The Acer Iconia Tab A510 offers Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich - and quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 action at an affordable price
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 was first announced at CES back in January but has now finally arrived to do battle with the likes of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime at the upper end of the big-screen Android tablet scale.
And, due to it packing a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, it could also do battle with Apple and tempt people away from the well-worn iPad path.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Build
Original the Acer Iconia Tab A510 is not. Looking a lot like its older brother, the Acer Iconia Tab A500, but with the rubberised matte backing of its little sibling, the Iconia Tab A200 – the A510 hardly stretches the boundaries of tablet innovation.
And it’s quite a chunky monkey as well, measuring in at almost 11mm at its thickest point and weighing a hefty 680g.
However, it’s not a bad looking tablet despite its lack of uniqueness and its bulky build. We like the way the edges are softly curved, with an attractive silver trim on the sides, and there’s plenty of port and expansion options on board.
On the top edges there’s a reassuringly sturdy volume rocker and lock switch, which are well positioned for right thumb operation in portrait mode. On the bottom you’ll find a Micro-USB port and a hard-reset button.
The A510 also boasts a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Micro HDMI port, space for a SIM card (on the 3G version) and a microSD card.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Screen
The Acer Iconia Tab A510, like the A500 that came before it, has a 10.1-inch display. Sadly, it’s of the TFT variety, a technology that lacks the impressive features and vibrant colours of the Asus Transformer Prime's Super IPS+ panel, or the Retina Display on the new iPad.
It is very glossy, with a slightly washed-out feel, a tendency to struggle with glare under bright lights, and it’s also susceptible to becoming riddled with fingerprint smudges.
It is still a HD display though, one with a 1280 x 800 resolution, and for a tablet that costs less than £350 this is still pretty impressive despite its shortcomings.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Usability
The soft rubberised backing of the A510 makes it comfortable to handle and, despite its slightly podgy waistline, it’s nice enough to hold even for long periods of time.
The fact that there’s 32GB onboard storage means that it’s fantastic for storing all of your digital media and, should you need more space, you can make use of the microSD expansion.
Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, has been left in an almost native state, which will please enthusiasts of Google’s mobile OS. The major addition from Acer is its Touch Ring, which provides quick view carousel platform for easy access to your favourite apps or web pages.
It’s accessed by tapping the prominent green circle button found on the bottom bar and you can tweak it to be a one-stop-shop of all of your favourite features.
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 also boasts a rear facing 5MP camera that is also capable of shooting 1080p HD videos. Sadly, there’s no flash and a distinct lack of shooting options. Pictures, and videos, aren’t great quality with the usual tablet camera crime of overly grainy images.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Performance
The standout feature of the Acer Iconia Tab A510 is its engine room. Powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, backed up with a healthy 1GB of RAM, the A510 breezed through the array of tasks that we threw its way.
It had no worries playing back HD video, from a range of file formats, music sounded great (albeit a tad muffled because of the speaker position) from the Dolby-infused stereo speakers, and high-end Android gaming was as smooth as silk.
App loading, switching and killing is all lightning fast and, when it came to file managing, the A510 had no issues playing nicely with both our PC and Mac for simple drag-and-drop action.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Battery
There’s plenty of battery life thanks to the substantial 9,800mAH power pack on board. You’ll comfortably get between 10 and 15 hours of regular use of it, and days of standby. What's more, in our HD movie streaming stress test it lasted well over 7 hours before packing in.
We did encounter issues charging the A510 though. It takes an age to hit 100 per cent, and it shows absolutely no sign of life until it has been charging for around three hours.
Acer Iconia Tab A510: Verdict
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 may be a bit of a chunky tab, with a waistline that is more 2010 than 2012, and it may have a HD screen that is hardly likely to cause any worry over in camp Apple or Asus but, at less than £350, this is a tablet that’s more than worthy of your attention.
The Nvidia Tegra 3 processor creates a lightning fast performance experience that belies its mediocre build quality, and with the healthy onboard storage, microSD expansion and HDMI action, you’re looking at a brilliant HD media and gaming tab.
It’s only real rival at this price-tag is the hybrid Asus Transformer 300 but, if you want to keep it simple, and save yourself a few quid at the same time, you can’t ignore the Acer Iconia Tab A510.
Acer Iconia Tab A510 availability: Available now
Acer Iconia Tab A510 price: £349
Review by Paul Lamkin