back to article Acer Iconia Tab A500 10in Android tablet

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: …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's a very cute kitten.

    Also, tablet doesn't sound bad either, though I'm still holding out for a Transformer or Slider.

    P.S. Like some of the new icons, still would like the dead vulture back.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up


      Just got mine today, Amazon shipped it yesterday. It is absolutely beautiful, the first time a new form factor has excited me for many long years in the industry. How it actually works out as a day-to-day machine, of course, remains to be seen.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazon


        RRP: £449.99

        Price: £444.99

        You Save: £5.00

        What a bargain... Mind you, most other places seem to have the same deal but best not mention price fixing.

    2. Gordon861


      Come on Reg, do a review of the Transformer.

      1. Paul2724


        Bizarre omission from RegHardware not to have reviewed the Transformer....

        I've had mine about 3 weeks now and its very nice indeed.

    3. Goat Jam


      OK, where do you get the fawkes icon? I don't see it on my screen anywhere when I comment. It is really bugging me. I even went to the trouble of firing up windows and the dreaded IE thinking that maybe ElReg had suffered a regression to the 00's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is for AC's

        And yes, this is Goatjam

  2. Greg J Preece


    May I be the second person to ignore the point of the article and focus on the kitty being cute?

    Looks like a good tablet though. Would love to see a review of the MeeGo one when it turns up.

  3. BorkedAgain


    That kitten is very cute. :)

    This whole fondleslab thing is getting most vexing. It's a constant battle between want and don't need, and want is gaining ground...

    1. D@v3


      Once i work out /why/ I want one, and what i'd do with it, my wallet is going to be in some serious trouble.

      and again, very cute kitten indeed ^_^

  4. Anonymous Coward

    up to now,

    after watching this item being demonstrated on QVC,(yes, I know.... but it caught my attention because of this device), it soon was on the top of my xmas wish list !!!

    this review has firmly kept it up there... unless something much better arrives on the market between now and then...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Indeed - I don't actually need one, but they are getting very tempting.

  6. Wanda Lust

    Price, the only fail

    It's about £100 too expensive.

    I played with one on store display on Monday & I was impressed but it needs to be re-priced.

    Now, the M500 I'd be even more tempted by. Maybe they can get the price right for it.

  7. Slowie
    Thumb Up

    I Own One!!!!!!!!!

    i bought the 32gb model from pc world a month ago and i can tell you right now the battery-life is awesome and i cant put the thing down. the only thing i have to say im bothered about is that it has a locked bootloader which acer is resisting to unlock (i can see their reasons) but apart from that im deffo keeping the tablet and its my new best friend atm

    1. Trixr Bronze badge

      Very easy to root

      Just do a quick search for "root iconia a500", download the apk and run it, it reboots your system after AGES, and then bob's your uncle. You can re-run it to "unroot" if you would like to run an OS update or the like.

    2. Mark 65


      Indeed it's too expensive, probably not quite by £100, but far too close to the iPad price. Like it or not it is the market leader and to get your sales you need to offer a lot more for the same price (more than microsSD and mpx in the camera) or the same for a chunk less. I've also used it and found it to be not quite as snappy in use as the iDevice which was far smoother and snappier.

      I'm getting splinters on the fence at present because I really want to be able to get something other than an iPad as I already have enough iDevices but I'm not quite feeling compelled just yet when all the Apad devices hit the same price point.

  8. rickykemp

    Price is definitely an issue with Android Tablets.

    I bought myself a really cheap Android tab about 6 months ago, and it is great, especially because i only spent £120 on it, and the only downfalls it has are a resistive screen and no flash.

    However, it has all of the features of the top end tablets like HDMI out etc. So, considering how much I got with my £120 tablet.... what would i pay for a capacative touchscreen and flash support?

    well, around £200, maximum of £250.

    At the weekend, Warehouse of Phones for Cars had a clearance deal on the 7" Galaxy Tab @ £250, and the Dell Streak for £199. If i wasn't currently a bum and had less self constraint... i would have had one of each.

