Look and feel
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 has slimmed down from the Iconia Tab A200 and is comfortable to hold and play with, as well as proving resistant to bumps and pressure. However, the right edge does heat up when the processor gets busy
Ease of Use
Ice Cream Sandwich is a highly customisable OS, with tons of great widgets, while the Iconia Tab A510’s spacious screen is responsive. The Acer Ring is still a bit pointless though
The Iconia Tab A510’s five-megapixel camera is decent for a tablet snapper, while the two-megapixel front-facing lens is perfect for Skype calls
With a quad-core processor on board, you’ll have no trouble running high powered games for the foreseeable future
You’ll get nine hours of video from a single charge and plenty of hours of gaming, a great result that’ll keep you going all day
Competition in the tablet market is more fierce than a teething tiger, with seemingly every manufacturer getting in on the action – these days you can even grab an Ice Cream Sandwich slate for just £150 (check out our Disgo 8104 review if you don’t believe us). The Acer Iconia Tab A510 has staggered onto the scene with the gimmick of being the official tablet of the Olympic Games – but can this quad-core 10.1-inch slate do enough to win a gold medal of its own?
At first glance the Iconia Tab A510 looks similar to a lot of other iPad baiters, with a thin black bezel surrounding a 10.1-inch screen. Silver metallic edges break up the otherwise dark design, with a soft mottled rear that aids grip. Acer has taken few risks when it comes to appearace, but the Iconia Tab A510 feels lightweight despite its solid construction, making it comfortable to hold and use. At a shade under 11m thick, it’s also a lot more slender than the chunky Iconia Tab A200. And since this is an Olympic edition, the iconic five rings form a part of Acer’s logo on the back – a surprisingly subtle bit of branding, which could easily have inflated to enormous coloured circles covering the entire device.
Acer hasn’t gone overboard with the Iconia Tab A510’s side buttons either, giving you just enough control without cluttering up the frame. The power button on the left edge and the volume controls on top are firm and responsive, and you also get a tiny switch for locking the accelerometer (to prevent the screen from rotating when you turn the tablet around). A mini HDMI port on the right edge can be used to hook up to a TV, while the microSD slot (hidden beneath a tab) expands the 16GB of built-in storage.
Apps and movies
Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs the show and gives you five desktops to populate with all the widgety goodness you desire. You can fill the screens with your favourite apps, downloaded direct from Google Play (Android’s app store), or you can set up shortcuts by playing with Acer’s Ring. For strangers to Acer tablets, this is a virtual wheel that provides quick access to four apps of your choosing, as well as volume controls and recently viewed websites. It’s a neat little idea but we rarely used it, preferring to stick our best apps and website bookmarks on the home screen instead.
Transferring your music and movies onto the tablet is a cinch – simply connect via USB to your home computer and drag and drop the files over. The Iconia Tab A510 doesn’t charge over USB, which is a bit of a pain when your sockets are full, but only a minor niggle. HD movies look fantastically crisp on the bright 10.1-inch display, which is one of the more vibrant panels we’ve seen on a tablet. Viewing angles are terrific, so the whole family can crowd around and enjoy a film together.
It’s all about the quad-cores these days, and Acer doesn’t skimp out. The Iconia Tab A510 is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, providing twice the number of cores compared with the Iconia Tab A200’s Tegra 2 chip. Games and apps run perfectly, loading quickly and gliding along without a single bump or hiccup. However, we did notice that the right edge of the device heated up quickly when we played games – not enough to singe our fingers, but enough to worry us all the same.
Battery life is also impressive, and with Wi-Fi turned on and screen brightness bumped up to max, we still managed to stream video from YouTube for over nine hours. Playing games saps the power a little faster, but if you want a tablet to keep you entertained on a lengthy trip, the Iconia Tab A510 won’t die early and leave you stranded.
Rounding off the specs, you get a five-megapixel rear camera for taking spontaneous shots, and a two-megapixel front-facing lens for getting on Skype. The five-megapixel snapper isn’t anything special, but as with most tablet cameras it’ll happily shoot drunken photos of your friends falling over, ready to post up on Facebook. The auto-focus takes a second or so to kick in, but picture quality is decent even when viewed on a monitor. We found the two-megapixel lens perfect for video calls, or doing your makeup on the commute to work.
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 is well worthy of the Olympic branding, boasting impressive quad-core power and a sharp, well-designed 10.1-inch screen. Aside from a couple of quirks and an edge that heats up under pressure, this is an excellent all-round tablet that will suit families and anyone who wants to enjoy their apps, games and media on the move.