If you like the iPad mini, but wish it only cost half the price and ran Android, Acer has just the tablet for you. On Friday the company introduced the A1-830, a 7.9-inch Android tablet that bears more than a passing resemblance to the iPad mini. The specs aren’t quite top-notch, but it only costs $149.
The first thing you notice about the A1-830 is that it looks a lot like the iPad mini. It has an aluminum body and a white bezel. It also features the same size 7.9-inch display with 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s a bit chunkier, however, at 0.32 inches thick and 0.84 pounds.
Physical similarities aside, the A1-830 is closer to the original iPad in terms of specs, rather than the new retina display-equipped model. The 7.9-inch IPS LCD only features 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, which is pretty low at this point. The $199 Nexus 7, by comparison, features a much sharper 7-inch, 1920 x 1200 display (which also qualifies as a “retina display,” even without Apple’s branding). And the A1-830 is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 (Clover Trail+) processor, rather than a newer Bay Trail chip. While the tablet runs Android, it ships with Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), which places it a few generations behind the latest version.
You do get a 1080p rear camera and 720p front-facing camera (Acer doesn’t specify the megapixels), along with dual rear speakers, 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot for further expansion. Overall, though, this doesn’t seem like a strong alternative to the Nexus 7, which gets you better hardware and software for an additional $50. Unless all you really want is a tablet that has the iPad mini’s form factor, your money will likely be better spent elsewhere.
Acer also introduced an even less expensive tablet in the form of its $129 third-generation B1-720. It’s thinner than previous generations, but like the A1-830, it features lower-res 1024 x 768 display. It’s also running on an older 1.3GHz dual-core MediaTek MT811 processor and Android 4.2.1, which places it firmly on the low-end of the spectrum.
Like the A1-830, judging by the specs alone, I can’t help but feel like it’s worth it to spend some extra money on a higher-end device. Even the Kindle Fire HD will get you more power and a sharper screen, as long as you don’t mind being tethered to Amazon.
This post was updated at 8:31am to show that Acer has changed the price of the A1-830 from $179 to $149.