$649*

*Prices correct at time of writing, but likely to change.

Camera

There isn't too much to say about the camera on the A510. It works, of course, but the results aren't particularly inspiring. You get the usual suite of camera tools on offer in Ice Cream Sandwich, but the image sensor takes only passable shots, and its lack of a flash will limit when and where you can use it effectively.

(Credit: CBSi)

Overall

On its own merits, the Iconia 510 is a solid Android tablet, with a comfortable design and good performance. Its quad-core Tegra 3 processor delivers a fluid user experience through what is, basically, a stock Android Ice Cream Sandwich interface. We were impressed that the tablet managed to fulfil Acer's 15-hour video-playback promise, though when we standardised the testing conditions, the A510 falls in line with the battery test results we see from other tablets, like the Asus Transformer 300T.

In fact, the major problem with the Acer A510 is that the 300T exists, is available for only AU$100 more and comes with its keyboard dock included in the package. Both tablets use Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, have attractive plastic builds, run on Ice Cream Sandwich and offer comparable performance. But if you have money to spend on an Android tablet right now, wouldn't you choose the one with the very handy dock and the extra battery life that it provides? That, and the fact that you needn't choose an Android tablet at all, with Apple's new iPad ready to score your tablet dollars.

Ultimately, Acer hasn't gone far enough to break new ground with the Iconia and win fans from the competition. The Iconia is a paint-by-numbers tablet computer, and while this isn't a bad product, it's hard to recommend it with the other options available.

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