  9. RockBurner

    kitten burger anyone?

    although hardly enough for a full box of nuggets. :(

    Tablet looks good - does the full size USB provide power too? (ie can it be used like a USB socket on any regular laptop?)

    1. Trixr Bronze badge

      7" vs 10"

      Dual core, better graphics, etc. If you don't need those features, fine.

      1. rickykemp
        Paris Hilton

        no one needs....

        A Tablet. So therefore, no one 'needs' those features.

        except for Paris for her, you know, unmentionables.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Exposed USB ports gathering crud.... just like every laptop on the market then. Don't recall it ever being an issue before, so why now (in fact mine has exposed firewire and HDMI as well)

  11. David Dingwall

    keyboard - not - says marketing dept

    Although the kit itself is the same, the keyboard dock is reserved for the W500 model only, and not the Android A500 edition. Accessory sales suggest to us users bluetooth option only.

    USB sockets for flash memory only, and reports say not all types work. We're all waiting for the new Honeycomb update in June/July to see what other devices will be supported.

    In the meantime v. happy with experience on the move, however thinking about a A501 with 3G when they come out soon.

    1. Sid2014

      keyboard - yes

      That's incorrect, the USB port does support a keyboard as I have used it a few times already.

      I even tried some old 128MB uSD cards with it to ensure the SD card slot worked before I bought some more memory...worked like a charm.

      I had a 1st Gen iPad and although I loved it I wanted something that would sync up with my EVO 4g without hassle. The Acer A500 does everything the iPad can do and more with the only short coming currently being the apps. Hopefully we'll continue to get more and better quality apps to change that.

  12. The First Dave Silver badge


    So, apart from dimensions, in what way is it better or worse than a real iPad ?

    1. fandom Silver badge


      It's not from apple, that's both the better and the worse

    2. Trixr Bronze badge

      Did you read the article?

      Drawbacks - it's heavier and thicker than an iPad, but it's not a brick. You need to root the device to do wireless tethering.

      It has better graphics (720p right now, and 1080p shortly with a software upgrade coming soon), SD card slot (a must-have for me), mini-HDMI that you don't need to pay Apple for a "special" cable for, and a full USB, although that's not much good for USB disks until you "root" the device and monkey around a bit.

      And you don't need to install and run bloody iTunes just to be able to switch the thing on.

    3. Sid2014

      App selection only

      Had my A500 for 2 weeks, hardware wise it is the best tablet out right now. The screen seems to draw finger prints more than iPad 1.0. Zinio just came out for it yesterday and I am ecstatic, unfortunately iOS version is much better. It had many Force Closes but that cleared up with an update this past weekend.

      Everyone seems to be rushing beta versions of their apps out for Honeycomb as there are many stories of crashing or poorly written apps but given a few months I think it will have cleared up.

  13. Trixr Bronze badge

    Would have knocked off a bit more

    ...due to the weight of the thing. I don't mind the thickness, but I wish it wasn't quite so heavy!

    Also, I found that application grouping interface a PITA, and I've deleted it already.

    Otherwise, it's a nice piece of kit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acer’s Iconia Tab keyboard costs around £80

    Can you use a standard USB keyboard in the full size USB port?

  15. Ossi

    Judging by their mobiles... won't ever get an update. It's the biggest issue with Android tablets, as far as I'm concerned. They haven't been around long enough to know how long and well they'll be supported by their manufacturers. I guess we can only look at their record in mobiles, and Acer don't do at all well in this department. In fact, only HTC of the current crop of tablet manufacturers have a pretty strong record, as far as I can tell (although I can't speak for Samsung).

    At least with Apple you know you're going to keep getting updates until the hardware can't take it any more.

  16. Arctic fox

    Well we are at least on the way to........

    .......some kit that would cause me to blow the dust off my wallet. This is definitely a step forward and the pricing actually is reasonably keen IMO for something of the given quality in a *very* young market. I'll be waiting, probably another year. 2.5 GHertz/quad core, 2 Gb RAM, 64 Gb on board storage, Bluetooth, at least two USB ports (properly supported), 7 inch form-factor (coat pocket), charging and ports dock (without a keyboard - I'll choose my own) and a "retina" display. *Then* I'll be willing to pony up, in fact I would be willing to part with some serious wonga.

