Simple and forgettable is the story of Acer's Iconia One 7. In fact, it's almost as if Acer took it out of a time capsule from 2012.
Indeed, the unremarkable plastic design, simple specs and subpar screen evoke an earlier era of 7-inch tablets, but Acer somewhat salvages the One 7 with an on-trend budget starting price of $129 (available in the UK for £110; Australian availability has not yet been announced). That why even with its shortcomings, those on a tight budget should take note. If your needs are basic, like checking email and Web browsing, it's a steal.
Acer also offers the budget-friendly, which brandishes a sleeker look and can be found online for around the same price as the Iconia One 7; but if you desire a tablet for activities like gaming and watching HD video, you'll have to pony up $100 more for a slate with better performance and build.
The plastic body of the Acer Iconia One 7 feels flimsy. It has a fragile quality to its build, the same way a wooden pencil or crayon can break in your hand if you hold it the wrong way. The plus side is that it's lightweight, and sitting at 7 inches, it's very compact and portable.
The top edge has a microphone pinhole, Micro-USB port, and headphone jack. The power button, volume rocker, and microSD card slot are on the right edge; speakers are at the bottom of the back.
Acer offers the Iconia One 7 in a few different colors, depending on your region. My review unit was black, causing the wavy, weaved texture on the back to remind me of smooth, balding tires. It feels comfortable, in your hands, but I didn't like the slippery feel of the finish. Aesthetically, I found the semi-psychedelic weave pattern very pleasing.
Thick bezels frame the screen like a gaudy plastic picture frame and help date the design of the tablet, along with its thick girth. The Iconia One 7 stands in the shadows of the sleeker, which can be found online for about the same price.
The Acer Iconia One 7 ships with Android 4.2 and is upgradable to Android 4.4. There isn't much modification to the interface and I enjoyed the almost pure Android experience.
The pre-loaded apps on the Iconia One 7 err more on the side of bloatware. Frequent travelers might appreciate the pre-loaded hotel booking app, and Google Play-averse individuals might find what they're looking for in the included app store alternative (an app that sells apps), but I found the bloatware to be extraneous. Also, you cannot uninstall them only disable them, which sounds like a cheesy line in a post-Internet sci-fi movie.
For a budget tablet, the Iconia One 7 performs just fine. It can do all the basic tasks without a hitch, but doing anything other than simple activities is a test of patience.
Large games take minutes to load and even longer to download. During game play, graphics were sometimes choppy and lag was frequent. Simple mobile games fared better, but graphics suffered from pixelation.
The 1,280x800-pixel resolution screen is average for a budget tablet -- any lower and it wouldn't be worth a second glance. HD video looks fine, but I found images to lack a vibrant pop. The narrow range of colors is evident when watching rich, animated videos, but less so with live-action films and shows.
The display has good viewing angles, however the screen is very glare-prone and makes visibility difficult in bright environments, even with the tablet's brightness cranked all the way up.
If you're on a shoestring budget, it's hard to argue against the Acer Iconia One 7's bargain basement starting price. At $129, it's $100 less than the top 7-inch tablets like the and , and if you just want a slate for basic tasks like checking email, browsing the Web, and rewatching "Breaking Bad," it's a steal. However, anyone who wants to do more on their slate should keep saving for an upgrade. It will be worth the wait and the extra cash.