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on May 8, 2011
I'm typing this review on the A500 now. I was deciding between an Ipad2 (and had actually purchased one), an Asus Transformer, and the A500. I became frustrated with the limitations of the Ipad 2, and once it became clear that the Asus Tranformer wouldn't have adequate stock for weeks, I decided to give the A500 a try. No regrets, and I ended up returning the Ipad2.

Why this is better than an I pad 2 -
- Micro SD card slot gives this all the memory you practically need with just a 16 gb model. Cards are cheap - you can get a 32 gb card for $50. No card slot on the I pad 2.
- USB port makes file transferring easy. You can plug in external flash drives or a USB keyboard. Yes, it has a USB host port so it can externally power or charge devices through the port. No USB on the I pad 2 without buying a $30 adapter.
-HDMI port - easy projection to your HDTV. The A500 screen has about the same aspect ratio as most HDTVs, so you will be able to take full advantage of the area on your HDTV. With the Ipad2, you need a separate $39 adapter for this, plus the IPad 2 screen is a different aspect ratio than most HDTVs.
-Android Honeycomb is way better than Apple iOS. It's much more customizable and supports true multitasking. Yes, iOS has a simpler, dumber interface that your grandma can use, but for me it is too simple and limited. Plus, with Honeycomb you are not chained to using ITunes to manage your content. You can just plug it into the USB port of your PC and manage files like you would any external USB drive.
-If you use Google applications like Gmail, Picasa, Docs, Maps, Youtube, etc., the integration is excellent. You log in with your Gmail account and all your Google data is synched to the device within minutes.

Don't believe the reviews about lack on apps for Honeycomb or frequent crashes. I have had almost no issues in a week of use. Most of the apps for Android smartphones I tried work fine and there are over 65,000 of them now. The Android market is better than the Apple market because there are a lot more free apps.

Because of the USB port this is a better value than the Transformer too, which doesn't have USB port without the separate docking station.

This is a fast, powerful tablet, great screen, long battery life (I'm getting two days with normal use). A good value.


UPDATE 10/20/11: Had the A500 tablet for 6 months. Netflix works on it now, and it got an update that enabled Skype and Google Video Chat as well. The OS updates to Android 3.1 and 3.2 made it run faster and smoother. However, after the Android 3.1 update the microphone sound got pretty muffled to the point that video chatting or using it as a camcorder became pretty poor. I would have to speak rather loudly or directly into the speaker for it to get picked up. I checked around online and this seems to be a problem that many people have experienced due to the OS update on their A500 tablets. There were rumors that the Android 3.2 update would fix the problem, but this didn't happen. I downgraded from 5 stars to 4 stars because of this.

Overall I am happy with the Android Honeycomb tablet experience and not regretting returning the IPad, but I wanted something that would work flawlessly for video chatting. So I purchased an Asus Transformer, updated it to Android 3.2, and tried out the microphone, and it worked fine. So I ended up selling my A500 and am using the Transformer now instead. Had the microphone worked flawlessly, the A500 is still the better tablet in my mind than the Transformer due to the full-sized USB port and the metal construction, but they are pretty close. If you don't plan to use the microphone I think the A500 is still the better deal. But Asus seems to do a better job of pushing out OS updates.

I recommend you'all take a serious look at the Honeycomb tablets. There are many available now, all pretty close in specs, for much better prices than IPads and they are more versatile. With the upcoming launch of Android 4.0, the operating systems for smartphones and tablets will be unified, which will make many more apps useable on the tablets. Just like Android smartphones eventually blew away the IPhone in market share, Android tablets will do the same to IPads someday, I am confident.
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on November 24, 2011
I wanted an Andriod tablet but couldn't justify getting one, until a recent flight home. I travel frequently and like to watch videos on my laptop to pass the time. That's fine in the airport, and if I can get an exit row seat. On this trip home I wasn't so lucky; trying to watch videos on the plane was cumbersome. I finally talked myself into getting a tablet and picked the A500.

I don't care for Apple products because they are too restrictive. This has nothing to do with the current iOS; their products have always been that way because that's part of their marketing strategy. Apple's products force you to use Apple services, like iTunes.

I had been comparing the different Andriod tablets out of curiosity, and this one was the best in my opinion. There are a number with 10.1" screens that are almost identical in performance and core features, but the Acer Iconia tablets stands out. I like that is has a micro-HDMI port, a micro-SD slot, a micro-USB slave port, and a full sized USB host port for connecting external devices. I bought the 16GB tablet and installed a 32GB micro-SD in it, and copied media directly onto it from my laptop. I bought a Verbatim 16GB USB flash drive for it that is so small I can leave it plugged in. I tried plugging in a 120GB hard drive and it read that, too!