  17. Hein Monnig

    Connectivity rules

    I'm typing this on my own A500 - the device is phenomenal! Why's it better than the I pad? The ports and DivX... So far, every flash drive and portable hard disk plugged in has been accessible. And with a player like Rockplayer installed, all my AVI movies play straight away, and beautifully. The other reason why I bought it, was for browsing. Opera Mobile works magnificently. All in all, I'm very happy that I reallocated some of the children's inheritance money for the Acer fondleslab (great word; I'm also forcing my kids to use it).

  18. Tom Samplonius
    Thumb Up

    How is it diferent from the iPad?

    The A500 has a bigger screen (10" vs. 9"), making it heavier. And the screen has more pixels too, so it isn't just physically bigger.

    The A500 has support for add-in storage, so if you get the 16GB model, and it turns out to be lacking, you can add more. The iPad line will never have expandable storage.

    USB can be run in host-mode, so you can connect cameras and other devices directly to the A500. You can even use a standard USB keyboard if you want. The iPad has a camera interface adapter, but it is quite limited in the devices it supports. The A500 doesn't provide much power, USB port when in host mode, so don't expect it to spin up big unpowered 3.5" hard drives. So just flash disks, and devices with batteries.

    The A500 has more ports (ex. HDMI), none of which which are unique to the A500 over the iPad2, but none require special adapters like the iPad2. And you can use several at once, as there are separate ports per interface. I don't think you can use HDMI and USB on a iPad2 at the same time, for example. Could be an issue, if you want to connect a display and a keyboard at the same time.

  19. Chris Beach


    Considering the Asus Transformer has a better screen (IPS like the iPad) and its cheaper, why would you get this or the Xoom? Yes it might be plastic but its solid plastic, and if you were that obsessed with looks you'll have the iPad already.

  20. sshproxy
    Thumb Down

    A500 too heavy for my liking

    I bought an A500 back in mid-April while visiting Singapore and have to say it is a beautiful looking piece of kit, but boy is it heavy to use for extended use.

    Try holding it in one hand for any length of time while using it and you will see what I mean.

    I just wish Acer had used some lighter materials, it would have been a real winner then.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Updates for Honeycomb are simple

      There are limited options for provider customisation, so updates come straight from the source. Thus, updates are no more a problem than with a Windows or Linux device.

      I'm not sure the situation with phone versions of Android is as bad as some people make out, either. I've got a selection in front of me now, and even the oldest and clunkiest, an original Samsung Galaxy, is running v2.0, albeit quite slowly. Most of them are on Gingerbread. I've not had an Acer phone, though.


  21. Mark Rosher

    Absolutely wonderful, but...

    I've had one of these for a few weeks now, and to be honest I'm finding I don't boot the desktop PC for days at a time - apart from hey photo work and a couple of specific apps I don't need to. I'm typing this on the tablet now, as fast as I ever type on the PC, and with similar accuracy. :-)

    However, things aren't perfect. You talk about Skype but fail totally to note that the app can't use the cameras, so no videoconferencing. Total fail by Skype, shirley. Also, the tablet goes to sleep and fails to wake up, requiring a power off and restart from time to time.

    The graphics are Fab, and if I have only one game apart from the obligatory Angry BoFH then let me applaud GameProm for the Pinball HD port. Makes full use of the graphics and processor power with nary a flicker.

    I'm using it with a 3 mi-fi mobile broadband router on PAYG, and really can find little apart from the above niggles to rant at.

  22. tonyoung
    Thumb Up

    Desire S + Transformer + Google Account =

    ... a nicely synced package - if only I could print docs easily from the Transformer .... otherwise non-Apple heaven!

  23. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Nice gear

    I almost bought this one when Transformers were sold out everywhere. They are very similar. I held out though and found the Transformer in stock finally.

    The Android tablets go well with Android phones. You only have to buy your apps once. 3.1 is smooth. The Talk app does video chat and is compatible with the pc and mac version. Citrix works just fine. Battery is all day. Display is glorious indoors useless outdoors.

    They are going to sell a lot of these.

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