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Summary:

When Acer announced a $449 price tag for the Iconia Tab A500 Honeycomb tablet, I knew I wanted to take a look at the device. A review unit just arrived, so here’s a quick first look at the device and size comparisons to Apple’s iPad 2.

a500-video-featured

When Acer announced a $449 price tag for the Iconia Tab A500 tablet, I knew I wanted to take a look at the device. After all, most other Honeycomb tablets are priced higher and have mobile broadband connectivity, which brings a monthly data bill that not everyone wants. The A500 is Wi-Fi only, so there is no monthly bill, nor is there a carrier contract. The downside is that you’ll need to be near a wireless network when using the device, but with the growing number of smartphones that can act as 3G hotspots, I think this problem is diminishing over time.

The A500 just arrived a few hours ago, so I haven’t configured or used it yet, but here’s a first look video of it right out of the box. You can see that it’s a reasonably thin device, even when compared to the iPad 2, and has numerous ports: HDMI out, micro USB and even a full-sized USB port; rare for a tablet. The micro SD card slot does work and if you watch the video, you’ll see my secret storage spot for carrying memory expansion cards. All in all, I have favorable first impressions of the A500 tablet, but my full review will follow to share thoughts on long-term use.

  1. I’m looking forward to your take on the battery life of the tablet.

    Especially since I’m curious of the battery life of it’s smaller sibling, the A100.

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  2. Nice first impression. While waiting for full review I will look for my micro sd slot.

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  3. Interesting: http://blogs.forbes.com/elizabethwoyke/2011/05/03/acer-prepping-7-inch-android-tablet-weighing-meego-tablet/
    Would love to see you review that baby when its out too.
    Also would love it if you will consider Kevin doing a review of the “best” tablets out there which are pocketable or mobile so to speak. Meaning 5-7″.
    I must be missing on what is about to be released. And I will obviously be interested in anything that is both wifi and 3g. No point being wifi only on the go.

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  4. it sure seems to me that tablets sold through carriers are having their price inflated due to the carriers subsidies. the cost of a 3g radio just is not high enough to justify the cost difference.

    i am just waiting for the hardware manufactures to start selling 3G enabled device direct to consumers without going through the carriers for subsidies(and inflated retails prices when buying off contract.)

    the carriers can than compete with each other for data only rate plans which should come down rapidly in price once the subsidies go away and carrier brandi8ng on devices goes away.

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  5. Great open-box and first impression. I just ran a battery test (just in case anyone is wondering, the screen is dim because it’s set to “Auto” and auto had it at the lowest setting). I charged it initially for 9 hours and then ran it pretty much all day today. If you look at my posterous, I downloaded a bunch of apps, watched a couple of videos on youtube, and played all day on Autodesk Sketchpad. Surfed the web, did a few posts, etc. I can honestly say that it lasted me a good 8 hours. I did NOT do it at max brightness for the screen but I did bump it up to 25%. It has now officially powered-off and I’m charging it now and will do another longevity test. I’ll update my posterous once I do. Again, loved the first impression, Kevin.

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  6. A couple of requests/questions…

    1) the Android Market experiences on the WiFi-only device
    2) the location-based app (Maps, Navigation, “checkin” apps) experience on the WiFi-only device.
    3) battery life

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  7. I cant believe how people love these huge devices, you’re ganna be putting it down or resting it on your knee in within 20mins.

    it’s pretty easy to tell that the current tablet rage is by people who have no experience from the past. I would be willing to bet that within the next couple years smaller tablets will be the norm after the 1st wave of people realize they dont want to hold these monsters up for long.

    plus it’s landscape oriented, which is even worse the larger tablets get. I swear sometimes it’s like we have monkeys designing things in the tech industry.

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    1. I agree about the size. Maybe more on the weight…

      As to the orientation, I think on these wide screen devices, the portrait becomes too narrow. Maybe they should go back to 3×4 (from 9×16)…

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      1. orientation doesnt matter … in portrait these device have just as many pixels wide as the iPad, they just have extra pixels to fit more information vertically.

        look at the multiple 7″ 1024 x 600 tablets, technically they are even more widescreen but yet look just fine in portrait.

        it’s all about design & so far Asus/Acer are proving they just don’t understand it.

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