Acer Iconia A1-830 Hands-on: Quality iPad mini Alternative for $149

Acer_Iconia_A380_new_lead_2

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.

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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.

acer Iconia A1

MORE: Top iPad Alternatives

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.

Acer Iconia B1

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.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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