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Notwithstanding the best efforts of Apple and Samsung – these companies practically have the high-end tablet market sewn up between them – budget Android tablets still do make a certain kind of sense for some consumers. With the Iconia Tab 10, Acer’s hoping to be able to win this market segment over.

Do we think the Iconia Tab 10 make a good case for itself? Only one way to find out – read this review!

Nothing wrong with simplicity

Sure, the tablet market may be in the doldrums, and many models seem to be undertaking a relentless march upmarket (just look at the iPad Pro lineup) – two factors that contribute to the fact that there are less options than ever before for would-be tablet buyers who just want a “nice simple tablet” to watch movies on or play games on.

That being said, Acer doesn’t seem to have given up on the budget tablet market just yet. It’s crafted an update to its Iconia Tab 10 tablet, which was launched sometime in 2015, in the hopes of attracting some attention and moving some units.

First off, Acer completely eschews the older Tab’s completely anonymous styling for a stylish and clean new look. Pick it up and feast your eyes on its smooth bronze detailing, while your fingers will immediately appreciate its nicely textured back – a design choice that can help prevent the tablet from slipping out of one’s hands. Note, though, that an iPad or Galaxy Tab this is not – the Iconia Tab can be a mite flex-prone in some areas. Still, though, the refresh brings a very welcome sense of style to the budget tablet segment.

Again bucking the budget tablet trend, the Iconia Tab 10 possesses a 10.1-inch screen that’s more than halfway decent – it’s a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS affair that’s surprisingly impressive for its price and size segment. In all but the brightest (outside) lighting, the screen proved nice and bright, and the screen also offered decent viewing angles to boot. Many buyers of inexpensive tablets may very well be willing to compromise on screen quality for affordability, but we’re quite happy to know that Acer hasn’t jumped on this particular bandwagon.

We very much appreciate the Iconia Tab 10’s wide range of ports and its equally expansive range of connection options, whether wired (a micro-USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and even a micro-HDMI port) or wireless (802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0). Furthermore, the tablet’s internal storage is also expandable via a built-in micro-SD card slot).

Overall, Acer’s done its homework: the Iconia Tab may be a budget tablet, but it is proof positive that ‘budget’ need not mean ‘cheap and nasty’ – quite the contrary, in this case. Other makers of Android tablets need to sit up and take note.

No world-beater, but still capable

So what do we think about the Iconia Tab 10 after having put it through its paces?

Firstly, we were quite happy that this slate has a great screen – for many buyers, that will be reason enough to buy one instead of other devices with inferior screens. It’s a HD display, after all.

Another pleasant surprise for us had to do with the tablet’s four – four! – front-facing speakers. We feel that any device that’s being marketed as being primarily for media consumption should at least come with a decent speaker set; however, most tablets, even pricier ones, can’t manage to do so and don’t have very decent speakers. Thankfully, the Iconia Tab 10’s four speakers were pretty competent, churning out decent sound until we turned them far up (at which point the sound quality degraded considerably).

Another change: this new tablet boasts a new 1.5GHz processor that’s a mite faster than last year’s Intel Atom number. This is a welcome development in anyone’s book, as it helped the Iconia Tab 10 become a little bit smoother than the model it replaces, if not by too much. This improvement, we hasten to add, doesn’t make it very much of a gaming device at all; gameplay on the Iconia Tab 10 can be anything but smooth for processor-intensive games. But when it’s being used to play simpler and less demanding games, as well as take on other tasks relating to media consumption and the like, this tablet can definitely shine.

Now on to battery life. The Iconia Tab 10 proved to be a bit thirstier than some other inexpensive tablets and even than some pricier slates too; our test unit lasted just 7 hours on a full charge, give or take a few minutes. That’s not too bad and isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s well behind the standard set by the iPad lineup.

As a whole, the Iconia Tab 10 isn’t a spec monster, and neither does it perform like one – but we don’t see that as a problem. It’s good enough and performs well enough to keep most of its buyers happy.

The bottom line

So there you have it: the Acer Iconia Tab 10 is a great-value tablet that will doubtlessly please many of its buyers. It’s quite the looker – it looks sharp and originally styled without the undue “influence” of another brand or tablet. Additionally, it’s pretty good as an inexpensive media-consumption device: it performs well enough for most users to forgive it for its flaws. Make sure you check this one out if you’re in the market for an inexpensive slate for playing movies on or reading e-books on while you’re out and about.

 

 

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