Just before the 2014 CES in Las Vegas kicks off this week, Acer uncloaked the new Iconia A1-830 that it touted as the alternative for compact tablet buyers unwilling to spend $300 or more on top brands such as the iPad Mini, the Nexus 7 and the Galaxy Tab 3.
On paper, the Iconia A1-830 appears inferior when pitted against its closest rivals even though it is powered by the tandem of an Intel Atom Clover chip spinning at 1.6GHz and 1GB of RAM. The muscle within the device will likely be overwhelmed by quad-core Android foes and the 64-bit fired up Retina iPad Mini 2.
The tab is coming out of the box with a 7.9-inch IPS LCD display panel that beams out at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution. Needless to say, the screen attribute falls short of the Retina-laced iPad Mini and the Nexus 7's Full HD or 1080p screen rendering.
On the software department, the Iconia A1-830's antiquated Jelly Bean 4.2.1 will surely lag behind the iPad Mini's iOS 7 and even that of the Jelly Bean 4.2.2 that runs the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0.
So how exactly is the Acer slate will compete effectively against its more popular and powerhouse nemesis? The device's strength lies on the specs and features spelled out below:
The iPad Mini look
At first glance, the immaculate white Iconia A1-830 emits a striking similarity with the bestselling iPad Mini. It may be called an unabashed copy-cat, but Acer's tab body design is an immediate winner, accentuated by an aluminium finish. The gadget exudes class and solid build.
Slim and light
The new Iconia is not only a delight to admire at, it is also a joy to touch and handle with as Acer declared that the tab will debut this week sporting a thin and light profile, mimicking the comfy feel of most small tablets currently out in the market.
It does the job of a decent tablet
The Acer Iconia A1-830 serves the following on its supposed March 2014 release date: 7.5 hours of battery life, dual speakers, 16GB of storage, micro SD slot, a rear camera with 1080p recording, front came with 720p recording and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n plus Bluetooth 3.0.
No doubt, the whole package allows a user to browse the Internet, play games, listen to music, read e-books and watch YouTube clips and movies. In short, inferior as it is, this Iconia will pretty much deliver what is expected of it - usability and mobile entertainment.
The price is right
At $150, the Acer Iconia A1-830 is dirt cheap, giving more than enough reasons for consumers to give the tab a second look or linger a bit then buy. And the best part, the published price point will likely become more attractive as retailers and distributors start picking up the device in the immediate months following its March 2014 rollout.
For the budget sensitive buyers who plan to try out tablets this year, the Iconia A1-830 is indeed an Android and iPad Mini killer.