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Acer A200 Tablet Review
Last week, at the press conference held on May 24, Acer announced their three new tablets. The A200 is the low-end member of the trio. The manufacturer positions it as the solution for those who want to buy a tablet, but don't know yet what they need it for.
The design looks quite calm, but, at the same time, we can easily recognize an Acer device in it; it resembles the Iconia A500 a little.
On the left side, we find a 3.5-mm headphones jack, a microUSB port, a full-blown USB port (there will be a specially dedicated chapter below), and the power button. It takes a while to get used to its location, as it is normally placed on the upper edge. By the way, there is an indicator on the power button, which becomes red when the battery is being charged and white when the charging is complete, or it blinks when there are new notifications.
The cover hides the microSD slot and the Reset pinhole. The cover protects the slot against accidental pressing (owners of a lot of other tablets that don't have that cover complain that sometimes they press the card unintentionally, and the card gets ejected).
On the upper side, we see the volume rocker, the automatic screen rotation switch, and a microphone. The volume rocker travel is short and it's not that comfortable to press it. At the same time, it has small ledges making it easy to find the rocker when it's dark.
On the right, we have a proprietary charger socket.
The back of the tablet is made of soft touch plastic; it's not glossy and catches no fingerprints. Thanks to this kind of material, the tablet is comfortable to hold and it doesn't slip out of your hands.
There are two speakers on the back. Their sound volume is above the average level, but the location is not that good, as when holding the tablet, you will unintentionally close them with your fingers. But if you hold the tablet upside down, the problem disappears. Unfortunately, the manufacturer didn't move the speakers to the upper part of the backside.
There are no complaints about the assemblage quality: everything is alright, no creaks or looseness of the case parts.
Acer decided not to try to make the tablet very slim or lightweight, so the A200 is pretty big, and you can see it from this comparison:
Hence, the A200 is heavier than the competitors. I have given the tablet to some of my friends for brief sessions of use, and they considered the bigger weight as an advantage (making you feel that you are holding a real thing in your hands, not a plastic toy), but I prefer lower-weight devices.
In this tablet we get a regular 10" TN matrix with the resolution of 1,280 х 800 pixels. However (I don't know why), the display quality is significantly better than that of the competitors with the same TN matrices. First, the A200 has good viewing angles. Second, the display looks sharper and brighter than, for example, on the Archos 101 G9. Under the open sunlight, the display gets practically unreadable.
The screen is covered with Gorilla Glass; all the attempts to scratch it with keys have produced absolutely no results.
The A200 features a 3,260-mAh battery, which is not a too big capacity when speaking of one of the latest tablets. But let's look at the battery life in various modes.
The reading mode (10% of the screen brightness, automatic scrolling on, Moon+ Reader app) resulted in 13 hours of operation.
Playing HD video, at maximum brightness, using the software decoder of the MX Player, the tablet was able to last for 6 hours.
The same HD video playback, at maximum brightness, too, but with the hardware decoder of the MX Player gave us 7 hours and 30 minutes.
If used in a normal mode (an hour of web surfing and Twitter and half an hour of reading), the battery can be enough for 3 or 4 days. Hence, despite the small capacity, if judged by the present day standards, the A200 still shows a good battery life.
The tablet features the latest Android 4.0 OS. You can find our review of this operating system here:
The manufacturer has added a few superficial extensions, all of them being quite comfortable and unobtrusive.
The lock screen: to unblock the device, you have to touch the lock icon and move it to the right, while the left side accommodates four adjustable icons for selected applications, so you have to swipe your finger to that direction if you want to run one of the applications directly from the lock screen.
Acer Ring. There is a green dot in the center of the notification panel. Tapping it opens the ring with the settings. There are four icons around it: by default, they give quick access to the browser, gallery, quick screenshot, and settings, but you can easily replace them with the ones you prefer if you go directly to the settings. The standard combination, the power button and volume down, also works for screenshots. What is interesting is that the screenshots made using the ring are saved to the dcim/screenshots directory, but the ones produced by using the standard combination are sent to piсtures/screenshots. To the right of the ring, there is also the volume slider, and the quick access to your bookmarks is on the left. This extension looks really good and adds some convenient features, but what is even more important is that you can still disable it if you want to.
Weather and clock widgets. Two good-looking widgets by Acer.
The paid version of Astro File Manager. The manufacturer has installed the paid version of Astro. Its interface is optimized for using on tablets, and it works properly with external storage devices.
The tablet is based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU and sports 1 GB of RAM. The internal storage volume may vary: there are models with 8, 16 or 32 GB. The games store by NVIDIA, the Tegra Zone, comes preinstalled.
