The aforementioned home button works as you'd expect it to and can be useful for quickly getting back to the operating system's home screen.
While most Honeycomb tablets released recently--including the Acer Iconia Tab A500--use In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen panels, Acer has opted instead to offer the cheaper TN alternative, which gives much narrower viewing angles. We're guessing Acer wanted to save on costs here, but since the bulk of the tablet experience is connected to the screen, it's not the right place to cheap out.
The A100 comes with Android 3.2 installed. Navigating the OS on the device feels just as zippy as on larger Honeycomb tablets, whether you're sliding through screens, launching apps, or using the camera.
The real-time camera view sports a smooth frame rate while recording video, and smooth playback. Picture quality from both front and back cameras was disappointingly low, offering a washed-out look with drab, lifeless colors that couldn't match the quality offered by other, larger Honeycomb tablets, the BlackBerry PlayBook, or even the iPhone 4.
|Tested spec||Acer Iconia Tab A100||Toshiba Thrive||Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||Apple iPad 2||T-Mobile G-Slate||HP TouchPad|
|Maximum brightness||227 cd/m2||337 cd/m2||336 cd/m2||432 cd/m2||424 cd/m2||292 cd/m2|
|Default brightness||96 cd/m2||131 cd/m2||336 cd/m2||176 cd/m2||143 cd/m2||85 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level||0.27 cd/m2||0.24 cd/m2||0.30 cd/m2||0.46 cd/m2||0.52 cd/m2||0.38 cd/m2|
|Default black level||0.11 cd/m2||0.10 cd/m2||0.30 cd/m2||0.19 cd/m2||0.18 cd/m2||0.11 cd/m2|
|Default contrast ratio||872:1||1,310:1||1,120:1||926:1||794:1||772:1|
|Contrast ratio (max brightness)||840:1||1,404:1||1,120:1||939:1||815:1||768:1|
With Wi-Fi turned on and the screen at full brightness, the A100's battery drained at near smartphone levels of quickness. Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life (in hours)|
|Acer Iconia A100||6|
As 7-inch tablets go, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is one of the most feature-rich we've seen, with a full Honeycomb experience (upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich), HDMI-out, and expandable memory. If your preference is for 7-inch tablets, the A100 has a low price ($330 for the 8GB version and $350 for the 16GB versions) and isn't likely to induce buyer's remorse given the quality of its Android OS implementation.
That said, it's still a 7-inch tablet, and larger, better tablet experiences are less than $100 away.
Update, October 10 at 1:07 p.m. PT: CNET Labs' battery life test results were updated.