My strategy is to put media onto the micro-SD card that I want to keep on the tablet (like pictures), and use my 16GB USB flash drive for media that I will delete after enjoying (podcasts & videos).

I got a nice wallet for it, and also some screen protectors. I highly recommend the wallet, but not the screen protector. The A500's glass screen is so easy to clean with the included microfiber cloth. Not so now with the screen protector installed.
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on August 19, 2011
Fantastic tablet. Exceeds all my expectations. Several of my friends have iPads, and they've tried to tell me its just an iPad wannabe. Apple didn't invent the tablet (although they're suing Samsung as if they did). Its a tablet with much more functionality than the iPad. The fact that it has USB support, mini-USB, Flash, SD Card , and HDMI port sets it on a league of it own. Yes, its a little heavier, but it has a full HD screen and all those ports, its a worthy sacrifice. I give Apple credit for their IOS interface, its clean and consistent, more dummy proof than the Android OS. The freedom to choose how you access programs in Android is a nice feature, specially for techies who like to customize their desktops. One way I sum it up is, iPads are for non-techies. I'd want my mom to have an iPad. I'm doing things with my Android that the iPad could probably do, but Apple doesn't allow it. I'm not tied to iTunes, or any desktop application for that matter. Android="your way", Apple="their way" .
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on November 25, 2014
3 years and still going strong. This tablet still holds its own with anything current. I have a number of apps that I use on this tablet on a daily basis. I am a Microsoft guy... I don't really love Android like many folks do, but the sheer power and excellent screen on this thing keeps me coming back. I use it for reading ebooks, browsing the web, and even outdoors as a screen for a TPod fish finder that uses direct wifi (the TPod acts as the wifi hub) to send signals from the fish finder to the tablet so I can use the tablet as the fish finder screen (no Internet or cell connection required). It is plenty bright enough, and the battery lasts for 4 hours with the screen on it's brightest setting constantly while I am fishing in a boat. Amazing.

When just using it normally (occasional email checking or ebook reading) the battery will last for more than a week, easily.

I know this thing is old, but if you are looking at a new Acer tablet or an old used A500, I can recommend it highly.
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on December 18, 2012
This tablet is one of the best kept secrets of its time, and even now. It has a FULL SIZED usb port which means you can plug your flash drives, or an external hard drive to it. I am an IT professional and I needed a tablet. My choices at the time were Android or iPad and I chose the Acer A500. With a 32GB microSD card inserted, you can carry around a library of more than 1000 books, or a small array of HD movies, or a few thousand songs. The screen resolution is great, and if you root the tablet you can do even more. I am running Ice Cream Sandwich on mine, and I get about 5 hours of use out of it. I would get a new one or a refurb which is certified. For a while, this was the device which I used to feed my HDTV a picture (with the mini HDMI port from the A500). You can pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to it and use it as a computer.

WARNING: Do NOT buy the "dock" for this unit. It is utterly useless, does not pass many of the functions of the tablet through it and does not even charge the thing. USELESS. But the tablet blows away many of the newest tablets available today. Well worth this price.
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on August 22, 2011
I was checking out Android tablets for several weeks both online and at the stores, more specifically the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Asus Transformer and of course the Acer Iconia. After much research, I finally decided to give Acer a try and bought the Iconia from Amazon. After a couple week, I can say I am very happy with my purchase. Since all the tablets are very similar to each other, I had to make my decision based on comparisons. Here's why I chose the Iconia over the others:

Xoom vs Iconia
The Xoom feels lighter and looks prettier than the Iconia and has more memory too. However the case has a plastic cheap feel to it. Besides lacking a USB port, it is the same tablet as the Iconia at a far higher cost. I can always get cheap micro SD cards or even use the USB port to use flash drives.

Transformer vs Iconia
Similar to the Xoom, the Transformer feels ligher and looks prettier (basically the Iconia is ugly compared to other tabs). But I really disliked the plastic case on the one I played with at a Best Buy - I think I can break it easily in my hands, and the bumpy texture on the back feels weird. The specs are identical to the Iconia, except the Transformer doesn't have a flash on the rear camera and the front camera is weaker (1.2MP compared to Iconia's 2.0MP). It also lacks a USB port and many people have said it has weak tinny speakers. The Iconia's speakers are very nice and uses Dolby sound technology. At the time I bought the Iconia on Amazon, the Transformer cost about $50 more.

