Acer Iconia B1-A71 review
Most cut-price tablets come from small manufacturers, and often lack key features like access to Google Play, or have disappointingly poor screens or performance. The Acer Iconia B1-A71 will cost just £99 in the UK when it launches in a week or two, but despite the price it avoids the worst of the pitfalls.
At first glance it's fairly obvious that this is a basic device. The black glossy plastic body with its blue detail is hardly classy. On the plus side it's very light at just 320g (20g lighter than the Google Nexus 7), which is handy if you want to read eBooks one-handed using it.
The display has a basic 1,024x600 resolution, and it’s immediately apparent that this is a TN rather than an IPS display. Colours are a little muted and it’s a bit grainy looking, though viewing angles are perfectly acceptable. There’s a front-facing camera, for video chats, but no rear camera is provided.
It come with Android 4.1 and it runs smoothly on the 1.2GHz dual-core chipset. It’s certainly not the quickest tablet, but we tried out various apps and some basic games, like Angry Brids, with no problems. However, the Nexus 7’s Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset is much quicker and it comes with Andorid 4.2 with multi-user support.
One advantage the B1-A71 has over the Nexus 7 is a Micro SD card slot. The basic version of the Google tablet has just 8GB of storage, the same as the Acer has built-in. But the B1-A71 can add another 32GB of storage for around £13 at current prices.
The Android installation is left largely untouched, with just the default apps present and the interface unchanged – bar a couple of tweaks to the notification bar. It does come with Acer Cloud installed, though, and so you can grab files from an Acer PC or upload your pics to one effortlessly.
The 2,710Mah battery is a bit of a concern, as it’s a far bit smaller than the nexus 7’s 4,200mAh battery. However it’s too early to tell until we test it, as the Acer may be less demanding power wise.
With the excellent Google Nexus 7 available for just £129, you'd have to be fairly cash-strapped to opt for the Acer Iconia B1-A71, but £30 isn't to be sniffed at, and there will be those who prefer the optional 32GB of extra storage via microSD. That said, we'd still urge most buyers to spend the extra.