Acer’s first 2013 stab at challenging the likes of Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad Mini might have been a little underwhelming, but the Taiwan-based company is anything but a one-trick pony. The Iconia Tab A1 has looked much better on paper than the B1 ever since it first starred in a “leak”, and now, courtesy of Bulgarian website Tablet.bg, we have the chance to see it in the flesh as well.
And although it’s still at least one month away from its commercial release, I have to say I’m already pretty impressed by the thing and excited to see it on store shelves. Sure, it has its flaws, but if rumors about a $170 starting price point turn out to be true, it’s going to be very hard to say no to the A1.
Before getting down to the tab’s Bulgarian preview, let’s take one more look at its spec sheet, as revealed by Tablet.bg:
7.9-inch IPS panel with 1,024 x 768 pixels resolution
Quad-core 1.2 GHz MediaTek MT8125 CPU
PowerVR SGX GPU
1 GB of RAM
8/16 GB of internal storage space
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
5 MP rear-facing camera with auto focus
VGA front webcam
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, microSD card slot, micro USB 2.0
3,250 mAh battery
11 mm thickness
460 grams weight
Not too shabby, eh? Again, if and only if the Iconia Tab A1 will cost below $200. Otherwise, I for one am definitely going to find fault with the measly battery (the 7-inch Nexus 7 has a 4,325 mAh ticker), the not so great 1,024 x 768 pix res panel, or the inexplicably bulky figure (the iPad Mini weighs a full 150 grams less than this thing and measures just 7.2 mm in thickness).
But let’s see what the guy at Tablet.bg handling the gadget has had to say about the experience, shall we? First off, the design is essentially praised for being “clean and simple”, unlike the cheap-looking Iconia B1.
The new 7.9-incher is said to be easy to hold, ergonomic and fairly elegant, though I’m still a little fazed about its chunkiness.
Moving on to the display, this is also praised, especially for using the high-quality IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. The pixel density is the same 162 ppi as on the iPad Mini, but considerably behind the 216 of the Nexus 7, whereas the viewing angles are simply described as “impressive”.
Unfortunately, the tab’s previewers have been unable to benchmark the A1 and test its processor’s speed or battery life, but at least on the former we expect the thing to perform decently, albeit obviously not exactly on-par with the iPad Mini and N7.
Finally, from a software standpoint the A1 looks surprisingly “high-class”, thanks to the latest and greatest version of Android – 4.2 Jelly Bean – and a few special tweaks like the adding of something called Acer Life Image and Touch WakeApp.
Bottom line, look forward for mid-June or early July, when “sources” claim the Acer Iconia Tab A1 will be launched and be prepared to welcome one of the strongest Android-based iPad Mini contenders to date. And a short message for Apple – be afraid, be very, very afraid!