Galaxy Tab vs Iconia
This tablet feels and looks VERY nice. I was amazed at how thin it was and how nice the display looks. However, I also noticed the Galaxy tab mainly uses the 30-pin IF connector, which means we have to buy specific cords from Samsung if we want it to connect to other devices. Also, both front and rear cameras are weaker than the Iconia's. On all product descriptions it mentions the Galaxy tab has 1GB RAM, but never mentions if it is DDR2 like all the other tablets. Should I assume it is?? On top of that, the price is much higher than the Iconia.

Overall, the Iconia feels very solid and nice with the aluminum cover. Personally I think the tablet looks a little on the ugly side, but it is way more practical than the other tablet's base models with all the different ways to connect to it (micro-hdmi, micro-usb, full-usb, and slot for micro-sd card). There is also a physical switch that locks the view rotation, although you can also set that in the settings but it is a nice thing to have easy access to. The display looks great, and the sound is strong. It does feel a little bit on the heavy side, but at least it feels expensive :)

One major negative I discovered is the lack of compatibility with some major apps. For reasons unknown, you cannot watch Netflix movies on the Iconia. Hopefully this is temporary, and there are ways to hack your way into getting Netflix working but I'm not desperate enough tried that yet. Then there's Skype, which lacks the video chat feature for the Iconia due to "compatibility" issues. Hmm, video Google talk works fine though... Also the tablet is still in 3.1 but an update to 3.2 is due out at the end of August. Otherwise, the tablet works well with almost all the games (that I've tried so far) I got for free from Amazon - some lame dice game and some PopCap games don't work (PvZ works fine so don't worry!).

I am happy with my purchase. If I had to pick another tablet, I would choose the Xoom (now that Motorola is owned by Google), then the Transformer.
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on December 30, 2011
After considering a Kindle Fire for my wife, what I consider a Reader/tablet lite, I decided to step up to a full tablet and give it a try. I really wanted to talk myself into an iPad 2 but couldn't justify the near $200 premium. Being an Android house so far, I decided to look at Android tablets realizing I had no idea who the players were, except the big names that advertise heavy, including by mobile carriers.

Acer Iconia kept popping up in trade reviews as an underdog, an overlooked jewel. I've never been a fan of Acer for the most part, but knowing how brands and products don't always overlap, I started digging more. One of the 1st things I did was check for the screen. Having 2 HTC Evo's in the house I've become a huge fan of screens made with Gorilla Glass (A Corning products) and was happy to see the Acer Iconia on the list of product that use it. Features and power were comparable to iPad so I gave it a try.

All I can say is that from the first time powering on after letting it charge for several hours, I was blow away. I went through the 4-6 iterations of updates (Android thing, not Acer so check for updates until it says it is up to date) and once done I was ready to take it away from my wife.

I didn't notice that it's got some features iPad does not like micro SD card slot and USB 2.0 and USB slave, HDMI out, Ext volume control, orientation lock (great if you're lounging and tend to move the tablet around causing the screen to go back and forth form landscape to portrait), front and rear camera with flash on the rear and it goes on.

It's much smoother and quick than I expected, installation of apps has been a breeze, customizing the user experience and appearance all easy. Battery life is unreal! Constant use and it's still gone 7-8 hours and had battery left.

If it were priced in the iPad 2 range it would still be a great buy and still give the iPad a run for it's money.

My wife who is not technically sharp and has never used an Android device has had a ball with it. I was worried that an iPad 2 may have been a better choice, but not anymore.

I also have to mention the lack of "bloatware". I was surprised as the very short list of app's pre-installed. And the Acer "convenient interface" actually works well, and be Android, resources are managed well leaving no issues or conflicts.

BTW, I've seen some of the poor reviews knocking it for cheap construction. I'm not sure what they bought, buy the one I have in my hand is solid and absolutely substantial. The Alum case isn't thin and cheap, it's solid and heavy gauge and I've already mentioned the screen being Gorilla Glass. With cutting edge technology, you'll always have the haters to the extreme on one side and fan boys to the extreme on the other side, both touting opinions that go beyond reality or logic. You have to take that in to consideration.

To keep me grounded, if I were to come up with any cons, they would be the layout of the keyboard, but I'm used to the HTC EVO 3D layout. A second might be the lack of hard controls like you have on most mobile devices. Both come from being used to something else.

FYI, I was able to easily tether it to my phone for network access where there was no wifi and it worked great!!
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VINE VOICEon May 9, 2011
I bought the A500 after ordering and waiting for weeks for the ASUS Transformer. After finally relenting and ordering the A500, it arrived in a couple of days and I was very glad I did.

