273 of 276 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
I really like this - it's not perfect - but not far off !, 10 May 2011
This is a great device - not perfect but really very enjoyable to use - and something you feel good owning. I'd be more than happy to recommend it against any of the current or upcoming crop of £400.00 + 10 inch screen Android or Apple tablet computers. If you aren't too clear on what the options are the iPad 2 = Apple - whilst pretty much everyone else = Android ... Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Asus TF101.
Overall though - I'd be surprised if you developed iPad envy and I don't think you'd be unhappy with this sat next to your friend and their iPad 2! If you're willing to play around a little this to get used to it - this will give you as nice a user experience as the iPad but with much more flexibility - imho.
This device uses Android 3.0 which is Google's current big project and it works really nicely. In fact the nicest thing you can say is that I haven't really noticed what operating system I am using. Ease of use has been the main selling point of the Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad devices - and it is really refreshing that the competition has caught up. Yay!
Bear in mind that although you'll find Android 2.2 and 2.3 tablet computers available for a cheaper price - steer clear of them if you have the option - as they won't be quite so nice to use because those versions are designed for use on mobile phones whilst 3.0 aka Honeycomb is designed to be used on tablet computers. If you really want to save some cash and get a slightly older product - I'd recommend the original Samsung Galaxy Tab which was released less than a year ago - operates on Android 2.2 I think - and is now going for about £300.00.
One good example of how nice it is to use this is when you are browsing the net.
You'll most likely be holding the computer at the edge either on the left or the right of the screen - much as you would hold a steering wheel - thumbs around the front and fingers wrapping around the sides to grip the back.
Google have clearly thought this all through really carefully (as you might expect) - and so when you want to go to a bookmark or forward or back a page - you simply slide your thumb in from the side of the screen and a little semi-circular menu appears with all the buttons in easy reach so you don't even have to readjust your grip at all to do what you want.
Basically there are no real moans about using this that I can think of which is really quite a surprise.
Actually that isn't quite true.
All of the current / newest generation 10 inch tablet devices (either Apple or the competition) weigh about 600-700 grams (sorry if you do Imperial weight!). So my strong advice is that you go and try this and the competition on for size. If this isn't the most comfortable weight for you I'd recommend you either try one of the 7 inch devices coming out - again get an Android 3.0 device if possible - or if you're really patient (unlike me!) then wait 12 to 18 months for the next generation of devices May 2012 onwards as I'm sure they'll be a bit lighter.
Myself - well, I wanted the flexibility of the Android operating system and I had really been planning on waiting to get the HTC Flyer (seven inch screen) device - as I am convinced that for a significant number of people this is going to be the ideal combination. But I couldn't wait for Amazon - went into PC World and saw the Motorola Xoom - nearly got that but picked up the Acer and haven't looked back !
To me it feels really nice - the plastic back always feels cool and smooth and at first I thought it was metal. It works smoothly, is nice and easy to use with no bugbears from a user point of view - which was pleasantly surprising - and it feels nice and sturdy - with all the buttons and sockets all feeling stable and secure - and giving the impression of a high end consumer product that is going to wear well. It felt nicer than the Motorola Xoom - to me anyway - as obviously the whole thing is subjective. For instance I read on CNET (a pretty nice technology website)- that they thought it felt horrible and tacky - socheck for yourself !
The ACER touches which have been added to the basic Android background are really quite nice and not at all intrusive or over the top. One example is that on the homescreen there is a widget that scrolls up and down to allow you to jump right back to any of the last few websites that you were reading. Another example is that whilst you can swipe sideways to access any of the other homescreens available - there is a second set of homescreens which you can swipe through with shortcuts on your main homescreen which allows you to jump to what you want. The second subset of homescreens has a nice little background like a library - the idea being that one homescreen is for your documents and ebooks - and whilst another homescreen is for your media eg videos music photos etc
It is really easy to access control submenus to turn Wifi / Bluetooth on and off - and to turn the screen brightness up and down - simply tap on the clock on the bottom right hand side of the screen. The menu bar is visible most of the time along the bottom of the screen though in some programmes eg videos, photos and browsing it appears as a pop up. It has - has shortcuts for your homescreen, back- to-whatever-you-were-just-looking-at and icons for clock, battery, wifi connection indicators.
