Acer Iconia Tab A200 review

This cheap Android tablet is available from Harvey Norman in Australia

The 10.1-inch Acer Iconia Tab A200 is an Android tablet with at least one noteworthy feature: Its price. At just $349, it's significantly cheaper than most tablets on the market.

The Iconia Tab A200 looks very similar to Acer's first Android tablet, the Iconia Tab A500, though it has a somewhat more elegant looking design. Unfortunately the A200 is quite heavy for an Android tablet, weighing 700g.

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The tablet includes a microSD card slot, a micro-USB port and a full-sized USB port. The USB port can be used to connect external storage; however, we encountered mixed results during our test: It worked with a 1TB portable hard drive, but not a 4GB Sony USB thumb drive. The tablet only includes 8GB of internal storage, but more can be added using the microSD card slot.

The display has a 1280x800-pixel screen that is responsive to touch input but has poor viewing angles and is difficult to use in bright sunlight. It's not as impressive as the screens on some of the tablet's competitors, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Our test tablet ran version 3.2 of Android (Honeycomb) but the A200 is upgradeable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), according to Acer.

Along with a number of extra multimedia, social networking and security apps, the tablet includes Acer's "ring interface". Tapping a button in the middle of the Android status bar brings up a quick menu with three customisable shortcuts, a volume control bar and a carousel of Web bookmarks.

I encountered occasional slow downs when browsing the Web, but overall this is a fast tablet. Unfortunately when browsing, mobile sites are often loaded by default. I also encountered a jittery home screen when there were a handful of widgets on the screen. I expect these will be resolved by Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Acer Iconia Tab A200 suffers from the same issue as all Android tablets at the moment: The dearth of apps in the Android Market that are designed for larger screens.

Only Wi-Fi is support for connectivity; there is no option to buy a 3G model. Other downsides include no HDMI port for hooking up to a TV and no rear camera (though there is a front-facing one).

With moderate use we managed to drain the tablet's battery in less than seven hours, though ultimately this will depend on your usage patterns.

Although we aren't impressed by the amount of internal storage and the less than impressive screen, at this price the tablet offers good value and will do most things that other Android tablets can.

Rating: 3.75/5

Review by Ross Catanzariti

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