Lower-end tablets seldom get the attention that the higher-end, bleeding-edge tablets do -- either from the press or from the vendors themselves. For example, despite the fact that, according to a recent IDC report, the sales of the iPad (the model of a premium tablet) have slipped noticeably from 2013 to 2014, chip vendor AMD has indicated that it is still averse to having its processors in low-cost tablets.
And let's face it -- even those of us who are on a budget would probably like to have the lightest-weight, snazziest-styled, most-dynamite-display tablet to play with. If we felt we could afford it.
If your bank account can't support the latest and greatest -- or you simply feel that you want to put your money to different uses -- then it's worthwhile to look at the mid-range alternatives. One of Acer's latest tablets, the Iconia One 7, falls into that category. The 7-in. device, which is due to be available at the end of June. will start at $130, putting it between the bottom-line, no-frills, under-$100 tablets and the premium iPads and Samsung products.
From its specs, the Iconia One 7 doesn't look like something that would grab attention. The tablet includes a reasonable 1280 x 800 IPS display and an Intel Atom Z2560 processor (not what one would call the most powerful around) with 1GB of RAM. The basic system comes with 8GB of storage; a 16GB version will also be available, but since the Iconia One 7 also comes with a micro SD slot, users will not want for storage space.
All that being said, in real-life usage, this is a tablet that's got a pretty good display, a convenient weight (0.73 lb.) and nice styling. The plastic backing is textured to prevent slippage and is quite comfortable to hold; it will come in a variety of colors, including red, white, black, blue and pink.
The photos I took with the .03-megapixel front-facing camera and the 2-megapixel rear-facing camera were about as good as one would expect with those specs; which is to say, perfectly adequate to catch a quick photo or video but nothing you'd want to use for really top-notch images.
While I didn't go crazy over the display, I found it just fine for a lower-cost tablet. I watched a couple of films and several YouTube videos without any discernible hiccups; the colors were bright and clear enough to provide a good entertainment experience. (Although the screen was nearly impossible to see in bright sunlight).
The audio, coming from a speaker at the bottom back of the unit, is (like the cameras) adequate, but anyone wanting really good sound may want to find a separate speaker.
The 1GB of memory seemed quite sufficient for browsing through a variety of sites; according to Acer, the battery should last about 7 hours under normal usage.
As far as software is concerned, it's a bit disappointing: The review unit came loaded with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean); according to Acer, it should be updated around the time it ships in late June. In addition, users are stuck with the usual number of probably unwanted apps that can't be deleted. (Acer, a word of advice: Not all of us have kids and so we really don't need iStoryTime sitting on our tablets).
While it's not the top of the tablet line, the Acer Iconia One 7 is a solid choice for users who want a good-enough device for Web surfing, social networking and the occasional video without breaking their budget.