Acer has added two new low-cost Android tablets to its lineup, the 8-inch A1-830 ($149) and the 7-inch B1-720 ($129), and we’re much more excited about the former. We just went hands-on with both devices at CES 2014, and the A1 looks like a much better deal.
The A1-830 reminds us a lot of the iPad mini with its clean white front and aluminum back. We also like the bright and colorful IPS display, which has the same 1024 x 768-pixel resolution as the $299 iPad mini. We enjoyed wide viewing angles during our hands-on time.
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Weighing .84 pounds and measuring .32 inches, the A1-830 is slim and light for a 7.9-inch tablet, and it offers microSD expansion. Under the hood is Intel’s Atom 1.6-GHz Clover Trail CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
The A1-830 has back camera that shoots up to 2560 x 1920 pixels and a front shooter that does 1600 x 1200, and Acer includes its own camera app, which provides easy access to multiple settings.
Unfortunately, the B1-720 was the opposite of impressive in person. The low-res 1024 x 600 screen suffers from narrow viewing angles. Just viewing the display slightly off-axis resulted in a washed-out image. At least the red design option looks nice.
The B1′s specs aren’t terrible for the price, including a dual-core MediaTek CPU and 16GB of storage, but there are much better options available who prefer a smaller tablet. That includes the 7-inch ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 for $139, which steps up to a quad-core processor and 1280 x 800 display.
Bottom line: The Acer A1-830 looks like a strong value–and one of the most pleasant tablet surprises of CES 2014–but the B1-720 is a slate you should likely skip.