Perfect for Netflix, the Acer Iconia Tab 10 is a decent budget tablet purchase
With fewer tablets hitting our shelves year-on-year there’s less choice than ever for consumers who only want a slate and nothing else. Acer hasn’t yet forgotten that Android tablets are still a thing, however, and despite the doldrums the market finds itself in, the company keeps releasing new products. Its latest is the Iconia Tab 10, first launched last year, which gets a significant upgrade for 2016.
The design has been completely overhauled. It’s no longer the basic featureless tablet of 2015, with eye-catching bronze detailing and a textured back for extra grip. It really looks the part and at first glance, it looks like a premium product instead of the £150 budget tablet it really is.
Get your hands on it, though, and you start to notice some flaws. It’s much flimsier than I expected it to be, with the thin plastic housing flexing and bending unnervingly when put under even the slightest bit of pressure. This might not be the best product to hand over to your kids, unless it’s clad in a fairly rugged protective case.
It does have a decent selection of ports and connections, though. There’s Micro USB for charging and data transfer, a 3.5mm headset jack, and a microSD slot for expanding the 32GB of onboard storage, while a Micro-HDMI port hides beneath a curious chromed flap on the top edge. Wireless connectivity runs to 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Typically, budget tablet manufacturers sacrifice screen resolution and overall picture quality in an effort to bring the cost down. The Tab 10 bucks that trend and has a reasonably impressive 10.1in 1,920 x 1,200 IPS screen, which is capable of displaying 80.3% of the sRGB colour gamut.
Compare this with the Alba tablet’s 76.4% and the EE Jay’s 67.6%, and the Acer is the clear winner, even if contrast ratio isn’t quite up to scratch at 634:1. Likewise, viewing angles are decent, and with a maximum brightness of 255cd/m2 it’s useable in most indoor lighting conditions; I’d stick to the shade if you want to use it in the garden, though.
The Tab 10’s other main strength is its quad front-facing DTS-HD speaker system, and for a device like an Android tablet that exists primarily for media consumption, that’s important. In practice, I found sound quality was wonderfully crisp and very clear overall.
The volume isn’t anything to write home about, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem given you’re going to be holding it quite close for the most part, and although there isn’t a lot of weight to the sound, the Tab 10 isn’t unusual in this respect. Either way, it makes for a great Netflix streaming device, which is exactly what you want in a tablet of this size and price.
Performance and battery life
Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the Intel Atom processor found in last year’s Iconia Tab 10 has been set aside and replaced with a speedier 1.5GHz Mediatek MT8163 processor. It’s paired with 2GB of RAM.
This doesn’t look all that impressive, and it delivers the performance you’d expect from a tablet in this price bracket. A Peacekeeper score of 659 is acceptable, and even a touch faster than its rival the Alba 10in (it scored 547). I wasn’t able to run the GeekBench 3 test as it crashed every time I ran it; a quick hunt around the web, however, indicates that you should expect scores of around 1,900 in the multi-core test and 650 in the single-core test.
Those numbers would put it slightly in front of its key budget rivals, the Alba 10in and EE Jay, and in general use the Iconia Tab 10 is reasonably responsive.
What it isn’t, however, is a great tablet for gaming. It rendered only 184 frames in GFXBench GL’s onscreen Manhattan 3.0 test for an average frame rate of 3fps, and although it will comfortably run simpler games such as Angry Birds 2 and Hearthstone, you only have to load up something a little more demanding, such as Sky Force Reloaded to see lots of stuttering and frame dropping.
Last but not least, the Tab 10’s battery life was also disappointing, with its 6,100mAh battery lasting a mere 6hrs 26mins in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to a brightness level of 170cd/m2. That’s in line with the EE Jay, but a long way behind the Alba 10inch’s 11hrs 31mins.
Acer has done a decent job with its latest shot at the budget tablet market, notwithstanding the cheap-feeling build and mediocre overall performance.
The full HD display and quad speakers are excellent, making it a great device to watch movies and TV on the go. It looks quite nice as well, as long as bronze and brown is your thing. In short, if £150 is all you’re willing to spend, the Acer Iconia Tab 10 is a decent choice, just don’t expect it to play advanced games.
Still undecided? Check out our best tablet 2016 buying guide for our list of the best tablets you can buy this year.
|Processor||Quad-core 1.5GHz MediaTek MT8163|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Storage (free)||32 GB|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||microSD|
|Operating system||Android 6.0|
|Warranty||One year RTB|