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Acer Iconia A500

Acer Iconia Tab A500 10in Android tablet

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Review PC manufacturers clearly haven’t been reading the script. They were supposed to over-hype their forthcoming Android 3.0 tablets as iPad-killers (check!), miss their initial launch dates (check!) and then let us all down by delivering a hunk of poorly designed, obsolete tat (er…).

Acer Iconia A500

Acer's Iconia Tab A500: lighter than a Xoom, heavier than an iPad 2

Acer has spectacularly failed in that last endeavour. Its Iconia Tab A500 is a terrific piece of kit, well-connected, respectably powerful and boasting loads of potential. My work ensures that I’m surrounded by many different tablet and touchscreen devices all the time, but I missed the Iconia Tab A500 when it was sent back.

Lifted out of its box for the first time, the tablet is noticeably lighter than a Motorola Xoom, if still heavier than an Apple iPad 2. The compromise seems to be in the quality of the casing, with the Iconia Tab in cheap but sensible grey plastic compared to the guillotine blade-like weighty ruggedness of the all-black Xoom.

The rear of the case is gently bowed, not unlike the original iPad. Carry-sleeve designers don’t like this much but it does make the tablet easy to pick up from a tabletop. The bezel around the screen at the front is quite broad, although some people appreciate having plenty of thumb space when holding the tablet book-fashion.

Acer Iconia A500

Left and right view: ports include a full-size USB 2.0 socket

Acer has put effort into cramming useful connectivity options into the device. The HDMI port is welcome, as is microUSB, but including a full-size, standard USB 2.0 port is inspired. Sure, anyone can go out a buy a microUSB-to-USB adapter cable, but making this unnecessary is a jolly friendly thing to do, in my opinion.

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