Acer Iconia A1 Tablet Delivers Quad Core for $169 (Video)

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Want an 8-inch tablet for a cheap price? The Acer Iconia A1 starts at just $169 for the 8GB version and offers a 1.2-GHz quad-core processor. You also get a unique Touch WakeApp gesture that let you launch right into your favorite apps and a microSD Card slot, which the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD lack.

We took the A1 for a spin at Acer’s launch event in New York. Can this slate really hang with the $199 competition?

MORE: Top 10 Tablets Right Now

Weighing .9 pounds and measuring .44 inches thick, the Iconia A1 is made of plastic, and it definitely feels low end. The white back resists fingerprints but is on the chintzy side. The IPS display is a mixed bag, offering wide viewing angles but a relatively low 1024 x 768-pixel resolution.

Acer Iconia A1 Back

Under the hood is a quad-core 1.2-GHz MediaTek processor that proved fairly swift during our brief hands-on time. Flipping through home screens and opening apps was fairly smooth. The 5-MP camera on the back captured bright but somewhat fuzzy images. Acer says to expect up to 7 hours of battery life.

The most unique feature of the Iconia A1 is the Touch WakeApp gesturing. Using either five fingers on the screen at once or two thumbs, you can have the tablet wake to an app of your choice. We pressed and held with five fingers to open the calendar app and used our thumbs to unlock the camera.

Acer Iconia A1 Touch WakeApp

However, we noticed lag in unlocking to apps, and the A1 had to switch from the previously opened app to our desired choice, too, which took additional time. Unless Acer is able to speed up these shortcuts, we’d much prefer using a slate that uses swipe shortcuts on the lock screen. (See the upcoming Galaxy Note 3.)

Acer Iconia A1 profile with microSD Card

On the plus side, the A1 offers both a microHDMI port and a micoSD Card slot, which means you can expand the 8GB or 16GB of internal memory with an additional 32GB of storage. The 8GB model will start at $169, while the $199 version will sell for $199 when the A1 goes on sale in June.

Overall, the Iconia A1 has an aggressive price and a bigger screen than the 7-inch competition, but the build quality gives us pause.

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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  1. chadlowe Says:

    One other Android tablet to launch this week is the Novo 8 Discovery – which compares closely to the Acer Iconia A1, but with a few key advantages: a more powerful battery (5000 mAh) compared to the 3250 mAh on the Acer, and twice the DRAM (2GB DDR3) and an 8 Core GPU (Power VR SGX544MP2). The Discovery is made by Ainol Electronics which won runner-up for Best Tablet of the Year at CES 2012, for the first Novo series tablet — with one of the first U.S. sites this new tablet is available through is called TabletSprint and is priced at $155…

    The Discovery matches most other features of the Acer, including an 7.85″ mini-iPad size screen, 16GB Memory, a Quad Core processor (Actions ATM7029/1.5 GHz), Android 4.2 O/S, Bluetooth, MicroSD, Front and Rear Cameras, and HDMI 1080p… however, the Novo 8 Discovery also has one the latest technology innovations which launched in 2013 – Miracast HD Wireless technology, that with an Adapter ($25) provides wireless connection to any HD TV – ideal for streaming movies (Netflix) and for video games as well as any other web content – essentially turning any HDTV into a computer device.

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