Acer, a brand better known for its PCs than itx mobile computing products, has been flogging tablets since 2011. The latest version in its Iconia Tab range is this 8-inch midrange device that costs less than three grand.
The Acer Iconia Tab 8 is a good-looking tablet, although it looks remarkably similar to many other entry-level and midrange devices with its white and plastic front bezel and a brushed aluminium rear cover. Acer wanted to differentiate the Tab 8 in build quality, but in look and feel there’s not much that sets it apart from its competitors.
Having said that, the Iconia Tab 8 offers good value for money if you are not looking for a high-end tablet. While it handles most tasks without much effort, it chokes a bit on graphics-intensive games and processor intensive apps — but that’s to be expected for this price category.
The Iconia Tab 8 only has 1GB of RAM. Interestingly, this tablet has an Intel Atom processor, a quad-core 1,33GHz Atom to be exact. Most tablets in its class feature Qualcomm processors. Performance-wise though, it is on par with other midrange tablets.
There’s 16GB of storage, which can be expanded by way of a microSD card — though Acer doesn’t specify what the maximum size is that’s supported. The Iconia Tab 8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and there is no word yet if or when it’ll get the next version, known as Lollipop.
The 8-inch LCD has a resolution of 800×1 200 pixels for a pixel density of 213ppi. Oddly, the box the tablet comes in states that the LCD is 1 920×1 200. It clearly isn’t and system information software confirms this.
The screen is vivid when turned up to the maximum brightness setting, but text and images on the screen are not sharp owing to the low screen resolution. Considering the target audience for this tablet — the mid-tier consumer — the screen is acceptable enough and video looks good.
The Iconia Tab 8 has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, while the front-facing camera offers the usual low-quality two megapixels.
The images produced by the rear camera are good enough for sharing on social networks but aren’t really intended for anything more advanced. Colour saturation on images is good, but photos lack sharpness. Even in bright sunlight conditions, the images seem a little fuzzy.
Connectivity options are slim, with no support for cellular data, so you’ll have to have a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the Internet. It supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and has Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.
The tablet’s 4 600mAh battery delivers about six hours of use.
Considering that storage capacity is already at a premium on entry-level and midrange devices, it’s never nice to see a large number of bundled apps — especially when these cannot be uninstalled, only disabled. Although it can be argued that at least some of these bundled apps will be of value, less than 10GB of storage space is available out of the box as a result.
Acer has included a number of apps from its “Bring Your Own Cloud” service that offers online storage for saving media files, photos and documents. Other bundled apps include Evernote, Audible, Zinio and, unfortunately, the horrid McAfee Security. For kids, there is a storybook app called iStoryTime, allowing kids to read on their own or with a parent, or the app can read to them. Books cost about R30 each.
Lastly, Acer has included a mini HDMI port, situated next to the 3,5mm audio jack and the microUSB charging port. Although no HDMI cable is supplied in the box, it means owners can connect the tablet directly to a TV so they can view their photos and videos on a larger screen.
For R2 899, the Acer Iconia Tab 8 offers good value for money. If you can afford to spend a little more, there are higher-specced tablets on the market with better screen resolutions, but as it stands this one will make a great stocking filler for Christmas. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media