In 2014, Acer sent us a budget-minded tablet, the Iconia A1-830, a well-built and attractive Android slate with an extreme resemblance to the Apple iPad Mini. However, as we stated in our April 2014 review of that compact Acer model (we classify slates with displays between 7 and 9 inches as “compacts”), a tablet has to do more than look like an iPad to do well in a product review. (See also our review of the Kocaso K-mini, another iPad Mini-alike, for more evidence of that.)
The good news is that Acer took a different approach with its latest compact Iconia Tab, the subject of this review: the $179.99-MSRP Iconia Tab 8 (model A1-840FHD). Not only does this Iconia Tab deploy the standard 16:9 high-def aspect ratio used by most Android tablets (rather than the 4:3 ratio used on iPads and old pre-HDTVs), but it also has a higher-resolution screen than most other entry-level compact Androids.
In fact, as entry-level slates go, we found much to like about this one, but it also stumbled in some key spots. It felt well-built and durable, and it was snappy on most of our benchmark tests, too&mdashexcept, notably, a sag on our challenging battery-rundown test. As you’ll see in the last section of this review, this Iconia Tab 8 delivered one of the shortest unplugged runtimes we’ve seen from any name-brand Android tablet. (One of the few trailing behind it is AARP’s seniors-focused RealPad, another 8-incher that we’ll be reviewing right after this model.)
A complaint we’ve made about several recent compact tablets is that, while they were fine tablets in their own right, none of them brought anything fresh to the genre, nor any surprises on price. That’s much the case with the Iconia Tab 8, too. Mind you, it’s loaded with productivity and convenience features, such as a 1,920×1,200-pixel screen and a micro-HDMI output for pushing all those pixels to an HDTV or other high-definition display.
Unfortunately, we had a little trouble with the responsiveness&mdashor rather, the lack thereof&mdashof the screen. Often, we had to touch an app’s shortcut twice, or sometimes three or four times, to launch it. We experienced similar trouble when attempting to perform swipes or other expansive touch gestures.
That’s not a small concern. But apart from that, as inexpensive compact tablets go, this one’s not bad. We really liked the look of the high-resolution display, even as it stubbornly ignored our taps at times.
Depending on where the pricing on this tablet goes, you may or may not find that trade-off tolerable. While writing this, we found the Iconia Tab 8 discounted online to as low as $139.99 (from Best Buy; we’re not sure how long that price will last). That’s a more reasonable price at this screen size, considering the quibbles we had with this model. But you’ll want to look at it in light of other Android 8-inchers at similar prices with better touch response.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.