There is a nice menu bar shortcut icon that brings up the other programs that you currently have running so that you can easily swap between the web browser and your music player - say if you wanted to change tune.
The screen is obviously multi-touch for pinch and zoom - and is nice and bright - though it is optimised for films and photos so is a bit shiny (reflective) if you are outdoors - but I am not aware of any computer that works well in these conditions (matt screens tend to be be better in daylight but not so good on photos and videos).
If you're watching a video - it sounds pretty nice - not exactly hi-fi but pretty okay to listen too without being constantly aware you are listening to something with low quality speakers. Oh, and they are stereo speakers set up on the back of the device and designed for landscape mode - the ipad 2 has a single speaker.
If you want connectivity then this has loads - micro SD slot, micro HDMI slot, standard USB port and a big port on the bottom for I am not quite sure what ! Your camera may have a micro sd card in it and you can pull out the card and view all your photo's really easily without any adaptors. Connect to your TV or pop in a memory stick - go on - you know you want to (so why can't my brother's iPad ????). BTW I have seen numerous reports that for some reason the micro sd card in the Motorola Xoom isn't actually functional s there is a software glitch. Do some research on that if you are thinking about getting the Xoom as the shop assistant in PC World swore blind that the micro sd slot is functional.
In regards to the micro-sd card slot on the top side - for £50.00 you can expand your memory from 32gb to 64gb. It didn't make any difference to me - I just liked the Acer - but if this is important to you it would make the Acer about £50.00 cheaper than the wifi only 64gb iPad 2 by my reckoning and at current prices - I got mine from PC World for £450.00 for the 32gb wifi only version.
Not much to say about the camera's - one on the front and back of the device - other than they are better than having none - and they're about the same quality as the current competition - which isn't saying much. The other Android 3.0 tablet computers aren't offering very good cameras about 2MP and 5MP usually - whilst the iPad 2 - well it has cameras on it which are on a par with a camera-phone from a decade ago - "HD" if you are reading the Apple spin - and about 1MP to the rest of us! Clearly we'll all just have to wait for Apple to "up the ante" (sp?) in one or two years time before we start to see half decent cameras on tablet computers. FWIW the back camera is 5MP and capable of recording in widescreen and the video and camera options to change settings are rudimentary but okay - and again there isn't anyone out there making a tablet now that has anything better on offer. The user facing camera works okay when it is needed.
I think that this is a really nice device overall - with my only reservation being size. Make sure you want a 10 inch and not a 7 inch device and be sure you try it on for size in a shop. Then make sure you want one now and aren't prepared to bide your time for the next generation ten inch devices which will be available from about May next year (these things go in annual cycles with the next 12 months devices usually being revealed at the the major trade fairs and at press announcements in the first quarter of the year).
If you a want a 7 inch tablet of which there are several really nice versions coming up including my favourite the HTC Flyer which is priced at release in early May on Amazon at an eye watering £600.00 or thereabouts. It has the ability to grab screenshots and then annotate them with a special pen.
There are a lot of pro-apple and anti-apple die-hards out there - I would make sure you know where any given reviewer is coming from - so just to state my own allegiances - I'd say I am mildly anti-apple - on the basis that they make everything go through iTunes to make them more money and won't let you watch flash videos on the internet. The first one I can accept - they're not a charity and clearly every one is in it for a "buck" - plus they make nice hardware with software that is really easy to use out of the box. But the second bit is just ridiculous. No flash video ??? Really ??? I couldn't personally accept that if I get a £450.00 iPad 2 - that if I should see something on the net of interest with a flash video (and, honestly, they're all over the place) - that I'm not going to be able to view it on my nice shiny new device - and instead I'm going to have to go over to my four year old laptop to watch it ? I read the last example on a review by somebody who'd traded in their iPad for just that reason and in fact got a Motorola Xoom I think it was - though I am sure there's a lot of not-so-bona-fide reviewers (shall we say) who are on Apple or The Opposition's payroll and who basically surf the net looking to do down the opposition and big up their own products ...
Maybe I'm too cynical !
