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Acer Iconia Tab A500

August 22nd, 2011

Acer Iconia Tab A500

This is our new toy. I’ve been wanting a tablet for awhile but wasn’t willing to spend $500 for something I didn’t really need. When this tablet went on sale at Target ($399 with a $100 gift card) we decided to get it to share until I was ready to buy one for myself since it wasn’t my first (or second) choice but Joe would be fine keeping it as his own.

Since we’ve had it for over a week now I can safely grade my Android tablet experience.

Pros

  • It’s pretty easy to use.
  • The screen quality is quite nice with a crisp, bright resolution.
  • There’s lots of apps to choose from between the Android Market and Amazon’s App Store.
  • I can view Flash content (although not as completely as I had hoped).
  • Angry Birds is more fun to play on a bigger screen.
  • It’s great for watching podcasts or listening to music while working out on my elliptical machine.

Cons

  • I can’t type worth a damn on it. It took me five minutes to type out the first sentence in this post and then I got fed up and turned on my desktop. I can type faster on my iPhone! Plus there’s a noticeable lag between the time I type a letter and it appears on the screen which is super annoying.
  • Certain apps, like Words With Friends, don’t update on Android properly. Joe was having a hard time with WWF on his phone too yet it updates flawlessly on my iPhone.
  • Rearranging apps on the personal screens is a big pain in the arse.
  • Most apps aren’t designed to take advantage of the tablet screen size. Even YouTube shows up tiny compared to the overall screen size (it does the same thing on my 42″ plasma through the PS3).
  • Flash content doesn’t necessarily work properly. I couldn’t get my cat in Sushi Cat 2 to move around so it was pointless trying to play on the tablet and that’s reason #1 I even considered Android besides the price – I wanted to access Flash!
  • You really cannot properly share a tablet with the rest of the family unless you enjoy constantly having to log in and out of various apps and websites because you cannot define different users. For some things like Facebook, which doesn’t have a dedicated tablet app anyway, I just installed Opera so I can log on through there while Joe logs on via the native web browser. Tablets are being treated as personal devices much like phones but I think the developers should consider the fact that if you have a few people in a family they cannot afford to buy a tablet for each person.

Overall I think this tablet is ok but not really worth spending more than a few hundred dollars on. I’ve been spoiled by my iPhone and miss the iOS experience. The only thing Android currently does better than Apple is handle notifications (when they work – ahem – Words With Friends) and background downloading of apps, both of which should be improved with iOS 5.

I’m holding out to see what Amazon has up their sleeve as I’ve heard rumors of a tablet coming out this Fall, although the chances that it will be better than an iPad are slim to none as far as I’m concerned. I really want an iPad 3 when it comes out if I can stomach the cost. I could handle $400 but that’s as much as I’m willing to pay so I doubt we’ll be getting another tablet anytime soon.

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