1. The product is VERY solid. I was concerned about reviews mentioning bending or creaking, etc. Well, the only cheap thing about the device is the little hatch cover for the microSD card, and that's something that I only use once or twice to add/upgrade the microSD card, and is otherwise not noticeable. Everything else about the brushed aluminum and the glass cover is very solid and well built.

2. I have had no issues whatsoever with Honeycomb. The apps in the Android Marketplace are mostly written in Java (unless the developer ported a C code via JNI), and personally, Java is not my prime choice when it comes to robustness or process-intensive programs (although Java has much improved over the years). This simply means that if you're running graphics-intensive programs such as games, or are number crunching on your tablet, etc., you are bound to see occasional lags and glitches. That is often not the fault of the Android platform, which is a modified Linux kernel with the Java code running on the Java Virtual Machine that runs on the kernel. Developers and savvy users can and do port C code for Android apps that can address some of the stability / speed issues (however, a poorly-written C code can be far more problematic and less efficient than a poorly-written Java program). The one advantage Apple's Cocoa framework has is limiting development to Objective-C; however, I found it to be a pain in the a** to work with, and I think most younger programmers would also prefer developing in Java (while the old-timers prefer C), so either way, Android has better prospects IMHO.

My apps are almost entirely my favorite open-source programs that I have ported over after a few minutes of modifying some basics, thus skipping the annoying "free" but ad-ridden (and perhaps malware-ridden) market apps. (There are some very good quality ad-free, free apps in the market, but not that many yet.)

3. The interface is excellent. I find it very responsive and precise overall. I do have a stylus pen I had bought for iPad2, and I use that to avoid getting finger grease on the display while watching movies, etc.

4. Start up speed is ~10-15 seconds from a cold start. If you put the device in sleep mode, the wake-up is ~1 sec.

5. Battery lasts exactly 7 hours with WiFi on, videos / music playing, and multi-tasking. It is true that other tablets provide more juice (iPad2 ~10 and I believe Galaxy, Xoom and Transformer are also supposed to be higher), but A500's better quality speakers, LED flash, lower actual price tag (not the hypothetical price tag on the other products that end up being much higher in reality due to 3rd-party price-gouging), etc., make the lower battery life less of an issue.

6. The cameras are descent, having an LED flash is handy for taking pictures of documents, the microphone quality is good enough for Skype in a quiet room, the weight is less than a typical book, and unless you are suffering from some age-related disease (like another reviewer had complained), the tablet will not "slide out of your hands by being to slick."

If 3rd-party vendors start providing high quality, custom-fit covers for this product, then it would perfect in nearly every sense.
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on December 23, 2012
I have been a proud owner of this tablet since August 2011. What could be a technological dinosaur in these days of planned obsolesce, continues to be more relevant than anything it precedes. Like most of us, I am always looking at the newest gadgets, ready and willing to upgrade my perfectly good stuff for something slightly better. But this tablet has managed to survive several rounds of the proverbial next-best-thing, and for good reason.

For starters, you probably have noticed that most brands have quietly reduced the expansion options on their gadgets to be able to sell the "larger capacity" models for more. This baby can match the capacity of the best of the rest with an inexpensive SD card. Add the full size USB, and it can match any computer capacity as well. Not only does it have a full array of connection options, but a robust processor to boot, even if not a quad core. For my use, the newer processor is not enough to replace this workhorse. I am a custom ROM enthusiast, so mine has enjoyed every iteration of Android, even that latest Jelly Bean. There has never been any issue with my tablet. NONE. I use it for games, surfing the web, read news and blogs, stream videos, listen to music, read and write emails, shopping, etc.

Bottom line, this one is still the best tablet I have found.
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on March 17, 2012
My brother and I purchased this for my mother is who is 87. She does OK with a computer, but is a little mouse and OS challenged with too many windows. This works great for her as it doesn't matter if there are a thousand windows minimized in the background (which I often find). She uses the Amazonbasics stylus with it for better control. Automatically syncs with her Gmail account and is easy to open. I have it running off my wi-fi connection here at home. She has several games she enjoys such cryptographs, solitaire and crossword puzzles. She is also a big baseball fan so I've purchased a MLB account for her to watch baseball games. The graphic capability is awesome. Looks just like the HD television we got for her, but in a package to hold in her hand.

I can see that the computing world is being changed by these type of devices. As an IT guy I've started paying more attention to this area as it's bound to lead into the Enterprise sooner or later. If kids love them and my Mom can adapt, we all will. :)

My only complaint is that Yahoo Bridge will not play on it. Not a flash problem as I initially thought, but some type of Java incompatibility issue. It would be nice to get that fixed as she loves to play Bridge online with other people.
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