Acer Iconia Tab 10 is a Bargain at $200 w/ WXGA, $250 w/ WUXGA

Taiwanese OEM Acer, Inc. (TPE:2353) was a star of the personal computer market last decade given it role as a leader in the netbook craze.  But as netbook sales died down and tablet sales ignited, Acer has fallen on harder times.  But the company continues to steadfastly stand behind its Iconia line of tablets, which launched in Nov. 2010.

Its latest model, the Acer Iconia Tab 10 (Iconia A3-A20), continues Acer’s strategy of pushing mid-range hardware packages at low price points.  A fourth generation design the Iconia Tab 10 inherits the legacy of the past Iconia 10.1 tablet family members which include:

  • Apr. 2011
    • Tab A500 (Android, WXGA, WiFi-only) / Tab A501 (same, but w/ 3G/4G)
  • May 2011
    • Tab W500 (Android, WXGA, Windows)
  • Jan. 2012
    • Tab A200 (Android, WXGA, WiFi-only)
  • July 2012
    • Tab A210 (Android, WXGA, WiFi-only) / Tab A211 (same, but w/ 3G)
  • Aug. 2012
    • Tab A510 (Android, WXGA, WiFi-only) / Tab A511 (same, but w/ 3G/4G)
    • Tab A700 (Android, 1080p, WiFi-only) / Tab A701 (same, but w/ 3G/4G)
  • Nov. 2012
    • Tab W510 (Windows, WXGA, WiFi-only or w/ 3G/4G) 
  • Nov. 2013
    • A3-A10 (Android, WXGA, WiFi-only)

Announced in Oct. 2014, the Iconia Tab 10 is powered by Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android OS and has been slowly expanding its online and offline retail presence over the past few months.

As with recent generations there’s two different display options — the baseline WXGA (1,280×800; 16:10 aspect ratio) offering and a higher resolution WUXGA (1,920×1,200 pixels; 16:10 aspect ratio) variant.

The biggest selling point of the new model is the price.  At $199 USD for the baseline WXGA model and $249 for the full HD (FHD) WUXGA model, this is one of the most affordable tablets on the market.  The baseline model is comparable to the LG Electronics, Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) E10 tablet which is currently retailing for around $220 USD.  On the FHD side, the Iconia Tab 10 is similar in spec to Hewlett-Packard Comp.’s (HPQ) 10 Plus tablet which retails for $265 USD.

Acer is only undercut by fellow Taiwanese manufacturer ASUTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) whose HD and FHD Transformer Pads (HD–> TF103X; FHD–> TF700T) retail for $180 and $220 USD, respectively.  However, it’s worth noting that the FHD model only has 1 GB of memory.

So the Iconia Tab 10 is currently the second cheapest option for Android tablet buyers.

Acer’s use of 16:10 aspect ratio displays is one of the quirky features of the tablet that will appeal to some and turn others off.  The extra width allows Acer to display controls on the sides of the screen during 720p or 1080p playback w/out overlapping with the video.  It also is optimal for display two PDF pages or other document pages of text side by side.

Both models come with MediaTek, Inc. (TPE:2454) system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, RAM memory modules, and NAND flash storage allotments as the A3-A20 models.  The baseline model comes with:

  • MediaTek MT8127 chipset
    • CPU: 4x ARM Cortex-A7 cores @ 1.3 GHz
    • GPU: ARM Mali-450 MP4 @ 600 MHz
  • 1 GB DRAM (DDR3L)
  • 16 GB of NAND flash

The more expensive model comes with:

  • Same chipset, but w/ 1.5 GHz CPU core clock
  • 2 GB DRAM
  • 32 GB of NAND flash

Other features include:

  • Color: black or white
  • Cameras: 2 megapixel front-facing “selfie” camera, 5 MP rear camera
  • Ext. Storage: microSD/microSDHC slot
  • Speakers: Dolby Labs, Inc. (DLB) Stereo Surround Sound
  • Wireless:
  • MediaTek MT6627
  • IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 5,700 or 5,910 mAh battery

The most confusing aspect is the battery.  Some WXGA and WUXGA variants have 5,700 mAh cells, others have 5,910 mAh.  There’s no price difference to tell you which you’re getting.  Buyers would be wise to try to purchase the higher capacity models.

Sadly there’s no Android 5.0 Lollipop onboard yet.  The tablets are still stuck on Android 4.4 KitKat, although an upgrade to Lollipop is in the works.

At its price point the Iconia is a legitimate contender for Android buyers’ dollars. But the Iconia also finds itself stuck in between more expensive premium models (in terms of design) like the HP 10 Plus and ASUSTek’s lower priced lineup.