Android had released the Honeycomb operating system sometime earlier this year as an OS meant for the tablet product category, Sporting this OS, Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 has reached the Indian market, even before Motorola Mobility got Xoom here.
Google built the Honeycomb user interface from the ground up and it looks nothing like its smartphone cousins. The display is divided into five home screens. It houses the NVIDIA Tegra 2 systems on chip with a snappy 1 GHz dual-core processor. Navigating through the home screens is breezy and long holding a particular home screen will give you a zoomed out view of the five home screens with options to add more widgets, applications and wallpapers, among other things to the screens via a simple drag-and-drop mechanism.
You will notice apps placed in a drawer section on the homepage, which houses related applications. There’s Multimedia, Social, eReading and GameZone which are the broad categories and you will have related applications such as audio/video player apps under Multimedia. Lumiread and the Browser under eReading and so on, With the help of a round button housing the plus sign, you can add extra applications under each section. This functionality is somewhat similar to the Folder function in the iOS, except that in the Honeycomb OS, you do not have the ability to name the folder. Visually though it looks much better than the Folder implementation on the iOS, but then again, it just adds more clicks needed to get into a particular application.
The settings menu is quite exhaustive with an additional option called Dolby Mobile. You’ll notice apps placed in a drawer section on the homepage, which houses related applications. There’s Multimedia, Social, eReading and GameZone ad broad categories.
The Iconia A500 has an LCD screen which was a huge let down. The picture quality and brightness levels are goos, but the colour accuracy is dabatable as we found a heavy bluish cast on the screen. The on-board 5MP camera is quite okay for casual shooting in outdoor conditions. Shoots taken indoors were noisy. Video shooting is poor with jerky videos and there’s no option to zoom in or out while live shooting. However, we liked the implementation of camera functionalities in the rotary dial sort of a way. The Acer Iconia Tab A500 lasted a good two days on full charge, with regular surfing on Wi-Fi, watching YouTube videos, push email, listening to music, gaming and reading ebooks.
The onscreen keypad is great to type on in both the landscape and portrait mode. In the landscape and portrait mode. In the landscape mode, you will ot be able to type comfortably with your thumb, so you will end up using one hand to hold the tablet and the other to type. Holding the tablet in the portrait mode allows easy typing, but your as the keypad is located in the bottom, balancing the tablet while speedy typing is an issue.
The Acer Iconia Tab A500 has a good underlying software coupled wi9th decent hardware. But we think the display can be improved. The user interface of the Honeycomb OS and its response is great. However the OS needs a learning curve and isn’t as intuitive as the iOS. As far as Android tablets go, this is the best on the market right now thanks to its dual-core processor and operating system. The price of Rs 27,990 is lower than the iPad 2 (16GB).
Operating System: Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS;
Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels;
Screen size: 10.1 inches;
Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 2 (1 GHz);
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0;
Camera: 5 MP (rear), 2 MP (front facing)
Acer India Pvt Ltd
Web site: www.acer.co.in
Price: Rs 27,990