Anyway I have been really looking forward to this generation of tablet devices coming out now - and I am really pleased with the Acer. It doesn't matter that it is Android - it just works well and feels nice. Even my mum in her mid seventies can use this !
I hope you enjoy choosing as much as I did !
I forgot ...
The screen is nice and clear and has a good visibility if you are offset to one side - which might be helpful if you are sharing a film on a plane - but might be a hindrance if you are on a train working on some confidential documents.
The ability to view easily from an offset angle means that you can put it down and read it / view it as you would a newspaper for instance eg in front of you or to the side of you - for instance if you are having breakfast or lunch.
It's definitely not a "one hand" device - though. But, none of the current 10 inch devices are though - even the iPad 2 - which is the lightest. I think you'll have to wait at least another generation for that - although there are some intermediate size 8.9 inch devices coming out in the near future - second generation Samsung Galaxy Tab.
EXTRA - 14.05.12
bear in mind that this is 1 year old hardware which has advantages and disadvantages.
the WiFi only but not 3G 16gb is now very reasonably priced - and this version will suit you fine if you're not wanting the highest spec highest memory capacity version on a "sensible" budget - this is a high quality tablet with and if you aren't wanting loads of straight out of the box memory included the 16gb version with will do just fine - as you can add fairly cheap MICROSD memory PLUS also extra memory on the USB slot if you get one of the new generation memory stick eg from Verbatim - they stick out only a little - so you could quickly and relatively cheaply boost your memory by an extra 32gb - 64gb
NOT the newest version of Android - which is called 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich - though the main gains in having the newest version of the operating system are coming from the fact that the hardware is all faster - ie potentially 4 core Tegra 3 chips, more memory in terms of RAM and also up to 64gb native memory eg on Samsung - although often there is no room for expansion on them so that is something to consider too
The biggest thing that struck me about Android 4.0 / ICS / Ice Cream Sandwich - was the fact that a lot of widgets will be able to have scrolling on screen widgets eg your To Do list covers the equivalent of 4 x 4 squares of your homescreen - but you can just flick the list to scroll down to the bottom.
APPLE & iPAD
The "new iPad" (ie version 3) is nice and It has a great screen and "ecosystem" as they like to call it - ie it has a better App store with the newest games and apps tend to all get onto their first.
The new Android tablets (be careful not to get 2011 versions offered cheap) are as beautiful and light as the iPads are - with great screens which are comparable - but these days there isn't a huge price differential.
The main thing I think is how much you like to play with and customise things.
Apple stuff works great out of the box but it doesn't have active desktop backgrounds or multiple size onscreen Widgets (to do lists / calendar / weather) quite the same way the Android tablets do things.
The flash support thing is still a big thing as Apple aren't doing that - though I heard that the new Internet Explorer isn't going to do that natively either so things are moving away from Flash - but there are loads of sites which will use this for the foreseeable future (by which I'd mean through to end of 2013)
If you have SKY then - whilst I recommend that you check - I think that the iPad will support SKY GO whereas Android tablets don't at present (14.05.12) apart from a few phone handsets.
Obviously this is not such a big issue if you plan to use NETFLIX etc streaming videos and this works just fine on this machine as does the Google "Play" offline movie viewing thing which works a treat.
As a side issue - if it's important to you - downloading and then watching a movie on your tablet offline when you have no internet access can be really useful - and whilst the Google / Android store supports this it doesn't currently have the biggest choice.
HOWEVER the SKY service presently offers download service for offline viewing of an awful lot of content - but only on the Windows 7 platform. This works great on my little netbook and should therefore work on Windows 7 tablets but I would check that.
Similarly - whilst I would suggest that you do NOT do this as it would breach Terms & Conditions - you might be interested to hear that Windows 7 pc's - and therefore Windows 7 tablets - should also run programs like YouTube Downloader or RealPlayer which can download You Tube videos - which for iPad and Android tablets cannot do - for obvious reasons (such as you are NOT supposed to) .
I'm envious of the lighter weight (easy to hold with one hand) and scrolling widgets of the newer tablets - but if you don't need a smaller or lighter machine for the extra cost (Android) or desperately need an iPad - then this is not a bad option.
There are loads of alternatives these days - I think a lot of it comes down to how much any particular version appeals to you when you hold it in person and what you want to do with it.