In practice, we still get lags when switching between the desktops and the browser crashes sometimes. Both issues can be solved by installing third party applications (for example, Yandex.Shell and Dolphin Browser HD). Apart from the desktops and the browser, we can't complain about anything else: videos are played smoothly and applications are launched without any lagging.
The screen is really enjoyable. Reading at minimal brightness is quite comfortable, and your eyes don't get exhausted at all. The maximum brightness may be appropriate for reading in public transport. And as I said before, the display quality is better than with other TN matrices, and all the letters and other characters look sharper and neater. A simple reading application, LumiRead, comes preinstalled.
The situation about video playback is quite the same as with other Tegra 2 tablets. This one plays videos of up to 720p perfectly, supporting mp4 and mkv containers. But as for divx/xvid files in the avi container, you won't be able to watch them unless you install a third party player. Thanks to the good display, it is comfortable to watch videos when you lie on the bed and when traveling by public transport. I'd like to remind you that NVIDIA recommends the Dice Player for watching videos.
Wi-Fi. The device supports the b/g/n standards. It connects quickly and maintains the connection well. No complaints about the Wi-Fi module.
GPS. The tablet has a full-blown GPS module. Navigation uses the Google Maps. The cold start takes about two minutes, and then it finds your locations pretty fast (in about 10 seconds).
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR. The device supports all the standard profiles, including A2DP.
Only the Wi-Fi version of this model is going to hit the shelves.
One of the main advantages of this tablet is the presence of a full-blown USB port, which is not found too often in such devices. I have been using the tablet for a couple of weeks and I have enjoyed this solution a lot. It is really great when you can connect your flash drive or a keyboard directly to your tablet, without adapters of any sort needed. External keyboards work well, but before using them I'd recommend that you download the Rukeyboard application and turn on the external keyboard support in it.
Apart from keyboards, mice and flash drives (by the way, NTFS flash drives and HDD's are also supported), you can connect a joystick to your tablet. Tegra Zone offers some games supporting it. For instance, Riptide GP, Shine Runner and SoulCraft.
The manufacturer decided not to use a rear side camera for this model. I totally approve this solution. Very few people use those cameras on the back of their tablets, but the price becomes a little lower when there is no camera there. The front camera is still here. This device has not been certified for Skype yet, but you are already able to make video calls and the person you are talking to will be able to see you. The quality of this camera is moderate: the image looks washed out, but it's the normal quality we get from cameras of this kind though.
The average price of this tablet is 13,500 rubles for the 16-GB version, and 14,500 rubles – for the one with 32 GB. Paying this price, we get an excellent tablet featuring a good build quality, a full-blown USB port, the latest Android version, a few good extensions by Acer, and a high-quality screen.
I like the А200. "A good-quality tablet" might be the most adequate description of it. During the two-week period I have been using it, there was only one spontaneous reboot, but all the rest of its operation was fast and stable. The manufacturer has chosen the right way of positioning this product. The A200 will certainly be the right choice for those who are searching for a tablet, but don't know yet what they are going to use it for, and so they are not ready to pay too much for it. Besides, those who need a fully functional USB port in a tablet will also consider it a good choice.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Not long ago, Samsung announced their new tablet lineup. The Tab 2 10.1 is one of the new models. The Wi-Fi version costs 15,000 rubles, so it's not much more expensive than the А200. The Samsung tablet has a better screen (PLS matrix), a bigger battery (although my practice shows that the battery life in the video playback mode is the same – 7 hours), and lower weight (588 g). However, we get TouchWiz, full of lags, and no fully functional USB port. For those who like watching movies, the Tab 2 10.1 may be a better choice, but if you take an А200, you won't lose a lot, still saving 1,500 rubles.
Archos G9 101 Turbo 1.5. A tablet manufactured by the Archos Company, France. It has a series of peculiar features. First, there is a leg on the rear panel; second, an optional 3G module; third, support for a wide variety of codecs; and fourth, a full-blown USB port. Its average price amounts to 12,500 rubles. This one is good for movie fans and for those who are trying to save as much money as possible. Besides, it is also for those who haven't decided yet whether or not they need 3G. The Archos tablet is better than the А200 for a lot of reasons, starting from the lower price and all the way to the codecs support, but it's inferior in the build and screen quality.
The А200 has strong competitors, but it still looks quite good among them. You have to make your final choice basing on your own needs and on how well the Acer tablet is able to meet them. As for me, the A200 produces positive impressions only.
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Published 01 July 2012
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