Lately, it seems like each new Android-based slate we’ve looked at has performed a little better than the one before it. As the tablet market matures, and the number of devices running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich, or ICS) on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processors grows, our optimism—and enthusiasm—for this slice of the tablet market increases.
If the slates that have passed through our labs in recent weeks are any indication, there’s no better time to buy a tablet. It’s also a great time to upgrade. And the impressive new models we’ve seen in the first third of 2012, such as Acer’s $449.99 Iconia Tab A510 (which replaces early-2011’s Iconia Tab A500) just might make that prospect irresistible.
We were lukewarm about Acer’s first attempt at an ICS tablet, the Iconia Tab A200. It was a decent enough slate, but it was somewhat clunky and had a ho-hum feature set. The Iconia Tab A510, on the other hand—with top-shelf components—deserves more respect, especially considering its stiffer competition.
Since the Iconia Tab A510 is one of only a handful of slates to take advantage of the high-performing Tegra 3 processor, that in itself makes it attractive. While several manufacturers have introduced devices running ICS recently, many of those, such as Samsung’s soon-to-be-released $399.99 Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), rely on the older Tegra 2 dual-core processor. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the Tegra 3 CPU performs notably better, and it does so while consuming significantly less power.
Acer has positioned the Iconia Tab A510 as its higher-end slate. However, in the Android world, the price places it in direct competition with two Asus models: its deluxe $499.99 Eee Pad Transformer Prime, and its entry-level $399.99 Asus Transformer Pad TF300, both of which are built around Tegra 3 processors. The $449.99 price places the Iconia Tab A510 halfway between these two models. (Not to mention, it’s smack dab between Apple’s two lowest-cost iPads, the now-$399 iPad 2 and the $499 Wi-Fi-only, 16GB 2012 iPad.) To a lesser degree, it also competes with Acer’s own entry-level $349.99 Iconia Tab A200, which runs on the Tegra 2 CPU.
The competition is strong here. The Asus Transformer Prime, especially, is a well-built, fast device with a strong feature set, but the Iconia Tab A510 has a few strengths of its own. For starters, it turned in the highest scores to date on most of our tablet benchmark tests; it’s one of the strongest-performing tablets we’ve seen so far. It’s not as fancy-looking as the higher-priced Transformer Prime, but Acer has taken a more practical, utilitarian design approach. In addition to performing well, it comes with 32GB of onboard storage, plus the option for 64GB more via a MicroSDXC card slot. Plus, it has a good-looking screen, feels good in your hands, and is pleasant to use.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.