When you think of low-end tablets, obscure brands from China or South Korea spring to mind. But they usually have no warranty and/or official distributor, making them unpopular and unreliable.
Acer's Iconia B1 hopes to change all that. This tablet is packed with above-average specs for the low-end section. It should make buyers skip the big question: is it worth the money?
The 7-inch tablet has a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, PowerVR SX531 graphics chip, 512MB RAM, 8GB internal memory (expandable with a microSD card), a screen resolution of 1024x600 pixels and Wi-Fi connectivity.
At 4,000 baht, I was not expecting much. I was not expecting the Acer Iconia B1 to be able to run hardcore graphics-intense apps such as N.O.V.A. 3, Wild Blood, Shadowgun or Horn. But it can _ although, loading them may take a minute or two.
Everyday apps (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, e-book reader, education and edutainment apps) or surfing the web are a walk in the park and you won't experience any slowdown using them. The tablet is quite easy to play around with using one hand.
It runs on Android 4.1.2, aka Jelly Bean, and feels pretty fluid to use. You hardly see any slowdowns, except when you do a lot of multitasking, such as installing apps while playing games and surfing the net at the same time.
The battery, under normal use, can easily survive the day without an extra charge. The tablet is extremely light at only 320g, making it very comfortable to hold. It's so light that I forgot I was carrying it in my bag for a few days.
There are some downsides, however. The screen is not very bright and the illumination is very uneven. The camera is, with all due respect, a joke.
The problem I had with the screen is that it is pretty dim and has a narrow viewing angle. It's not a device for three people sharing the view at the same time. And your fingerprints on the screen are quite noticeable after using it for a while. So I'd recommend carrying a screen cleaning cloth with you.
As for the 0.3MP camera, it is simply not suitable for shooting pictures. Adequate image quality is out of the question because the pictures are very blurry. I haven't tried the video conference feature but it's better just to ignore the camera altogether.
On the plus side, automatically rotating the screen content worked perfectly although the tablet always needed a moment to make the adjustment. Users should decide which orientation they want beforehand.
This may not be the fastest or best looking tablet on the market, but it's very difficult to get a better tablet at this price point.
All said and done, Acer has fulfilled its promise and has provided an affordable tablet for first-time users, or as a second device or perhaps a throw-away device for the children. If any these requirements fit your needs, then this tablet would be a good buy. Kudos to Acer!
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